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Boos provide spark for NU's Evans
BY STEVE SIPPLELincoln Journal Star
MANHATTAN, Kan. The majority of the 43,915 spectators at KSU Stadium booed
loudly every time DeAngelo Evans touched the football Saturday.
But Evans didn't mind.
"It was fun," said Nebraska's freshman I-back. "It motivated
me to run harder. But I think my linemen were more fired up than me about
Evans, a 5-foot-8, 210-pound player from Wichita, Kan., gave the red-clad
fans in the southeast part of the stadium plenty to cheer about during Nebraska's
39-3 victory. He rushed 21 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns, including
a 69-yard burst on the third play of the second half that gave the Cornhuskers
a commanding 25-3 lead.
The purple-and-white hued boo-birds were busier than they might have been
had Nebraska's No. 1 I-back, Ahman Green, not had to leave the game following
the first play of the second half because of a turf-toe injury. In addition,
senior Damon Benning who shares the No. 2 I-back spot with Evans stayed
behind in Nebraska because of a hip injury.
Consequently, the Kansas State fans had to watch a lot of Evans, who broke
their hearts when he committed to Nebraska early in the recruiting period
last year. Though Kansas State showed heavy interest in him, Evans ended
up picking the Huskers over Notre Dame and Penn State.
On Saturday, Evans left little doubt as to why he was so heavily recruited
coming out of Wichita's Collegiate High School, where he rushed for an average
of 206.7 yards per game in his prep career. Actually, Evans began to show
signs of stardom last week against Colorado State, rushing for 72 yards
on six carries late in the game.
"Last Saturday and this Saturday have been like big Christmas presents
for me," he said.
Evans' back-to-back performances serve as answers for those people who he
thinks doubt that he can excel at the big-time college level.
"When I came to Nebraska, I said I was going to make a believer of
the people who watched me, and that I was going to do it this year,"
"I feel like I could fly home," he added. "It's like a 1,000-pound
weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I just want to keep getting
Evans might have to continue to carry a heavy load next Saturday when Nebraska
faces Baylor in Lincoln. Frank Solich, the Huskers' running backs coach,
said Green is "questionable at best" to play against the Bears.
"My experience with that type of injury is that it takes some time
to come back from it," he said.
Solich wasn't surprised by Evans' big day.
"I expected that given a chance, and given some creases, he could have
an excellent game," Solich said.
Solich said Evans' 69-yard touchdown run on a pitch play to the right Kansas
State's defense was flowing wide, and that Evans cut back underneath the
"I thought he showed very good explosiveness once he got to the crease,"
Solich said Evans has picked up Nebraska's offense "as fast as anyone"
he has coached. Solich also praised Evans' toughness and quickness.
"But it's a long season, and to be a truly fine running back you have
to display your talent game after game, and that's what he'll have to do
now," Solich said.
"I don't want to blow this game out of proportion. We have other running
backs who have played well. DeAngelo played well today, and I want people
to know that. But I also want people to understand the other backs have
played well and played hard."
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