Gator Bowl, Nebraska vs. Georgia, 1.1.14

Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste (16) minces words with Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3) as cornerback Josh Mitchell (5) comes to his aid after a skirmish that started with Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory (44) during the second quarter of the Gator Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, at Everbank Field in Jacksonville.

Perhaps the thing that stuck out the most from yesterday's game -- Nebraska's high level of energy for four quarters.

The Huskers, it seemed, had a little more zip than Georgia. That's not to say the Bulldogs were disinterested.

Sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory said Georgia players liked to talk more trash than any of the Big Ten teams the Huskers have seen.

As mentioned in today's notebook, that may have backfired.

“My left leg’s been banged up for a while and I hurt it a couple times today,” Gregory said. "But I had to fight through it. I wanted to play hard for the seniors, and once things started escalating toward the end of the first half, I think it kind of made me mad. I just said, ‘Forget about it. I’m going out there and going to play.’”

Gregory was annoyed at one sequence in particular at the end of the first half.

Some Bulldogs were piling on him after one play. A couple Huskers, notably Josh Mitchell, noticed it and didn't take kindly to it.

That is what led to the skirmish between the two teams just before half.

"I just didn't appreciate those guys jumping on Randy like that," Mitchell said. "Like I say, we're a family, and when you see one of your brothers down, you're going to mob on them."

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Mitchell, who is listed at 160 pounds, decided to get in the mix with the big boys.

"When I looked up I saw about four people over there by Randy, so I threw my little self in there just to get a body in there until the rest of the calvary came," Mitchell said.

Husker players say that brouhaha just before the half kept the fire stirring as they went to the half with a 10-9 lead.

"After that little scuffle on the field, we came in at halftime and everybody was fired up, everybody was ready to ball," Mitchell said.

The Huskers used that energy to jump on Georgia early in the third quarter, thanks largely to a Mitchell interception.

After the pick, Mitchell was mobbed on the sidelines. The entire Husker team gathered around him and jumped up and down.

On this day, that togetherness was enough to end a bowl drought and take down an SEC team.

"I don't really say (we proved) a point, but this is a physical football team," Mitchell said. "I think they thought they were going to be more physical than us and today we came out and we were the more physical team."

Reach Brian Christopherson at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. Follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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