LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska has learned they will play in the Fosters Farm Bowl on December 26th against Pac-12 opponent UCLA. The game is set for 8:15 C.T. from Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
While typically a team must be at the 6-win mark to be bowl eligible, not enough teams in the NCAA won six games this regular season. This opened the door for Nebraska at 5-7, who ranked the highest in Academic Progress Rate among the 5-7 teams.
UCLA finished the regular season 8-4 and was 4-1 in games against ranked teams at the time. They started the season in most expert’s top 15 in college football.
The two squads had one common opponent – BYU. The Cougars beat the Huskers’ in Nebraska head coach Mike Riley’s debut with a Hail Mary at the end of the game. Two weeks later, they couldn’t stop a UCLA rally that helped the Bruins win 24-23.
“We are excited about the opportunity to complete our season in the Foster Farms Bowl,” Riley said in a release. “This has been a great group to coach throughout the season, and we look forward to another game with this team and being able to compete against a strong UCLA team in the bowl game. The bowl practices and additional game will allow us to continue to build as a program.
“I know our players, coaches and fans will enjoy the trip to the Bay Area. We look forward to an outstanding week of activities and an excellent football game.”
A longtime Pac-12 coach at Oregon State, Riley was 3-7 against UCLA with the Beavers, although the last time he faced the Bruins was in 2012. Overall, Riley owns a 6-2 record in bowl games and his 75 percent winning percentage ranks among the top 10 in college football history among coaches with at least eight bowl appearances.
After Nebraska’s loss to No. 5 Iowa on Black Friday, Riley talked about the importance of a bowl game this season.
“It would be big for our team, and our team going forward,” said Riley. “It would give us a chance to continue practicing (if bowl-eligible) and in that practice, work longer with younger guys in the development part of it, the guys that are redshirting right now that we could spend a little more time with. Lots of residuals there, just for this team, it would be great and also for our upcoming team.”
The trip to the Bay Area will be the Huskers’ first-ever appearance in the Foster Farms Bowl, and Nebraska’s seventh all-time bowl trip to California. The Foster Farms Bowl is Nebraska’s 52nd all-time bowl appearance, the third-most of any school in the country. Nebraska has appeared in a bowl game in 45 of the past 47 seasons.
“We are pleased that our student-athletes, coaches and staff will be participating in Nebraska’s first-ever trip to the Bay Area for a bowl game,” University of Nebraska Athletics Director Shawn Eichorst said. “The Foster Farms Bowl is one of the Big Ten’s great bowl partners and it will provide a wonderful opportunity for our student-athletes to compete in one of the finest new stadiums in the world.”
*** Parts of the University press release was used in this report ***