2012 Capital One - S Carolina 30, Nebraska 13

Posted Jan 2, 2012

2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 Capital One Bowl

2012 Capital One

Nebraska vs. South Carolina

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
59th Total Offense 74th
36th Total Defense 4th
42nd Scoring Offense 45th
38th Scoring Defense 13th
13th Rushing Offense 26th
66th Run Defense 44th
103rd Passing Offense 96th
18th Passing Defense 2nd
55th Turnover Margin 38th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
N   S
4 Quarterbacks 2
4 RBs 2.5
2 Receivers 3.5
4 O Line 3.5
3 D Line 5
3 Linebackers 4
4 Secondary 4
5 Spec Teams 2.5
4 Coaching 5
Capital One Bowl
South Carolina 30 … Nebraska 13

- CFN Thoughts on the Capital One

South Carolina: The Gamecocks came up with six sacks, and gave up four. … Connor Shaw completed 11-of-17 passes for 230 yards and two scores and ran 19 times for 42 yards and a score. … Kenny Miles ran 15 times for 67 yards and a score. … Alshon Jeffery caught four passes for 148 yards and a score. … D.J. Swearinger made seven tackles. … Jadeveon Clowney made four tackles with two sacks.

Nebraska: The Huskers committed ten penalties. USC six. … Taylor Martinez completed 10-of-16 passes for 116 yards and a score with a pick … Rex Burkhead ran 23 times for 89 yards, and led the team with five catches for 35 yards. … Lavonte David made 11 tackles with two sacks and forced a fumble.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Alshon Jeffery had 148 yards and a touchdown before getting tossed out of the game for fighting and No. 11 South Carolina's defense had six sacks and shut out No. 21 Nebraska in the final three quarters of 30-13 win at the Capital One Bowl on Monday.

The victory gave South Carolina (11-2) 11 wins for the first time in school history and snapped a string of three straight bowl losses.

Nebraska (9-4) lost its second consecutive bowl game and drops to 12-6 all-time in bowl matchups against SEC foes.

Both teams lost standout players in the third quarter when Jeffery, playing weeks after surgery on his hand, and Cornhuskers cornerback Alfonso Dennard were ejected for throwing punches at each other after a play.

But the Gamecocks kept the pressure on even without him and went up 23-13 with 12:25 to play on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to Kenny Miles. Miles then added a 3-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes left - his first of the season - to put the game out of reach.

Jeffery out-jumped the Nebraska secondary in the end zone to catch a 51-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Shaw at the end of the first half to send the Gamecocks into the locker room with a 16-13 lead.

Shaw passed for 161 yards in the half, hooking up with Jeffery on four of his five completions. Shaw finished the game 11 for 17 for 230 yards and ran for 42 yards and a touchdown.

It helped pick up the slack for a stagnant South Carolina rushing attack, which produced just 58 yards on 21 attempts.

It also made up for an offensive line that allowed Shaw to be sacked three times in the opening 30 minutes.

The Gamecocks led 9-6, but kept a Cornhuskers' drive alive late in the first quarter after picking up a third down, 15-yard face mask penalty. Nebraska scored three plays later on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Ameer Abdullah.

Nebraska needed just 56 seconds to score the game's first touchdown when Martinez found receiver Kenny Bell for a 30-yard touchdown pass.

South Carolina defensive tackle Travian Robertson blocked the extra point, though, and Stephon Gilmore scooped it up and returned it for the 2-point defensive PAT.

The Gamecocks offensive kept the momentum going on their ensuing drive, capping an 11-play, 55-yard drive with a fourth down, goal line quarterback sneak by Shaw.

Nebraska (9-3) vs. South Carolina (10-3) Jan. 2, 1 pm, ESPN

Here's The Deal … For everyone who believes the Big Ten can't play with the SEC, the Capital One Bowl has traditionally proved otherwise with the SEC holding a 10-9 advantage since the two leagues combined forces in 1992. Last year wasn't the norm – with Alabama looking like the Green Bay Packers and Michigan State barely able to run a play in a 49-7 obliteration – and now Nebraska has to show it can hold up its end of the bargain as the newest member of the Big Ten.

The Huskers know a little something about bowl game clunkers, failing to file the papers to get on the ballot for the 2010 Holiday Bowl in a stunning 19-7 loss to Washington, but before that the program won four of its previous five bowl dates. However, the last game against an SEC team was a 17-14 loss to Auburn in the 2007 Cotton, and the last win over an SEC team – granted, the only other game was a loss to Ole Miss in the 2002 Independence – was a win over Tennessee in the 2000 Fiesta.

2011 has been a bit of a disappointment considering the chances were there to win the Big Ten Legends division and play for the conference title, but getting the league's No. 1 non-BCS bowl slot and getting a chance to be showcased on a big stage isn't bad. It's been an interesting first year with big moment after big moment, starting out Big Ten play in a primetime showcase against Wisconsin and with the biggest spotlight on the creepy game at Penn State the week the scandal broke. The team has been through a lot.

Of the three losses, two were blowouts against Wisconsin and Michigan teams playing in the BCS, and the other was a letdown home gaffe to Northwestern a week after blasting Michigan State. Beating the Spartans was nice, but a win over the Gamecocks would mean a third straight ten-win season and 39 wins over the last four years.

Speaking of bad bowl performances, South Carolina has been a disaster in the post-season under Steve Spurrier. This might be the greatest era in Gamecock football history, and the Ball Coach can all but officially be called the program's greatest coach ever, but a bowl win is a desperate must after going 1-5 in bowls since 2001 including puzzling blowouts to Iowa in the 2009 Outback and to Connecticut in the 2009 PapaJohns.com. For whatever reason – some have argued that Spurrier doesn't put in the legwork once the regular season is over – the Gamecocks haven't shown up. But this team might be different; it already knows how to handle adversity.

At the beginning of the year, the hype was about the special skill triplets with Stephen Garcia a veteran quarterback, Marcus Lattimore one of the top returning running backs, and Alshon Jeffery looking like a next Calvin/Andre Johnson. Garcia stunk and got booted off the team for being a knucklehead; Lattimore got knocked out for the year with a horrible knee injury; and Jeffery can't buy a decently thrown pass to come his way. Even so, this could still be the greatest season in South Carolina football history with an 11th win, and while it hasn't always been pretty, the talent has been assembled to come up with a special year and look like a team to look out for next year.

The best win of the year was a blowout over ACC champion Clemson to go along with a win over a Georgia team that doesn't have a great win. Beating Nebraska isn't a must for this to be a successful season, but a loss would cement the belief that Spurrier can't get it done anymore in the bowls.

And South Carolina doesn't want to be the SEC team that loses to the Big Ten.

Why Nebraska Might Win: South Carolina has one of the most inconsistent offenses in the SEC, and it's not going to scare the Huskers a lick with the passing game.

Yes, the Gamecock attack was balanced and strong over the final few games of the year, and yes, Connor Shaw started to come into its own, but rivalry game or not, Clemson was looking ahead to the ACC title game and the other big performance came against Citadel. The Gamecocks are more likely to struggle to hit the 100-yard mark in passing as they are to actually come up with a big play down the field. The offense has come up with just three games this year with more than one touchdown pass, doing against Kentucky, Clemson, and Citadel. Alfonzo Dennard and the Husker secondary don't allow much through the air, with most of the big plays coming on breakdowns, so as long as the focus and concentration is there, the USC passing game won't be.

Offensively, there's no guesswork to what the Huskers are going to do. They're going to run Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez and dare the Gamecocks to hit the fastball. It sounds easy in theory to stop a two-man offense, but the million-dollar USC defensive front can be run on and it should have problems as the game goes on.

It's a bit of a stretch to call the South Carolina front four a finesse defensive line, but it's a finesse defensive line, better suited to rush the passer than it is to hold up to a punch in the mouth. Citadel runs the option and came up with 241 yards. Auburn was able to beat the Gamecocks by giving it to Michael Dyer 41 times and using quarterback Keihl Frazier from time to time as a runner. As Nebraska showed in the second half of the Ohio State game, when it wants to get physical, it can pound the ball on anyone. However …

Why South Carolina Might Win: What stops an option offense, including a spread attack? A veteran defensive front seven with athleticism.

The South Carolina defensive line really might be too good, too athletic, and too fast for the Husker offensive front. The combination of Devin Taylor, Melvin Ingram, and Jadeveon Clowney on the outside are devastating, while senior Travian Robertson and freshman Kelcy Quarles locks things up in the middle. Nebraska can hit, but the holes might close in a big hurry if there are any plans to run inside. Linebackers Shaq Wilson, Ronnie Paulk, and Antonio Allen know what they're doing and they'll be disciplined enough to hold their lanes and maintain – overused football cliché alert – gap integrity. In other words, Nebraska might not be able to run win any consistency, and if it can't run, the offense won't go anywhere.

No, South Carolina hasn't faced many teams that can throw – getting bombed on by Arkansas for 299 yards and giving up eight touchdowns to both East Carolina and Georgia – but the secondary really is good. Yes, the stats are a bit inflated because of playing teams like Navy, Mississippi State, Citadel, but Nebraska is one of those teams that struggles to move the ball through the air. The Huskers are 103rd in the nation in passing and aren't efficient when they do try; even though the opportunities are there against teams that cheat up against the run. Martinez isn't a good enough passer to make the Gamecocks pay.

What To Watch Out For: Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead is about as imposing as a glass of warm milk. He's listed at 5-11 and 210 pounds, but that's generous on all counts, and he's not necessarily a blazer when he gets into the open field. An argument could be made, though, that he's the pound-for-pound toughest runner in college football, taking a beating game after game with 35 carries against Michigan State, 38 against Iowa, and 26 against Ohio State. These aren't speed runs with seven-yard dashes and a run out of bounds; they are usually between-the-tackle runs that finish with taking a huge pop. Quietly – at least on a national scale – he ran for 1,268 yards and 15 touchdowns. Nebraska is 11-0 over the last three years when he hits the 100-yard mark.

If you're an NFL team right now, which South Carolina defensive end would you want first as a hybrid 3-4 outside linebacker/4-3 end? 6-2, 276-pound senior Melvin Ingram might be a late first rounder this year with tremendous closing speed for his size and an elite burst off the ball with 42 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 13.5 tackles for loss. Meanwhile, 6-7, 260-pound junior Devin Taylor might not be a third-rounder right now, but has limitless upside with the potential to add another 15 pounds to his frame to work in a variety of roles at the next level. He came up with 37 tackles with five sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. And then there's everyone's No. 1 recruit of 2011, Jadeveon Clowney, who was as good as advertised in a backup role with a disruptive 32 tackles, ten tackles for loss, six sacks, and five forced fumbles including game-changing plays against Mississippi State, Georgia, and Florida.

If the two defenses control the game as expected, field position will be a huge part of the equation and Nebraska has a weapon to win the special teams battle in Brett Maher, who averages close to 45 yards per punt putting 24 inside the 20 so far. With a huge leg, he nailed a 41-yard field goal against Michigan and has connected on 11 of his last 12 field goal attempts. 19-of-22 on the year, his three misses came from 50, 50, and 51 yards away. On the flip side, South Carolina is 93rd in the nation in punting and has a good field goal kicker in Jay Wooten, but not an elite one.

What Will Happen: South Carolina has too much talent on defense lose, but past Gamecock teams were superior and gacked in bowl games they were supposed to win. The last three bowl performances have been so awful and so bad, with the "this year things will change" call coming time and again. This year, things will change. The USC offense won't do much, but the defense will tilt the field and Connor Shaw will find Alshon Jeffery on two short touchdown passes to come up with the win.

CFN Prediction: South Carolina 27 … Nebraska 16
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: South Carolina -1   O/U: 48
Confidence Picks 
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
NE (9) SC (20) SC (29) SC (22) SC (23) SC (24) SC (35) NE (25) SC (119)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews
South Carolina has the better team and the defense is loaded to shut down the Nebraska two-man attack, but the Gamecocks defy all reason and logic in bowl games under Steve Spurrier, losing four of the last five and needing everything in the bag to beat Houston. No way, no how does Bo Pelini's team come in soft after getting drilled by Washington in last year's Holiday Bowl.

By Richard Cirminiello 
It'll take more than one dimension, namely the Huskers' ground game, to solve the assertive Gamecocks D.

By Matt Zemek
This is one of the worst Cap One Bowl matchups I can remember. Nebraska's defense will determine this game's outcome – it will either smother the undermanned Gamecocks or allow Connor Shaw to run wild.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Two disappointed fan bases looking for some momentum. Connor Shaw was awesome against Clemson, so expect him to torch the Nebraska defense.

By Russ Mitchell
The Blackshirt run defense is ranked 66th in the nation. We hope that's embarrassing for Pelini. Still, the Huskers have only lost three times: on the road to both Whisky and Michigan, and something about a Northwestern team in Lincoln. But he'll have to do it without his brother Carl, who accepted the HC job at FIU this week.

By Terry Johnson
How will Nebraska's Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez match up against a Gamecock defense that ranks fourth in total defense, and allows only 3.7 yards per carry?

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Welcome to the Big Ten Nebraska where you get to play a top ten SEC team in a non-BCS game.

Best Bowl Moment

Best Husker Bowl Moment: Nebraska's massive bowl resume includes an unheard of 30 New Year's Day appearances. You can go in so many directions with this question, such as pasting No. 2 Alabama in the 1972 Orange Bowl; pounding Notre Dame 40-6 in the 1973 Orange Bowl in Bob Devaney's final game; or winning the national title with a win over Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl. However, no game stands out more than the 62-24 demolition of Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. In a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2, the Huskers rushed for a bowl-record 524 yards, putting forth one of the most dominant big game performances the sport has ever witnessed.

Best Gamecock Bowl Moment: South Carolina hasn't been particularly impressive in its most recent string of bowl appearances, but in the 2002 Outback Bowl, the Gamecocks got the job done. They allowed Ohio State to rally from a 28-point deficit before Daniel Weaver booted a game-winning 42-yard field goal for a sigh-of-relief victory. It was South Carolina's second straight win over the Buckeyes in Tampa and a symbol of just how far the program had progressed under then-coach Lou Holtz.

Capital One Bowl History
2011 Alabama 49, Michigan State 7
2010 Penn State 19, LSU 17
2009 Georgia 24, Michigan State 12
2008 Michigan 41, Florida 35
2007 Penn State 20, Tennessee 10
2006 Wisconsin 24, Auburn 10
2005 Iowa 30, LSU 25
2004 Georgia 34, Purdue 27 (OT)
2003 Auburn 13, Penn State 9
2002 Tennessee 45, Michigan 17
2001 Michigan 31, Auburn 28
2000 Michigan St 37, Florida 34
1999 Michigan 45, Arkansas 31
1998 Florida 21, Penn State 6
1997 Tennessee 48, Northwestern 28
1996 Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14
1995 Alabama 24, Ohio State 17
1994 Penn St 31, Tennessee 13
1993 Georgia 21, Ohio State 14
1992 California 37, Clemson 13
1991 Georgia Tech 45, Nebraska 21
1990 Illinois 31, Virginia 21
1989 Clemson 13, Oklahoma 6
1988 Clemson 35, Penn State 10
1987 Auburn 16, USC 7
1985 Ohio State 10, BYU 7
1984 Florida State 17, Georgia 17
1983 Tennessee 30, Maryland 23
1982 Auburn 33, Boston College 26
1981 Missouri 19, So Mississippi 17
1980 Florida 35, Maryland 20
1979 LSU 34, Wake Forest 10
1978 NC State 30, Pittsburgh 17
1977 Florida St 40, Texas Tech 17
1976 Oklahoma State 49, BYU 21
1975 Miami-Ohio 20, So Carolina 7
1974 Miami-Ohio 21, Georgia 10
1973 Miami-Ohio 16, Florida 7
1972 Tampa 21, Kent State 18
1971 Toledo 28, Richmond 3
1970 Toledo 40, William & Mary 12
1969 Toledo 56, Davidson 33
1968 Richmond 49, Ohio 42
1967 UT Martin 25, West Chester 8
1966 Morgan St 14, West Chester 6
1965 East Carolina 31, Maine 0
1964 East Carolina 14, Massachusetts 13
1963 Western Kentucky 27, Coast Guard 0
1962 Houston 49, Miami-Ohio 21
1961 Lamar 21, Middle Tenn. St 14
1960 Middle Tenn. St 21, Presbyterian 12
1958 (Dec.) East Texas State 26, Missouri Valley 7
1958 (Jan.) East Texas State 10, Southern Mississippi 9
1957 West Texas A&M 20, Southern Mississippi 13
1956 Juniata 6, Missouri Valley 6
1955 Nebraska-Omaha 7, Eastern Kentucky 6
1954 Arkansas State 7, East Texas State 7
1953 East Texas State 33, Tennessee Tech 0
1952 Stetson 35, Arkansas State 20
1951 Morris Harvey 35, Emory & Henry 14
1950 Saint Vincent 7, Emory & Henry 6
1949 Murray State 21, Sul Ross 21
1948 Catawba 7, Marshall 0
1947 Catawba 31, Maryville (Tenn.) 0

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