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The Seattle Times Extra Copyright © 1997 The Seattle Times Company
Sunday, Sept. 21, 1997

Husky notebook

by Seattle Times staff

After two games, Washington Coach Jim Lambright thought the Huskies had discovered a "kicking game we can win with."

That view probably is being reconsidered after a special-team performance yesterday that was average at best, and awful at worst.

Disheartening was a missed 33-yard field goal on Washington's opening drive. On fourth-and-two, Lambright disregarded the first-down attempt and sent in kicker Randy Jones, whose attempt sailed wide left.

"That was frustrating," tight end Cam Cleeland said. "You have them right where you want them on the first drive and we could have set the tone right away.

"Even with three points. It wouldn't have mattered. Just to get something on the board and to come out positive. But we came out empty."

Disheartening were seven Sean O'Laughlin punts that averaged 34.9 yards. His 54-yard attempt in the first quarter was impressive, but a second-quarter punt slipped off the right of his foot and traveled just 2 yards was damaging.

Nebraska should have been pinned against its goal line; instead it got the ball at its 45. The Cornhuskers drove 55 yards in seven plays and scored their third touchdown to take a 21-0 lead.

Battered and bruised

Washington linebacker Lester Towns sat stripped at the waist with an ice pack strapped to his shoulder. Outside linebacker covered a half-inch cut on his forehead with a bandage.

Quarterback Brock Huard walked with a protective boot on his left ankle and linebacker Marques Hairston needed to be helped into the locker room after Washington's 27-14 defeat.

All around Huskies were limping or in need of repair.

Nebraska will do that to teams.

"They were big and physical and we knew they would take it to us," defensive end Jason Chorak said.

But who could have expected Huard to leave the game after the first quarter?

"I was willing to do anything with it - treat it, tape it," Huard said. "If it had been my right ankle, I probably could have done some things. With it being my left ankle, the one I have to drop off and push off, I just couldn't do that."

Husky trainers will examine Huard's ankle and Hairston's knee today. Because of the bye next Saturday, both players have two weeks to recover for the Pac-10 opener against Arizona State at Husky Stadium on Oct. 4.

Option this

Nebraska's triple-option offense left Washington defenders shaking their heads.

"It was my first time against an option," Towns said. "It was way more difficult than I thought it would be. I was conscious of the pitch, so I'd get wider. Every time it seemed they'd run back to the middle."

Said Jason Chorak: "There were so many blockers. All of a sudden the fullback would come and throw a block or the tight end. I think we were confused."

Run for the Roses

Without the national championship, the Huskies have set their sights on winning the Pac-10 Conference and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

However, a few are holding out hope of a national title.

"You never know," Chorak said. "With the way things are in college football, we might still get a chance."

Husker miscommunication

A Cornhusker mistake was a simple case of miscommunication. Leading 21-0 in the first half, Nebraska drove to Washington's 29. A touchdown might have turned the game into a rout, but the Husky defense held, forcing Nebraska into a field goal situation.

Kicker Kris Brown lined up for a 46-yard attempt with Ted Retzlaff holding. But Retzlaff picked up the ball after the snap for a fake field-goal play. He immediately was tackled at the 38 for an 8-yard loss.

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