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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 it."
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," he said.
"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 better."
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 defense.
"I thought he showed very good explosiveness once he got to the crease," Solich said.
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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