Notebook: Huard hurt more by loss than ankle

September 21, 1997

Bob Condotta and Bill Reader; The News Tribune

That he doesn't think his ankle injury is serious was small consolation to Brock Huard on Saturday.

"I'm just devastated," he said after Nebraska's 27-14 victory over the University of Washington.

Huard, who might have been able to bust into Heisman Trophy contention with a strong performance Saturday, instead played only the first two series and part of a third before suffering a sprained left ankle after a hit by Nebraska defensive end Grant Wistrom.

Huard was hit after throwing a screen pass to Rashaan Shehee and said he'd have to look at the film to comment on whether he thought the hit was late.

"I threw it to Rashaan, I was standing there and Wistrom came and dove at my ankles and rolled up on me," Huard said. "I was willing to do anything with it. Treat it, tape it."

Huard tried both, but found he couldn't push off well enough to be able to throw the ball.

"If it had been my right ankle I might have been able to do some things," Huard said. "With it being my left ankle, the one I have to drop off and push off, I just couldn't do that. I tore something in there, I really don't know.

"I know it's not severe. I'll treat it and do everything in my power to get back fast."

Early X-rays on the ankle were negative for major damage. But the Huskies expect to know more today.

The loss of Huard was considered potentially to be the UW's worst nightmare. But the play of backup Marques Tuiasosopo made the Huskies' long-term quarterback situation suddenly look brighter than ever.

* Crowd doesn't help - Nebraska coaches feared the affect of the loud Husky Stadium crowd, remembering a 29-14 loss in front of a raucous audience in a night game in 1992.

They prepared for it by blasting in noise during practice that was so loud some non-football fans on campus complained.

But the Huskers' quick start - they led 14-0 after two possessions - seemed to make the 74,023 at Husky Stadium non-factors.

"The last time I was here, I'd never heard a noisier stadium," said Nebraska coach Tom Osborne. "I tried to downplay it a little bit because I didn't want our players to think we couldn't play here. (That game) was worse than the Orange Bowl.

"But part of it was it was a night game, and people tend to get more steamed up when they have the whole day to think about it or do whatever they do. I think the way we played the first quarter helped. It never seemed to be overwhelming. We were able to audible, which I didn't think we'd be able to do."

In fact, by the end of the game, the 5,000-plus Nebraska fans were making more noise than everyone else.

"They were pretty loud," said UW linebacker Jason Chorak. "Our crowd was pretty loud, too. It was just two great teams with great tradition going out there and you saw that from the crowd support."

* Injury report - Besides Huard, linebacker Marques Hairston was the most seriously hurt for UW, suffering a sprained knee late in the third quarter. He didn't return to the game and his status is uncertain, although it isn't considered serious.

There apparently were no other major injuries.

* Mak attack - You can't exactly call Nebraska fullback Joel Makovicka a secret weapon, but he probably wasn't the first one the Huskies were expecting.

The Huskies knew Ahman Green was coming. Green, the featured I-back in the Cornhuskers' attack, was handed the ball 29 times and gained 129 yards. And the Huskies knew quarterback Scott Frost could hurt them running and throwing. He did, with 97 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and 88 yards passing.

But who was this Makowhatshisname?

He came into the game as the Cornhuskers' fourth-leading rusher, with 127 yards in two games and a nice 7.1-yard average per carry. Saturday, he was the guy the Cornhuskers gave the ball to when they needed a big play. Makovicka carried the ball just 12 times, but piled up 129 yards.

* Notes - UW wide receiver Jerome Pathon had a career high in receiving yards with 195 - the third consecutive week he has set a career high. He became the first UW player since at least 1978 to net more than 100 receiving yards in three consecutive games - such stats weren't kept before 1978. His performance tied him for third on the UW's single-game receiving list with Jim Cope, who had 195 vs. Southern California in 1966. ... Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost's 37-yard scoring run in the first quarter was the longest against the UW since Sedrick Shaw's 58-yard touchdown run for Iowa in the 1995 Sun Bowl. ... Each team has next week off. UW is home against Arizona State on Oct. 4, while Nebraska faces Kansas State at home. ... Nebraska now is 155-5 under Osborne when it rushes for more than 300 yards. ... Before Frost lost 6 yards on the last two plays, Nebraska had three rushers with more than 100 yards, which would have been only the second time in team history that had happened.

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