The Hastings Tribune/Monday, Sept. 9, 1996

Business as usual for Husker defense

Tribune Sports Writer

LINCOLN - It was business as usual for the Nebraska defense Saturday as the Huskers opened defense of its national championship at Memorial Stadium.

The Blackshirts recorded seven sacks, three pass interceptions - two for touchdowns - a punt return for a touchdown, a blocked punt and one fumble recovery in a 55-14 thrashing of Big Ten foe Michigan State.

"It's our goal be to very aggressive on every down," said Rover back Mike Minter, who scored on an 84-yard interception return in the second quarter.

Mike Fullman scored on a 62-yard punt return in the second quarter, the second punt return for a touchdown of his career.

Fullman said he was surprised he got the chance to return the punt.

"It was suppose to be a block attempt," Fullman said. "We also had only ten men on the field at the time. I started counting players and the next thing I know the ball is in the air."

Rush end Grant Wistrom picked up his first career interception for a touchdown in the third quarter, when he picked off a Michigan State pass at the MSU 9-yard line.

Sandy Creek's Brian Shaw picked up a fumble on a blocked punt in the third quarter at the Michigan State 23-yard line and returned it to the MSU 16 yard line.

"The ball came out of the (MSU) player's hand, and I just scooped it up," Shaw said. "Instinct then took over and I just took off."

Shaw finished with one tackle to go along with his fumble recovery.

Adams Central's Eric Walther played on special teams and at free safety. He had one unassisted and one assisted tackle.

Minter feels this year's edition of the Nebraska defense has a chance to be very, very good.

"One our goals as a defense to beat the other team on points, Minter said. " We can't get complacent and must give everything we have on every down."

Coach Tom Osborne said he was pleased with the team's defensive effort.

"Its been sometime since the defense has scored as much as they did today (Saturday)," Osborne said. "Our production on offense was off due in part by the work of the defense. It took four to five series way from the offense."

The Blackshirts will have an extra week to prepare for Arizona State, which downed Washington 45-42 on a field goal in the final seconds Saturday.

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