Huskers rally to beat Kansas
BY KEN HAMBLETON Lincoln Journal Star
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A change of attitude, effort and shoes, plus two explosive plays by wingback Bobby Newcombe, helped Nebraska rally for a 24-17 victory over Kansas Saturday night.
Kansas, unranked and relatively unnoticed, shackled Nebraska for the first half and took a 9-0 lead over the No. 7-ranked (Bowl Championship Series ratings) Huskers. Nebraska didn't score until Josh Brown kicked a 31-yard field goal with 10:22 left in the third quarter.
Then Newcombe, who moved from quarterback to wingback after two games this year, took over.
Wearing shoes with a little more of rubber nub on the soles than the ones worn in the first half, Newcombe caught a Kansas punt, stepped to his left, then to his right and sprinted 86 yards down the sideline to give Nebraska its first touchdown of the game with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
Josh Brown added the extra point to give Nebraska its first lead, 10-9.
Husker quarterback Eric Crouch later scored on an option to give the Huskers a 17-9 advantage.
But Kansas, now 3-6 and losers to Nebraska for 31 years in a row, struck back almost as quickly when quarterback Dylen Smith found Mike Chandler on the right sideline.
Chandler bounced off a tackle attempt by Husker Keyuo Craver, then pulled away from safety Clint Finley and scored. Smith hit Chandler on a 2-point conversion to tie the game with 11:44 to go.
"That really got us down, but it got us up at the same time," said Crouch. "We were not going to lose this game."
The Huskers sputtered, despite a 30-yard pass from Crouch to Newcombe, when Brown missed a 43-yard field goal attempt with 9:13 left in the game.
Kansas, which rolled up 366 yards of total offense, charged, but the Husker defense slammed the door shut, stopping the Jayhawks on their 36-yard line.
Nebraska took over on its 26-yard line with 5:53 left.
Starting I-back Correll Buckhalter, who finished with 116 yards, gained 24 yards on three consecutive carries, and Crouch threw his body into the line twice to convert a fourth-down attempt at midfield with 4:02 remaining.
"I knew we could do something big with the next play, because we hadn't called it all night," Newcombe said.
Crouch rolled to his left and hit Newcombe at the Kansas 17-yard line. Newcombe cut behind Nebraska receiver Matt Davison and scored untouched to cap Nebraska's first come-from-behind-in-the-second-half victory in two years.
"It was a matter of character, playing harder, and those new shoes didn't hurt," Crouch said.