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Sports News From The Times-Picayune
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Huskers crunch pesky Tech

By Fred Robinson
Staff writer/The Times-Picayune
Aug. 30, 1998

It ended like many of Nebraskas previous 42 games at Memorial Stadium: a victory that was never in question after the Cornhuskers first possession.

But the Cornhuskers 56-27 victory against Louisiana Tech in the Eddie Robinson Football Classic on Saturday did not come without a price.

The Bulldogs offense, which generated just six points in the first half, got going during the final 30 minutes as wide receiver Troy Edwards and quarterback Tim Rattay exploited the Cornhuskers weakness -- their secondary.

Edwards caught 21 passes for an NCAA-record 405 yards and three touchdowns. Rattay completed 46 of 68 passes for 590 yards. It was the most yardage allowed by Nebraska since Kansas States 565 in 1993.

But we lost the game, Edwards said about his performance. I had a good game, but the numbers really don't mean anything. It means Nebraska had a better game plan than we had.

Louisiana Tech went into the game with hopes of being able to wear down the Cornhuskers defense with a lot of lateral schemes. By the time Nebraska was looking tired, the Cornhuskers led 35-7 at halftime. Nebraska scored on all five possessions in the half.

At halftime, I told the team not to look at the scoreboard and just go out there and play hard, Bulldogs coach Gary Crowton said. I told them we'd look at the scoreboard after the game. They did that.

The Bulldogs began closing the gap when Rattay connected with Edwards on a 52-yard scoring pass on Techs first possession of the second half.

After that touchdown, the Bulldogs stopped the Cornhuskers and forced them to punt for the first and only time.

Rattay then hit Edwards with a 94-yard touchdown pass on the second play of Techs second possession to pull to 35-21. The fireworks by Techs two-man show ended with 12:45 left in the game when Rattay hit Edwards with an 80-yard touchdown pass. It was Edwards 17th reception of the game.

When told of the number of passes Edwards caught, Crowton said: Thats all? I had a feeling Troy was going to show up. When Troy starts talking, thats when he plays his best.

Early in the week, Edwards was quoted as saying there was no way Nebraskas secondary could play him one-on-one.

I wasn't trash-talking, Edwards said. Trash-talking doesnt win games. I just don't think theres any DB out there who can go one-on-one against me. I really wasn't trying to impress Nebraska fans. I don't like the individual attention.

It wasn't until the fourth quarter that Nebraska started giving Edwards what he deserved -- double coverage. Edwards caught four more passes.

In all my playing days, I have never seen a person do what he did, Nebraska safety Mike Brown said of Edwards. That is the most impressive performance I have seen in my life.

Nebraska, which still had the majority of its first-team players on the field on its final possession, ended its scoring with a 43-yard run by I-back Correll Buckhalter, a native of Collins, Miss., with 1:24 left in the game.

Im glad its over, and I think our players are, too, first-year Nebraska coach Frank Solich said.

Tech was held to minus-21 yards rushing, but the ground game was what Nebraska relied upon. The Cornhuskers rushed 56 times for 289 yards. Buckhalter led the team with 143 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns.

© 1998, The Times-Picayune. Used with permission.