- Associated Press - Thursday, September 15, 2011

SEATTLE (AP) - Washington defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu smiled when asked about Nebraska, so much so his mouth guard with the words “big daddy” on it showed.

Ta'amu anchored Washington’s defensive effort during the 2010 Holiday Bowl against the Cornhuskers that resulted in a 19-7 Huskies victory.

After allowing 56 points in a Week 3 game against Nebraska last season, Washington buckled down defensively in the rematch.

Now the 11th-ranked Cornhuskers and Huskies get ready for a third meeting in less than 12 months on Saturday in Lincoln.

A large reason for the turnaround between the first two games was Ta'amu’s play.

During the first game, Ta'amu assisted on two tackles and had a half-sack. Nebraska ran for 383 yards.

“They embarrassed us in front of our fans,” Ta'amu said. “I want to do the same to them, hopefully. We’ll see.”

Though his totals in the Holiday Bowl weren’t much better than in the first game _ two solo tackles, a sack and fumble recovery _ his influence increased.

He picked up a fumble by Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead on the first possession of the game and returned it 14 yards to the Nebraska 21. That set up the Huskies’ opening touchdown.

Ta'amu pushed through the middle on a third down in the first quarter to pressure Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez. He did the same on the next series.

Early in the third quarter, Ta'amu rumbled through four Nebraska players, wrapped his arms around Martinez and sent him to the ground.

His dominance peaked in the fourth quarter. All-Big 12 first-team lineman Ricky Henry held Ta'amu in the end zone, resulting in a safety.

Ta'amu worked most of the day against Huskers center Mike Caputo and guard Henry. Henry graduated, but Caputo is again Nebraska’s starting center. He’ll be locked up with Ta'amu on Saturday afternoon for the third time.

“Feels like they’re in our conference now,” Ta'amu joked.

Ta'amu (6 feet 3, 337 pounds) is built to stop the run. But he has been quiet the first two weeks of the season when facing pass-first teams Eastern Washington and Hawaii.

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