AP Photo Nebraska's Ahman Green tries to get around Tennessee's Leonard Little during the third quarter of the Orange Bowl.
Frost helps Huskers stake claim to No. 1Who the writers voted for
By Terry Douglass
MIAMI -- The second-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers staked their claim to at least a share of the national championship Friday with a 42-17 victory over No. 3 Tennessee in the FedEx Orange Bowl at Pro Player Stadium.
The victory sent legendary Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne out a winner in his final game and also marked a victorious close to the career of Husker senior quarterback Scott Frost. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound graduate of Wood River High School completed 9 of 12 passes for 125 yards to open up his team's running game and also rushed 17 times for 60 yards and three touchdowns.
Besides being one of the keys to Nebraska's victory, Frost may have also been the Huskers' most vocal spokesman in supporting his team for the national championship. Top-ranked Michigan, which finished its season undefeated with a 21-16 Rose Bowl victory over Washington State, appeared to have the inside track to its first national title since 1948.
The results of the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll will be released this morning.
"I don't see how anyone with a clear conscience can look at themselves in the mirror and not vote for Nebraska as No. 1," Frost said. "Nobody else is saying this, so I'm going to say it. The AP has pretty much given Michigan the title -- it's up to the coaches. The coaches have got to vote for Nebraska.
"How could you not give this team, 13-0 and the winner of the Bowl Alliance, a share of the national title? They can't do it. The title has been split before and it should be split again."
After starting slowly in the game's opening minutes, it was Frost's passing that helped Nebraska to its first scoring march. He was 3-for-3, throwing for 67 yards on NU's first scoring drive. The Huskers eventually scored on Ahman Green's 1-yard TD run with 1minute, 10 seconds left in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
"I think we were in better condition," said Frost, whose team went on to outgain Tennessee 534-315. "Nebraska is in great condition and I think we wore them down."
Frost had a pair of third-quarter TD runs, scoring from on runs of one and 11 yards. He also produced Nebraska's final touchdown with a 9-yard run to put the Huskers ahead 42-9 with 4:24 left in the game.
The victory capped a stellar year for Frost, who became the first quarterback in Nebraska history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season. He was just the 10th different player in NCAA Division I history to accomplish that feat.
Frost also became the 21st Division I quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season and just the fourth signal-caller in conference history to do so. Frost broke the old Husker quarterback rushing record of 925 yards.
Frost with 1,095 regular-season yards and Green with 1,877 yards gave Nebraska 1,000-yard rushers in the same backfield for the just the second time in school history. The first time was by I-backs Calvin Jones and Derek Brown in 1992.
With 2,332 yards of total offense this year during the regular season -- postseason performances aren't counted on the NU all-time charts -- Frost fell one yard short of the school record set by Jerry Tagge in 1971. With just two seasons at Nebraska after transferring from Stanford, Frost finished seventh on Nebraska's all-time passing charts with 2,677 yards following his 201-yard effort in the Dec. 6 Big 12 Championship game win over Texas A&M.
In his two years as the Huskers' quarterback, Frost accounted for 46 touchdowns. Counting the Orange Bowl win over Tennessee, Frost finished his career with a 24-2-0 record for a .923 winning percentage.
He may have received his highest compliment from teammate Jason Peter. The Husker senior defensive tackle said Frost easily outplayed his counterpart -- Heisman Trophy runner-up Peyton Manning of Tennessee, who was 21 of 31 passing for 134 yards and a score.
"Scott outplayed Peyton Manning and it wasn't even close," Peter said. "He proved he was one of the best quarterbacks in the country out there tonight."
Frost's proficiency in running Nebraska's high-powered offense, which ranked first in the nation in rushing yards per game (392.6), total offense (513.7) and scoring offense (47.1), gained him a spot among the five semifinalists for the 1997 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He was also one of 14 semifinalists for the 1997 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award.
With a 3.5 cumulative grade point average in finance, Frost earned academic All-Big 12 honors and was second-team GTE/CoSIDA academic All-American. He received his degree from Nebraska on Dec. 20.
In his first year at Nebraska, Frost led his team to an 11-2 record, a final No. 6 ranking in the Associated Press and coaches' polls, the FedEx Orange Bowl title and the Big 12 North Division championship. He was named the Big 12's offensive newcomer of the year for his performance, completing 104 of 200 pass attempts (52 percent) for 1,440 yards with just three interceptions.
As a prep football player at Wood River, Frost rushed for 4,278 yards and 72 TDs while also passing for 6,859 yards and 67 scores. Frost's father, Larry, was his team's head coach and his mother, Carol, served as the receivers' coach.
Copyright 1997 The Independent
A Fitting Finale: Osborne gets to hoist trophy after final game
Manning: Bummer of a final game
The Triumphant one: Frost hears nothing but cheers, No. 1 chants
His final game: Osborne didn't show anything different
State fans go wild: Celebrating like its another championship season
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