USC going bowling in Orlando, Capital One

Gamecocks will face Nebraska for fourth time in school history

jkendall@thestate.comDecember 4, 2011 

  • Steve Spurrier

    Connor Shaw

    Travian Robertson, Melvin Ingram

South Carolina will get a chance to end a pair of three-game losing streaks on Jan. 2 when it faces Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

The postseason matchup, which was finalized Sunday night, will be the No. 10 Gamecocks’ first trip to the Southeastern Conference’s premier non-BCS bowl game. South Carolina will play the No. 21 Cornhuskers of the Big Ten in Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., at 1 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.

“We know it won’t be easy to beat a very good Nebraska team,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “We look forward to the challenge. We look forward to going to Orlando and participating in the Capital One Bowl.”

South Carolina (10-2) has only played Nebraska three times and has lost all three matchups, in 1964, 1986 and 1987. The Gamecocks also have lost three straight bowl games.

“We hope the senior leadership on this team is a little different and the makeup of this team is a little different (than on the three previous bowl trips),” Spurrier said. “We have no excuses. We just got our tails beat the last three bowl games, and we’re going to try not to get beat this time. We will try to balance it the right way. Our players, coaches, we all know the importance of this game.”

South Carolina, which is ranked in the nation’s top 10 at the end of the regular season for the first time since 1987, can become the first team in school history to notch 11 wins with a win over the Huskers.

“We may have as much to play for as any team in the country going to a bowl game with the exception of maybe the national championship game,” Spurrier said.

Nebraska finished the season 9-3 in its first season in the Big Ten, losing to Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan.

“When you think of Nebraska, you think of tradition,” South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw said. “They used to be a powerhouse and still are a very good ball team.”

The only time Spurrier has faced Nebraska was in 1996 when his Florida Gators lost 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl, which was being played for the national title.

“We got clobbered,” Spurrier said. “They clobbered everybody all year long. We didn’t play our best, but they beat us. We ran into one of the best teams probably in college football history that night.”

Nebraska is 13th in the nation in rushing with 223.9 rushing yards per game.

“Defensively, it’ll be a big challenge for our guys to have a different style of offense,” Spurrier said. “We all know the history of Nebraska football. They are one of the super tradition universities for college football in the nation. They will come to play, you know that.”

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: USC vs. NEBRASKA

1 p.m., Jan. 2, Orlando

KEY MATCHUP FACTS

1. BIG PAYDAY

This will be USC’s first appearance in the Capital One Bowl, the SEC’s premiere non-BCS bowl game with a payout of $4.6 million per team.

2. NEW CONFERENCE

The Cornhuskers finished 9-3 (5-3 conference) in their first season in the Big Ten. Nebraska holds a 3-0 all-time edge in games against USC.

3. NEAR-PERFECT QB

Coach Bo Pelini’s Huskers are led by quarterback Taylor Martinez, who has made 116 consecutive passing attempts without an interception.

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