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Rolling with Green

Ahman rolls again
AP Photo
I-back Ahman Green fends off a Baylor defender en route to a 58-yard touchdown run during Nebraska's 49-21 victory Saturday night in Waco.

I-back runs wild again in Huskers victory

By Terry Douglass/The Independent

WACO, Texas - Even though Nebraska was making its first visit to Waco, no doubt Bears coach Dave Roberts was left thinking his team carried the southern hospitality bit just a little too far.

The Nebraska offense enjoyed all-you-can-eat yardage, and the NU defense feasted on two key turnovers in the first half as the third-ranked Cornhuskers sprinted to a 42-7 lead at the intermission. Nebraska yawned its way through the final 30 minutes to "hold on" for a 49-21 win against Baylor in front of 38,175 fans Saturday in rainy conditions at Floyd Casey Stadium.

The win improves Nebraska to 2-0 in Big 12 Conference play and 5-0 overall. Baylor drops to 0-2 and 1-4.

"I thought we played, for the most part, pretty well tonight," Husker coach Tom Osborne said. "I was disappointed with the way we played in the second half. All in all, I guess I saw some good things and a few bad things."

The final score was neither indicative of how well Baylor played in the game's opening minutes or how thoroughly Nebraska dominated statistically after that.

Nebraska, the nation's top rushing team, rolled up 410 yards on the ground - 312 of those yards came in the first half - against the Bears and finished with 548 total yards compared to 203 for Baylor.

Ahman Green led the way with 158 yards and four touchdowns. It marked the second straight game Green has scored four TDs and was his fourth consecutive outing with 100 yards rushing or more.

"The holes were just always wide open for me tonight," said Green, who carried just twice for six yards in the second half. "When the offensive line is doing their job like that, it makes it easy for me."

Husker quarterback Scott Frost, who finished with 83 yards rushing and was 5 of 8 passing for 103 yards, said Green's play over the past three games (Washington, Kansas State and Baylor) has been remarkable.

"The last few weeks, Ahman has just been playing incredible," Frost said. "He's been making some big plays and really running tough."

In the second half, three lost fumbles by Nebraska and the coaching staff's liberal substituting allowed Baylor to sneak in 14 fourth-quarter points. Darrell Bush scored for the Bears on a 1-yard run with 8:54 in the game and Baylor's Kenyada Parker recovered a Husker fumble in the end zone for a touchdown on the game's final play to produce the final 28-point margin.

The final tally definitely didn't please Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride.

"If you're going to talk about going for a national championship, you don't let a team put 20 points on the board," McBride said. "(You don't let) Baylor put 20 points on the board. In the long run, that's going to hurt you."

With the score tied 7-7 late in the first quarter, the Bears looked to have a degree of momentum going when they stopped a Nebraska drive with a fourth-down stand. On fourth-and-1 at the BU 22, Green took an option pitch from Frost and was knocked out of bounds for no gain.

But the air was quickly let out of the balloon two plays later as Douglas fumbled the ball after taking a direct snap from center into the backfield. Husker Jason Wiltz recovered the loose football, setting the stage for Joel Makovicka.

Rumbling for six
AP Photo
Fullback Joel Mackovicka runs away from Baylor defender Matt Anderson on his way to a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter of Saturday's game.
The Nebraska fullback rumbled up the gut for a 15-yard scoring run with 37 seconds left in the opening quarter. The point-after kick by Kris Brown, which gave NU a 14-7 lead, also allowed him to become the school's all-time leading scorer among kickers with 223 points.

And then, the flood gates opened and pouring down onto the Bears came a flurry of Green - as in Ahman Green. The Husker junior I-back scored for Nebraska on three consecutive possessions and teammate Jay Sims added a 2-yard run and suddenly NU sported a 42-7 lead.

"We knew that Nebraska has an awfully good football team," Roberts said. "You can't just give them turnovers like that or it will kill you."

Green, who had already scored a first-quarter touchdown, broke his longest gainer of the night early in the second period. He took the ball up the right sideline, got a couple of downfield blocks and cut back to the middle of the field for a 58-yard TD.

Green made his counterpart, Douglas, pay for another mistake moments later. After a Douglas fumble, Green capped Nebraska's five-play, 20-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard run into the end zone, extending the Husker lead to 28-7 with 11:19 left before halftime.

On NU's next possession after a Bears punt, it was Green again finding the end zone, this time on a 30-yard run off and option play that pumped the score up to 35-7 with 8:17 to go in the half. That drive also featured a 24-yard pass from Frost to Lance Brown.

Nebraska guard Aaron Taylor said his team's intensity kind of flickered in and out during Saturday's game. The Huskers were coming off back-to-back battles against ranked opponents in Washington and Kansas State.

"The game wasn't pretty, but it went fairly well overall," Taylor said. "I thought maybe we came out a little flat and were a little flat in the second half, but we'll work on that."

Nebraska got its only points of the second half when Frost banged his way to paydirt on a 1-yard run with 8:33 left in the third period. Frost's TD and the Brown point-after kick, put the Huskers ahead 49-7 and completed a 42-0 Big Red scoring spree.

After trading punts to open the game, Nebraska took advantage of a short field to score first. Green wrapped up a seven-play, 38-yard scoring drive with a 3-yard, second-effort TD run.

Big plays on the drive included a 10-yard gain by Frost on a a third-and-3 play. Makovicka had an 11-yard run up the middle to get NU to the Baylor 8.

But Baylor had an answer.

In a game that featured plenty of rain, Douglas provided Baylor's only lightning. On Baylor's first offensive play after the Nebraska score, Douglas busted loose and outran the Nebraska secondary for a career-long 80-yard touchdown run.

Despite Douglas' run, Husker senior rush end Grant Wistrom said he and his teammates still felt firmly in control.

"We still knew we were a better football team than there were," Wistrom said. "Those things happen every now and then. You just have to go back and correct it."

The run evidently served as a wake-up call for the Nebraska defense as the Blackshirts allowed the Bears just 16 more yards of total offense in the first half. Douglas finished the game with 84 yards net rushing.

The Husker defense was in the face of Baylor quarterback Jeff Watson all night. Watson was listed as questionable for the game with foot and ankle injuries and probably wished he would have stayed on the sidelines. He completed just 7 of 19 pass for 66 yards and was sacked four times.

"Overall, I was satisfied with the way we played," Nebraska senior defensive tackle Jason Peter said. "We had some breakdowns, but I'm not worried. We'll come back strong after this."

Said Osborne: "Overall as a football team, if you look at the first, third and fourth quarters, we didn't play very well. I was a little bit disappointed."

 
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