HuskerOnline - Huskers end year with 37-29 bowl win
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Huskers end year with 37-29 bowl win

SANTA CLARA. Calif. - Nebraska's entire motto during its month of preparation for the Foster Farms Bowl against UCLA was to finish the season strong and capitalize on an opportunity for some desperately needed momentum going into 2016.
Needless today, a 37-29 victory over the Bruins in which the Huskers physically dominated the game for nearly all four quarters was exactly the emotional boost they needed to help put a bit of shine on a season full of frustration and disappointment.
The game plan was clear from the opening drive, as NU committed to a smash mouth approach on offense from the very start and rarely strayed away. The Huskers racked up a season-high 328 rushing yards and salted the game away with a late interception by Chris Jones.
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen came out on fire and the Bruins rolled off two big plays on their opening drive to set up a one-yard touchdown run by running back Paul Perkins. Rosen was a perfect 5-of-5 passing for 39 yards on the drive, while Perkins added a 32-yard run en route to the game's first score.
Nebraska responded by taking a power rushing attack right at UCLA's defense on the ensuing possession, running the ball 11 times on a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ate up 6:27 and tied the game up on a one-yard touchdown run by senior Imani Cross.
When the first quarter finally came to a close, the Huskers had rushed 14 times for 47 yards, completed all three of their passes for 37 yards, converted all three of their third down attempts, and held 9:22-5:38 edge in time of possession.
Nebraska was rolling right on its way to another touchdown on its second drive early in the second quarter, but Armstrong coughed up the football and UCLA recovered at its own 14-yard line with 12:38 left in the half. The Bruins needed just four plays after that to reclaim the lead, punctuating it with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Walker.
Following a quick three-and-out by Nebraska, UCLA's offense continued to roll. Rosen connected with Soso Jamabo on the first play for 36 yards, and then later hit Nate Starks for a 26-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 21-7 with 7:55 remaining in the half. To add insult to injury, the Bruins missed the following extra point, but got a second chance and made it after NU was called for offsides.
Desperately needing to shift the momentum back in its favor, Nebraska wasted no time finding an answer with a 28-yard pass to Jordan Westerkamp, a 22-yard run by Jamal Turner and then a three-yard touchdown run by Terrell Newby to cap it off and cut the deficit to 21-14 with 6:23 left.
The Blackshirts followed that up by forcing a three-and-out, and a quick 24-yard pass to tight end Cethan Carter and a 26-yard run by Armstrong set up a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Andy Janovich to tie it up with just 52 seconds to go in the half.
That score would hold on into halftime after an interception by cornerback Joshua Kalu, but not before the Huskers suffered a costly loss for the remainder of the game. On the play prior to the interception, safety Nate Gerry blew up a short pass by UCLA but was called for targeting. The call was confirmed after review, and Gerry was ejected for targeting for the second game in a row.
Nebraska rushed 29 times for 144 yards to just 7-of-9 passing attempts for 106 yards in the first half, while Rosen completed 13 of his first 17 passes for 187 yards, two touchdowns and the late pick.
The Huskers stuck with the power football game plan to open the second half, and it continued to pay off in a major way. After eight straight runs and four first downs to start the drive - and never seeing a third down play - Armstrong connected with wide out Stanley Morgan for a one-handed 22-yard touchdown pass. Drew Brown missed the extra point, however, leaving the score at 27-21.
Nebraska' defense forced another three-and-out by the Bruins, but missed a chance to go up two touchdowns after an incomplete pass at the UCLA one-yard line and settled on a 20-yard field goal by Brown to increase the lead to 30-21.
When the third quarter came to a close, the Huskers had out-gained UCLA 208-1 in total offense, racked up 12 first downs to the Bruins' zero, and held the ball for 12:07 in the quarter.
Armstrong scampered around the right edge from three yards out to extend the lead to 37-21 with just over 14 minutes remaining to make it 30 unanswered points by NU. But the Bruins weren't going away quietly, as Rosen found his rhythm again on the ensuing drive and tossed a touchdown pass followed by another for a two-point conversion that brought the lead down to 37-29 with 11:30 to go.
UCLA looked poised to potentially tie the game when it marched all the way down to the NU 17-yard line, but Rosen mishandled a third-and-long snap and the Bruins recovered at the 28. Then, Lou Groza Award winner Ka'imi Fairbairn shanked a 46-yard field goal attempt to leave it at an eight-point margin with 5:49 to play.
Nebraska's offense was unable to put the game away, though, quickly going three-and-out and punting the ball away. UCLA moved the ball down to the Huskers' 32, but on a fourth-and-10 with just under three minutes to play, Rosen was flushed from the pocket and heaved up a pair that was intercepted by Chris Jones in the end zone.
Nebraska would grind out the rest of the clock from there, sealing the victory. The Huskers picked up two first downs on their final drive, the last of which came on a 16-yard run by Carter on third down.