Santa Clara, CA – Just when it started to look like a 5 and 7 Nebraska team had no business taking part in a post-season Bowl game this year, the Cornhuskers scored 30 unanswered points to stun UCLA 37-29 in the 2015 Foster Farms Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Nebraska stuck to moving the ball on the ground mustering 326 rushing yards. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. rushed for 76 yards and one touchdown while throwing another on 12 of 19 passing for 174 yards.
“Football goes better when you can run the ball and physically impose your will on the other team,” said Nebraska head coach Mike Riley. “The game plan was running the football. It is what we thought we could and what we wanted to do. Our goal next year is to be in the top 3 in the country in running the ball.”
The Cornhuskers had three players with over 50 yards rushing and dominated the time of possession while holding the ball 38:15 compared to UCLA’s 21:45.
With 10:37 left in the third quarter, a one handed grab by Stanley Morgan Jr. gave Nebraska its first lead of the game at 27-21.
After a 20-yard field goal and a 3-yard touchdown run from Armstrong Jr., the Bruins quickly answered with a 9-yard touchdown reception from Jordan Payton to cut Nebraska’s lead 37-29 after a 2-point conversion.
The Bruins had one last chance to tie the contest when it received the ball with 4:36, but a Josh Rosen interception on 4th and 10 from the Nebraska 32 kept UCLA from winnings its first Foster Farms Bowl.
“It’s a disappointing loss. Any time you lose its disappointing,” said UCLA head coach Jim Mora. “Congratulations to Nebraska and coach Riley. They play hard, play well, play physical and play the way they are supposed to play. We’ll take a hard look at ourselves and get better from it.”
The Bruins got off to a quick start offensively and it seemed like it was going to be their run game that would dictate the contest. A 32-yard run by Paul Perkins set up UCLA in Cornhusker territory. Perkins capped the 79-yard drive with a 1-yard score to put the Bruins up early 7-0.
UCLA took a 21-7 lead after a 26-yard touchdown catch by Nate Starks with 7:55 left in the first half.
Nebraska roared back to tie the game at 21 to go into the halftime after scores from Terrell Newby and Andy Janovich.
After a targeting penalty sent out Nebraska’s Nate Gerry with 39 seconds left in the first half, the momentum and energy turned the Cornhuskers direction heading into the locker room.
UCLA finishes the season 8-5 and hasn’t won a Bowl Game in California since 1986.
“For our returners its time to reflect on how we can get better as players and coaches,” said Mora. “We need to get bigger and stronger obviously”.