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(231) 1980 USC - 17
The USC offensive line (including All American Keith Van Horne) had their hands full with a very active Nebraska front, and Marcus Allen took a punishment as a result. The junior tailback finished with just 63 yards on 24 carries.
(154) 1979 BYU - 25
(103) 1992 Miami - 21
Miami had the flash, but BYU followed the blueprint set by Alabama in the Sugar Bowl by doing the dirty work and manufacturing their way to 25 points and the win. Miami's three touchdowns came on long pass plays to Lamar Thomas (twice) and tight end Coleman Bell, and included a lot of trash talking. But BYU answered every score by putting their heads down and plowing on to the Bracket 26 Final.
(26) 1997 Nebraska - 31
(154) 1979 BYU - 26
After pulling off the big upset of '92 Miami to get here, LaVell Edwards' Cougars met their fate against an under appreciated 1997 Nebraska team.
Once again, the Nebraska defensive line set the tone early. Jason Peter slammed fullback Eric Lane down in the backfield on BYU's first play from scrimmage, and Chad Kelsay followed that up by sacking quarterback Marc Wilson and forcing a fumble that Grant Wistrom recovered. Two plays later, Scott Frost took a quarterback draw 30 yards for a touchdown to put Nebraska up 7-0.
Wilson didn't get rattled, though. He took a number of hits, but managed to stand strong in the pocket and deliver, completing 4-of-7 passes on a drive that was capped by a Brent Johnson field goal.
By halftime, the Nebraska defense had accumulated 4 sacks and forced 2 turnovers en route to building a 14-10 lead.
In the second half, the Cornhusker offense upped the tempo, wasting very little time between snaps. Frost and I-Back Ahman Green ran right down the field on 6 consecutive running plays to set up a Joel Mackovicka 14-yard touchdown run.
The following drive saw more of the same, this time Frost capped off the third quarter with a 7-yard option keeper for six.
Trailing 28-10, BYU defenders and offensive linemen were clearly exhausted. Osborne went with the backups for a large chunk of the fourth quarter and even backup rush end Mike Rucker picked up a sack. Wilson was able to tack on a couple touchdowns and two point conversions, but none of them were meaningful as the Huskers ran out the clock - literally.
1997 Nebraska (#26 overall seed) advances to the Bracket of Champions. The Cornhuskers will face the winner of Bracket 39 in the first round.