USC Trojans: Nebraska Cornhuskers

There's going to be a lot of offensive firepower on the field Saturday for the National University Holiday Bowl between the USC Trojans and Nebraska Cornhuskers (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), and it's the type of collection of talent that should continue the bowl's reputation for being a game that usually features a lot of excitement.

It didn't take long for the Holiday Bowl to put up big numbers either, as the 1979 game (only the second in its existence) saw 874 yards of total offense between the two teams as Indiana -- coached by Lee "Not So Fast, My Friend" Corso -- defeated BYU by a score of 38-37.

It was the 1980 game, however, which really served notice that the San Diego-hosted bowl could be something unique. The Cougars of BYU were involved once again, this time against the Pony Express backfield of Eric Dickerson and Craig James and the SMU Mustangs. SMU was up 45-25 late in the game before Jim McMahon led BYU on a touchdown drive, the Cougars recovered an onside kick and scored again, then blocked an SMU punt and hit a Hail Mary to pull out the dramatic 46-45 victory. McMahon (446 passing yards and four TDs) and James (225 rushing yards and two TDs) were named Co-Offensive Most Valuable Players of the Game.

McMahon came back in 1981 to throw for 342 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars beat Washington State 38-36. The defensive MVP that day for BYU was current Utah coach Fred Whittingham.

The 1984 game was an important milestone for the bowl as BYU clinched the national championship with a 24-17 victory over Michigan, behind 343 passing yards from Robbie Bosco.

After so many years of quarterback heroics it was a return to the running game in 1988 when Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State rushed for 222 yards and a bowl-record five touchdowns in a 62-14 victory over Wyoming. Sanders sat out the fourth quarter, which prevented him from breaking Craig James' bowl rushing record. Current OSU coach Mike Gundy threw for 315 yards while Hart Lee Dykes caught 10 passes for a then bowl-record 163 yards.

It was another future Heisman winner -- Ty Detmer from BYU -- who brought the attention back to the air in 1989 by setting Holiday Bowl records for completing 42 of 59 passes for 576 yards but it was in a losing effort to Penn State, who was led by Blair Thomas with a bowl-record 35 carries for 186 yards. Detmer was knocked out of the game early with a shoulder injury in 1990 (the year he won the Heisman) in a 65-14 loss to Texas A&M but he came back to throw for 350 yards in a 1991 tie against Iowa 13-13, which was the first tie and the lowest scoring Holiday Bowl.

In recent years, the tradition of offense has been kept alive by players such as Marshawn Lynch with 111 rushing yards and a pair of scores in 2006, Colt McCoy with 321 all-purpose yards in 2007 or Dez Bryant with bowl record 13 catches for 168 yards in 2008.

USC tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo was part of a memorable Holiday Bowl in 1999 as quarterback of the Washington Huskies. Tuiasosopo had Washington in the lead late in the game and driving for a score when he threw an interception, the game turned, and Kansas State eventually won 24-20. Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian knows what it's like to coach in the game, he brought his Huskies to San Diego in 2010 where they beat Nebraska 19-7 behind 177 rushing yards from Chris Polk.

With such a strong tradition of performances on the offensive side of the ball, don't be surprised at all if Trojans Cody Kessler, Buck Allen and Nelson Agholor or Cornhuskers' Tommy Armstrong, Ameer Abdullah or Kenny Bell are the ones making similar memories in this edition of the game.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini brought his lucky charm with him on the recruiting trail Wednesday; while a lot of fans are focused on Adoree' Jackson and John Smith, schools haven’t forgotten about Damien Mama; and Notre Dame’s upgrades to its facilities will help on the trail.

Hope recruits don’t have allergies

Early Offer: Florida gets Sharpe 

December, 13, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: After a few days off, the Early Offer is back with news on Florida adding one of the best offensive linemen in the country; a road trip that takes fans inside the world of coaches on the road; and an avalanche of commitments from junior college prospects is coming in the next week.

Gators get their guy

It took a little bit longer than anticipated, but Florida landed highly coveted offensive lineman David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence) on Thursday. Sharpe, the No. 18 player in the country and second-ranked offensive tackle, pushed back a scheduled decision before Thanksgiving to Thursday, but in the end it was worth the wait for Florida fans.


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Cornell, No. 1 in 2015 class, narrows list 

November, 20, 2013
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Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham-Hall), the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015, has narrowed his top list. After much deliberation, Cornell has cut the list of schools in the running down to 15.

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Pac-12 battle for D.J. Calhoun? 

October, 21, 2013
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When ESPN 300 linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) said on Sunday that Arizona State had firmly become one of his top three schools following an official visit to Tempe, Monday's news -- when Calhoun announced his decommitment from USC -- didn't come as much of a surprise.


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Early Offer: NU recruits stand by Pelini 

September, 18, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Bo Pelini’s critics have come out of the wood work, but recruits are standing by the Huskers’ head coach; Dodge City CC is normally known as one of the doormats of junior college football, but that’s changing thanks to talent like cornerback Danzel McDaniel; and Oklahoma is learning the downside of early recruiting is that it makes it easier to identify quality players like Joshua Wariboko.

Recruits sticking with Pelini
Monday was a day that Nebraska coach Bo Pelini will never forget. First Pelini responded sharply to the suggestion by former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier that the Huskers dump their entire defensive staff. Then he had to play damage control after an audio recording from 2011 surfaced in which he criticized fans during an expletive-laced rant. While fans took to social media with choice words of their own, the embattled coach was defended by a number of former players and several recruits. Three-star safety Luke Gifford (Lincoln, Neb./Southeast) has been the most vocal of Huskers commit so far when he tweeted Monday night that he loves coach Pelini and hopes to have him as a coach for years to come.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The Trojans are in great shape to land ESPN 300 defensive end Malik Dorton and remain a viable option for top California talent, what one SEC recruiter thinks LSU’s chances are with Clifton Garrett, and a busy September is on tap for the Huskers with official visits.


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Busy summer for 2015 TE Jones 

July, 12, 2013
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Before the recruiting process began in earnest, it seemed 2015 tight end Alize Jones (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) was destined for UCLA. Jones said he grew up thinking he would play for the Bruins, and when UCLA became his first scholarship offer earlier this year, it appeared to align perfectly for him.

But since that time, Jones reached double-digit offers and took unofficial visits this summer to Nebraska and Notre Dame, as well as UCLA. Now, the recruiting battle for the 6-foot-4, 212-pount tight end is wide open.


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WR Brown shows what he can do 

June, 3, 2013
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Although proven that it's here to stay, there is still some debate over the merits of the club 7-on-7 season. Injuries on the field and some unsavory elements off of it are usually brought up as reasons to stay away. But on the other side of the discussion sits wide receiver Erik Brown (Fontana, Calif./Summit).

Brown entered the spring 7-on-7 circuit without a scholarship offer, but used it to turn himself into one of the most sought-after receivers in California. He holds 15 offers now, after adding his most recent one from Notre Dame. Brown said he first took notice of what could be accomplished on the spring circuit last year.


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DT Peyton Newell announces top six 

June, 1, 2013
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Defensive tackle Peyton Newell (Hiawatha, Kan./Hiawatha), the No. 3 player in Kansas, has a top six -- and he said it’s a firm six.

Newell, who claims 34 offers, announced his top six via social media on Saturday. The schools to make the cut, in alphabetical order, are Georgia, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, South Carolina and USC.


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Matt Dickerson springs ahead 

May, 28, 2013
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Heading into spring ball, defensive tackle Matt Dickerson (San Mateo, Calif./Junipero Serra) was looking for his first offer. Heading into his summer vacation, he's one of the West region's hottest prospects.

It happened quickly for the 6-foot-5, 250-pound lineman. He hadn't heard from many schools during a junior season in which he posted 42 tackles and 1.5 sacks, but everything changed once the calendar flipped to March.


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Watch List OG Foster weighing options 

April, 17, 2013
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ESPN Watch List offensive guard D.J. Foster (Lincoln, Neb./Southeast) has been laying low in recent weeks, focusing on improving as a player and taking a closer look at the options he currently has.

A player knocking on double-digit offers, Foster said he doesn’t have plans on making an immediate decision regarding his college future. Foster has offers from Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska, among others, and he said other top programs are showing heavy interest.


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Tales From The Road: Southeast 

April, 3, 2013
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Tales From the Road spotlights players who stand out to RecruitingNation writers at camps, combines and various events. Here is a look at a few Southeast prospects who recently performed at a high level:

Linebacker Raekwon McMillan
2014/Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County/6-foot-2, 249 pounds
Considering: More than 40 offers; top two of Clemson and Ohio State; also considering Alabama, Florida, UGA.

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Calhoun adds an offer from USC 

March, 13, 2013
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D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) couldn't hide the disappointment when he came away from USC's junior day last month without an offer. The 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker felt he would pick up an offer at the event, but it never came.

Several weeks later, Calhoun was called out of class by his coach and was surprised to hear the USC coaches on the other end of the line.


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2014 CB Jackson finally lands USC offer 

January, 22, 2013
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ESPN Watch List cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) has accumulated a number of scholarship offers since the end of his junior season, with a pair of SEC schools even entering the fold. Yet, one local school always was missing from his ever-growing list.

That changed Tuesday when Jackson finally received an offer from USC.


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