Holiday Bowl: Washington leads Nebraska at halftime, 10-7
The Washington Huskies don't aim to get embarrassed by Nebraska again, not like when they got bushwhacked in Seattle, 56-21, on Sept. 18.
And they're on their way to rebounding from that loss, as they lead the Cornhuskers, 10-7, at halftime of the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
So far, it has been a defensive slugfest. Washington has 118 offensive yards, Nebraska has 102.
Washington stormed to a 7-0 lead with 9 minutes 8 seconds left in the first quarter after forcing a Nebraska fumble on the Cornhuskers’ opening possession, which gave Washington prime field position, just 21 yards from a score.
Three plays later, tailback Chris Polk punched it in from three yards out.
That fumble occurred when Nebraska tailback Rex Burkhead, operating out of the wildcat formation, was slammed down by Huskies linebacker Victor Aiyewa, who knocked the ball loose and into defensive tackle Alameda Ta’Amu’s waiting hands.
The Huskies’ Erik Folk kicked a 39-yard field goal with 1:29 left in the quarter to give the Huskies a 10-0 lead and cap a nine-play, 34 yard drive that came after Nebraska’s second straight four-and-out possession.
Nebraska finally mustered a sustained drive early in the second quarter, going 74 yards in 10 plays, mostly on the arms and legs quarterback Taylor Martinez, who finished the drive with a perfectly aimed 15-yard touchdown pass into a tight window for Kyler Reed to make it 10-7 with 6:05 before halftime.
Washington fans received a scare on the Huskies’ next drive when quarterback Jake Locker lay motionless on the ground after a vicious helmet-to-helmet collision with Nebraska safety Austin Cassidy following a short run with 8:40 left in the second quarter.
It seemed as though Locker wouldn’t play again for the Huskies, but on the next drive, there he was, returning to cheers from the Husky-heavy crowd. Washington was forced to punt on that possession, as the Cornhuskers did on their next.
Washington's Folk missed a 48-yard field goal with two seconds left before halftime.
Martinez has completed five of eight passes for 51 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He has run for 35 yards in nine carries.
Locker has missed on all six of his passes, but he did catch a pass for 16 yards, the only passing yards the Huskies have so far. Polk has 87 yards and a touchdown in 18 carries.
-- Baxter Holmes in San Diego