- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

No. 25 Nebraska (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) vs. No. 24 Southern California (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12), 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: USC by 7.

Series Record: USC leads 3-0-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

This is the first bowl meeting between the two storied programs. USC owns a 3-0-1 edge in the series. This is the first appearance in the Holiday Bowl for USC, which made the two-hour trip by bus from Los Angeles down Interstate 5. Nebraska interim coach Barney Cotton will handle the bowl game assignment following the firing of Bo Pelini.

USC’s Steve Sarkisian was coach at Washington when the Huskies beat Nebraska in the 2010 Holiday Bowl. The Cornhuskers are making their fourth appearance here since 1998.

KEY MATCHUP

USC QB Cody Kessler against a Nebraska pass rush led by end Randy Gregory, who battled through injuries for a team-high seven sacks. Kessler has thrown for 3,505 yards and 36 touchdowns, with just four interceptions.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nebraska: Despite being slowed by a sprained left knee suffered Nov. 1 against Purdue, RB Ameer Abdullah will finish one of the most prolific careers in Nebraska history. With 1,523 yards, he has registered his third straight 1,000-yard season, a first in Cornhuskers history. He has 4,500 career yards, trailing only Mike Rozier’s record 4,780 yards.

USC: Kessler’s completion percentage of 70.7 is currently above the school season record of 69.1 percent by Matt Barkley in 2011 and his 168.8 passing efficiency is currently better than USC’s season record of 164.6 by Mark Sanchez in 2008.

FACTS & FIGURES: USC’s Steve Sarkisian was coach at Washington when the Huskies beat Nebraska in the 2010 Holiday Bowl. … Former Oregon State coach Mike Riley, hired to replace Pelini, is expected to watch the game from a skybox. … Riley’s Beavers lost 35-10 to USC on Sept. 27. … The Cornhuskers are making their fourth appearance in the Holiday Bowl since 1998. … The Huskers are trying to avoid their 11th straight season with four or more losses. … Besides the Rose Bowl, this is the 13th different bowl game in which the Trojans have appeared.

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