They are who we thought they were?
Actually, not even close.
This was supposed to be the closest matchup in a non-BCS bowl this season. This was supposed to be a defensive struggle, a close game and a Youngstown rivalry of epic proportions.
Instead, we saw what Husker fans have been dying to see for years.
Not just domination on defense, but on the offensive line.
Arizona came into this game with one of the better defenses in the PAC-10 and their defensive line was supposed to be second to none in the same conference.
What I saw was a defensive line that was confused and pushed around by Nebraska's front five. I saw a secondary and linebacking corps on its heals and I saw a quarterback that was able to dictate the pace of the game unlike he has done all year long.
As promised Husker fans got a look at Cody Green, for one series. On third down in that series the freshman quarterback nearly threw a pick-six.
He wasn't seen again until the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand.
Rex Burkhead was the showcase of the day, running a myriad of plays out of the wildcat offense, or as I like to refer to it, the Wild Rex offense.
The first play out of the Wild Rex garnered a 34-yard gain. A few plays later, Burkhead scored on a five yard touchdown run out of the same formation.
The cherry on top of an offensively stunning day was the pump-double move by Niles Paul to haul in a 74-yard touchdown catch to put the Huskers up the final 33-0 in the third quarter.
It was indeed a perfect ending to a promising season.
The questions of "what if" will no doubt be muttered amidst the praises of this team within the next year.
Another question fans will be asking is this: was this an indication of where the offense is headed or was it an aberration set up by an opportunistic defense? Is Cody Green better than Zac Lee and can Niles Paul consistently put up these types of numbers against above-average defenses?
So many questions, so much time.
My advice to Husker fans.
Forget about the questions and the what ifs for a while. Revel in the first shutout in Nebraska's prominent bowl history and revel in the fact that Nebraska is on its way back to prominence after the dominant display they just put on.
It's an indication of dominance; its the place Husker fans hope to be and its a marquee win with an above-average coach at the helm.
With all the talk of rankings and poor offense, Nebraska showed up in a big way on Dec. 30 for all to see.
It was the type of performance that would rope in national recognition. It was the type of dominance that Nebraska fans have clamored for in the past decade, and it was a shut out that propels a team into the next season as possibly the favorites to win the Big 12 outright.
I believe Bo Pelini said it best in the trophy presentation in San Diego, "Nebraska is back and we're here to stay."
Let's hope so Bo. Let's hope so.
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