Preview: UCLA at Nebraska

When: 9:15 PM ET, Saturday, December 26, 2015
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California


1. UCLA’s bid to go to the Rose Bowl fell apart late while Nebraska thought it had played its way out of bowl berth entirely, at least until the NCAA stepped in. The Bruins settled for a spot in the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Dec. 26 after coming up one game short of playing in the Pac-12 title game. The Cornhuskers are one of three five-win programs that benefited from the NCAA’s decision to use Academic Progress Rate as the main tiebreaking mechanism to help it reach the 80 teams needed to fill out 40 bowl games. 

2. Nebraska is assured of finishing with a losing record for the third time since 1962, but its seven losses have come by a total of 31 points under first-year coach Mike Riley. The Cornhuskers became only the second FBS program since 2006 to lose four times on the final play of regulation or in overtime. The results started to get better as some key players began to get healthy near the end of the season, highlighted by Nebraska’s 39-38 comeback win over Big Ten champion Michigan State on Nov. 7.

3. UCLA, which has won 11 consecutive non-conference contests - which includes a home win over Nebraska in 2013 to complete a two-game series sweep – controlled its own destiny in the Pac-12 South entering the final weekend of the regular season before falling to eventual champion USC. The Bruins are 0-2 at this event, losing to Florida State in the 2006 Emerald Bowl and Illinois in the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl – both of which were played in San Francisco. Coach Jim Mora can notch his 38th career victory with UCLA in this contest, however, and break his tie with Terry Donahue for the most wins over his first four seasons at the school.

TV: 9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: UCLA -6.5

ABOUT UCLA (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12): The Bruins witnessed a number of record-setting performances this season as kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn became the conference’s all-time leading scorer and receiver Jordan Payton become the school’s all-time receptions leader. Quarterback Josh Rosen threw two interceptions against the Trojans to stop his streak of not throwing one at 245 attempts, one of several school records he broke en route to earning Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. Paul Perkins ranks third in the conference in rushing (1,275 yards) while first-team All-Pac 12 junior defensive tackle Kenny Clark is the leader of a defense that is tied for first in the conference in fewest yards allowed per play (4.9).

ABOUT NEBRASKA (5-7, 3-5 Big Ten): Tommy Armstrong Jr. operates the Big Ten’s second-ranked total offense and is the only Cornhusker to record two seasons with at least 3,000 total yards, but threw nine of his 16 interceptions over the final three contests. Jordan Westerkamp tied Nate Swift for the most single-season receptions in school history (63) in Nebraska’s 28-20 loss to Iowa in the regular-season finale while tight end Cethan Carter began to emerge as a valuable big-play threat for Armstrong as the regular season drew to a close. Although defensive tackles Vincent Valentine and Maliek Collins combined to miss seven games in 2015, Nebraska still ranks eighth in the country in run defense (113.4 yards per game).

PREDICTION: UCLA 34, Nebraska 31

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
UCLA 8-4 L1 32.5 25.1 4-2 4-2 5-4 0-0 5-4
Nebraska 5-7 L1 32.5 27.8 3-4 2-3 0-2 0-0 3-5

Last Meeting

UCLA Nebraska
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/14/13 UCLA 41 NEB 21 504 210 294 331 128 203

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UCLA B. Hundley 66.7 294 3 1
NEB T. Martinez 60.0 203 3 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UCLA J. James 22 105 4.8 1
NEB A. Abdullah 23 98 4.3 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UCLA S. Evans 3 97 32.3 1
NEB K. Bell 6 68 11.3 1
TDs Player TD
UCLA S. Evans 1
NEB Q. Enunwa 2
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UCLA J. Rosen 59.5 3350 20 9
NEB T. Armstrong Jr. 54.8 2856 21 16
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UCLA P. Perkins 225 1275 5.7 13
NEB T. Newby 143 743 5.2 5
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UCLA J. Payton 75 1068 14.2 4
NEB J. Westerkamp 63 874 13.9 7
TDs Player TD
UCLA P. Perkins 14
NEB J. Westerkamp 7

Quickchart Matchup

UCLA Off vs  Nebraska Def
472.4 yards
401.6 yards
5 yards/rush
3.7 yards/rush
7.3 yards/attempt
7.5 yards/attempt
Nebraska Off vs  UCLA Def
442.5 yards
393.3 yards
4.6 yards/rush
4.3 yards/rush
7.5 yards/attempt
5.6 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

UCLA Overall Nebraska
8-4-0 W/L 5-7-0
5-6-1 ATS 6-6-0
3-8-1 O/U 7-5-0
32.5 Pts For 32.5
25.1 Pts Against 27.8
UCLA A/H Nebraska
4-2 W/L 3-4
4-2-0 ATS 3-4-0
2-3-1 O/U 4-3-0
34.5 Pts For 31.4
23.0 Pts Against 27.0
!--*** Footer scoreboard ************ -->