Watch the 2014 Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. USC game time, TV schedule, live online streaming
Nebraska and USC face off for the first time in seven years. Will the Huskers get their first-ever win over the Trojans?
The Nebraska Cornhuskers make their third appearance in the last six seasons at the Holiday Bowl Saturday night against an uncommon foe: The USC Trojans. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, with television coverage on ESPN.
Nebraska fired head coach Bo Pelini after finishing third in the Big Ten West this season. Recordings have since surfaced evidencing a wide divide between Pelini and athletic director Shawn Eichorst. In the meantime, interim coach Barney Cotton — who has already agreed to join the new staff at UNLV after the game — will try to focus his Cornhuskers for one last game. If focused, Nebraska can be dangerous. Halfback Ameer Abdullah was a Heisman Trophy contender before being hobbled by injury in November, and defensive end Randy Gregory is a potential NFL first-round draft pick.
Southern Cal has hardly been stable during a rollercoaster first season under coach Steve Sarkisian. The Trojans broke into the national title picture with a win over Stanford in the first week of September, quickly gave back their position with a loss at Boston College the next week, and never won more than two games in a row the rest of the way. USC finished the regular season with a loss to cross-town rival UCLA and a blowout win over Notre Dame. Sarkisian’s offense relied on three key parts: Quarterback Cody Kessler (3,505 passing yards, 36 TDs), running back Javorious Allen (1,337 yards, 9 TDs) and receiver Nelson Agholor (97 catches, 1,223 yards, 11 TDs) and maintained balance despite running at a breakneck 76 plays per game tempo.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: December 27, 8 p.m. ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Rankings and records: USC enters Saturday’s game 8-4 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-12. The Trojans were ranked No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff standings. Nebraska is 9-3, 5-3 in the Big Ten, and unranked.
Vegas: USC is favored by 7 points, with the over/under at 61.5 points.
Weather forecast: It’s San Diego. It’s 70 and sunny pretty much every day.
Two things at stake
For Nebraska, it’s simple: A win Saturday would kill off a string of four-loss seasons stretching back to 2007. That’s not just seasons with four or more losses. That’s four losses exactly in every season for six years. Nebraska hasn’t finished a season with three losses since 2003. Ironically, Bo Pelini coached Nebraska’s bowl game that season.
For USC, it’s not so simple. A win would make them perfect in San Diego’s most prestigious bowl game, in large part because the Trojans are making their first appearance in the Holiday Bowl.
One big matchup
Ameer Abdullah vs. USC defense: Abdullah will have had a month to recover from Nebraska’s last regular season game, ample time to return to the form that had allowed him to rack up more than 200 yards rushing in four of Nebraska’s first eight games. Southern Cal is 27th nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 132.5 yards per game. In the two games in which he faced better rushing defenses (Michigan State and Wisconsin), Abdullah was held below 70 yards, and Nebraska lost both. If the Huskers are to win Saturday, they will need production from Abdullah to keep USC’s high-tempo offense off the field and give the Nebraska defense a chance to recover.