SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 30 -- Shooting for their first bowl win since 1949, the 19th-rated Northwestern Wildcats were victimized Saturday night by Tim Crouch, Dan Alexander and eighth-ranked Nebraska's high-powered offense, which established an Alamo Bowl scoring record in a 66-17 rout.
Crouch ran for two scores, including the go-ahead 50-yard jaunt in the second quarter, and fired two touchdown passes as the Cornhuskers (10-2) ended their season of underachievement with a bold statement for next year.
Northwestern (8-4) appeared poised to go punch-for-punch with the perennial national championship contender when Teddy Johnson caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Zak Kustok to give the Wildcats a 10-7 lead 44 seconds into the second quarter.
But after a long runback on the ensuing kickoff, Crouch took off from midfield on Nebraska's next play from scrimmage and outran the Northwestern secondary to the end zone, putting the Huskers ahead to stay, 14-10.
A pair of two-yard runs by Alexander and Correll Buckhalter padded the lead before Josh Brown's 51-yard field goal made it 31-10 with 1:28 left in the first half.
Alexander rushed for 241 yards -- the most by any Husker in a bowl game -- and two scores on 21 carries as the nation's best ground game shredded Northwestern's overmatched defense.
The Wildcats again showed some fight when Damien Anderson ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive, pulling Northwestern back within two touchdowns.
But Crouch and the Huskers were quick to answer. Bobby Newcombe hauled in Crouch's 58-yard scoring toss just 20 seconds before intermission, squashing any hopes of a Wildcat comeback.
Crouch made sure Northwestern did not get off the deck, opening the second-half scoring with an 11-yard strike to Matt Davison to make it 45-17. The 6-1, 205-pound junior began the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate but his stock dropped considerably after a loss to No. 1 Oklahoma in October.
The Huskers poured it on late in the third quarter. Crouch rumbled in from two yards and threw a lateral to Newcombe, who fired a 69-yard pass to Davison that made it 59-17 with 1:14 left in the period.
Anderson ran for 148 yards on 18 carries for Northwestern, which slipped to 0-3 in bowl games since winning the Rose Bowl more than a half-century ago.
The Huskers have won six of their last seven bowl games and are 19-19 all-time.