Nebraska beats No. 23 Georgia 24-19 in Gator Bowl

By Nicholas Jones, Associate producer, njones@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 01 2014 03:12:00 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 01 2014 05:10:00 PM EST

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Tommy Armstrong Jr. connected with Quincy Enunwa for two touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in the third quarter, and Nebraska held on to beat No. 24 Georgia 24-19 in the rain-soaked Gator Bowl on Wednesday.

Playing in their 50th bowl, the Cornhuskers (9-4) ended a four-game losing streak against teams from the Southeastern Conference. The streak included a 45-31 loss to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl last season.

The rematch was much different.

Nebraska did a solid job against running back Todd Gurley, who ran for 125 yards and a touchdown last year. Gurley finished with 86 yards on the ground.

Gator Bowl game photo Gurley was more effective in the passing game, catching seven passes for 97 yards and a score. His 25-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter cut Nebraska's lead to 24-19.

Game photos | Boxscore | Michael Kelly's recap

But the Huskers stopped Georgia (8-5) twice on fourth down in the closing minutes. Rantavious Wooten and Arthur Lynch dropped fourth-down passes that ended drives in the red zone.

Those drops were indicative of the entire game for Georgia. The Bulldogs moved inside the 25-yard line seven times, but settled for four field goals.

Despite those, Georgia had a chance late.

Wooten dropped a fourth-and-2 pass at the 10-yard line with 4:42 remaining. Georgia got the ball back with 3:18 to play and marched toward the end zone. But Lynch couldn't haul in a fourth-and-3 pass that would have moved the chains with about 25 seconds remaining.

Gator Bowl game Nebraska ran out the clock from there.

The Huskers pulled ahead 24-12 late in the third on the longest play in Gator Bowl history.

Armstrong dropped back on a third-and-14 play at the 1 and heaved the ball as far as he could to Enunwa, who was streaking wide open down the left sideline. Georgia cornerback Shaq Wiggins let Enunwa go, but got no safety help deep. Quincy Mauger had a chance to tackle Enunwa, but bounced off him just past midfield.

Enunwa coasted the rest of the way.

"That was a huge play, the 99-yarder. It was almost like 99.9," Coach Bo Pelini said. "I know there will never be a longer play in the history of college football than that was."

Enunwa finished with four receptions for 129 yards. He also broke a school with 12 touchdown receptions, eclipsing the mark of 11 set by Johnny Rodgers in 1971.

Armstrong, filling in for injured starter Taylor Martinez, completed 6 of 14 passes for 163 yards. He also had a 5-yard TD pass to Enunwa in the second quarter.

Ameer Abdullah ran 27 times for 122 yards and a score. It was his 11th 100-yard game of the season.

Nebraska finished with 307 yards, 109 fewer than Georgia.

Turnovers were the difference.

Nebraska turned two of them into two touchdowns. Reggie Davis muffed a punt deep in Georgia territory in the second quarter and Nebraska scored two plays later.

The Huskers also turned Hutson Mason's lone interception into points. Mason overthrew Chris Conley near the sideline. Josh Mitchell picked it off, setting up Abdullah's TD run.

Mason, making his second straight start in place of injured starter Aaron Murray, completed 21 of 39 passes for 320 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

After the game, Georgia Coach Mark Richt said he was proud of his team, and especially Mason.

"Hutson's a great football player, a great person, a great leader for our team. Got a lot of faith how he'll do in the future as well," Richt said.

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