Tonight's Bowl Game

December 29, 2003

Alamo Bowl

Nebraska (9-3) vs. Michigan State (8-4)

Time, TV: 9, ESPN

Line: Nebraska by 3 1/2

Why you should watch: It's the only football game on today.

About Nebraska: The Cornhuskers don't have a coach, but defensive coordinator/interim coach Bo Pelini has said he wants the job. QB Jammal Lord heads an offense that averages 236.2 rushing yards per game, but he is an awful passer. The Cornhuskers also lack a true star at I-back, their feature position. LB Demorrio Williams (122 tackles, nine sacks) is the guy to watch on defense. S Josh Bullocks leads the nation with 10 interceptions.

About Michigan State: Senior QB Jeff Smoker had a tremendous bounce-back season (269.9 ypg, 21 TDs, 11 picks, 62.6 completion percentage) after missing half of 2002 while in rehab. He has done his job without elite skill-position help. The Spartans have seven players with at least 21 catches and four with at least 30. The defense is better against the run than the pass.

The key: Nebraska's players really like Pelini, so expect them to play hard - especially the defensive players. That's going to make it tough on the Spartans, who need to run well to stay close.

The buzz: It's Nebraska's 35th consecutive bowl appearance, an NCAA record.

The pick: Nebraska, 27-20. - Orlando Sentinel

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