Nebraska and Clemson To Kick Off 2009 In Gator Bowl

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We're less than a few hours away to the start of the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl between the Huskers and the Tigers. Nebraska and Clemson have met previously, the only meeting between the two schools was back in the 1982 Orange Bowl, eventually leading Clemson to a win over Nebraska 22-15.

First year head coach Bo Pelini has guided the Huskers to an 8-4 record, after sitting at a 3-3 record following an overtime loss to Texas Tech. A victory today in the Gator Bowl against Clemson would give the Huskers their 35th nine-win season since 1970.

In addition to the eight regular season wins, Pelini led the Huskers to a victory back in the 2003 Alamo Bowl when he served as interim head coach following the firing of Frank Solich.

Even though this is the first appearance by Nebraska in the Gator Bowl, make no doubt about it, the Huskers are no strangers to the state of Florida when it comes to bowl appearances.

Nebraska has played 18 previous bowl games in the Sunshine State, making 17 trips to Miami for appearances in the Orange Bowl and an appearance in the 1991 Florida Citrus Bowl.

Today's Gator Bowl will mark the bowl game in the state of Florida, since Nebraska captured their fifth National Championship in the 1997 season, when the Huskers defeated Tennessee. The Gator Bowl will also mark the program's 32nd bowl game on or after New Year's Day.

In Nebraska's last bowl appearance in the 2007 Cotton Bowl, NU dropped the contest to the Auburn Tigers 17-14. With that loss to Auburn, Nebraska's all-time bowl record went to 22-22 (.500%).

With a win against the Tigers of Clemson, Nebraska can secure a winning all-time bowl record. Five of Nebraska's nine bowl games from 1993 to 2001 were for at least a share of the national title, with the Huskers on the winning end in three of those games.

Nebraska will also hope their mark against the ACC with a potential win this afternoon. Nebraska has a dismal 4-11 record against ACC member schools in bowl games.

Nebraska's first ACC opponent came in 1955 when they faced the Duke Blue Devils in the Orange Bowl, a game that NU lost 34-7. The last time Nebraska faced an ACC team in a bowl game was back on January 3, 2002 when the Big Red faced Miami in the Rose Bowl, which was also the National Championship.

The Huskers received the bid to the title game, despite losing to Colorado 62-36 to end the regular season. Nebraska lost the national championship to Miami 37-14.

Today's game against the Clemson Tigers will mark the second ACC opponent that the Huskers have played this season. Back on September 27, 2008 before a nationally-televised audience on ABC, the Huskers lost to the Virginia Tech Hokies 35-30, despite Nebraska's late rally. A major play against the Hokies that sparked Nebraska's comeback attempt was an 88-yard punt return by Nate Swift, the fourth-longest in NU history.

Today's Gator Bowl appearance also marks Nebraska's return to CBS. The Huskers will be playing their bowl game on CBS since the 1997 season when Nebraska defeated Tennessee 42-17. The Gator Bowl also marks Nebraska's 20th all-time game on CBS.

Nebraska owns an 11-8 record in all-time games, including a 6-3 record in bowl games on the network. Nebraska has won three straight appearances on CBS including the win over Tennessee, the 1996 Fiesta Bowl win over Florida and a victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl after the 1996 season. CBS also televised Nebraska's appearances in the Cotton Bowl and Sun Bowl.

For 20 members of the Nebraska Football team who are seniors, it will mark the end of their college football careers at NU. The 20 seniors are from eight different states across the US, and have a combined 321 career starts.

The senior class includes Nebraska's all-time leading receiver (Nate Swift), its No. 5 receiver (Todd Peterson), the No. 4 player in all-purpose yards (Marlon Lucky), and the No. 3 all-time passer (Joe Ganz). Among the 20 seniors being honored, 19 will earn their degress by May of 2009.

Make sure and watch 10/11 beginning at 11 a.m. for a one-hour pregame show counting down to the Gator Bowl, and then you can watch the game beginning at 12 noon, and stay tuned for post game coverage after the game.