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Updated: Saturday, Dec. 4, 1999 at 22:48 CST


Big 12 Championship Game notes: Blame the media

By The Star-Telegram

SAN ANTONIO -- Texas coach Mack Brown said he has seen the Nebraska Cornhuskers before. He's not entirely clear on the identity of the team he saw in the Alamodome.

"They played as well as I've ever seen them play," he said. "Nebraska tonight may have been the best team in the country.

"They changed their pass rush from the first time we played them. It was a lot faster. We sat there at halftime and said, `What about this blitz?' and `What about that blitz?' but we couldn't handle any of them."

Brown then laughed and said he thought he had figured out where the breakdown occurred.

"I think you guys [media] got 'em mad, talking about how we always beat 'em," he said.

-- Whit Canning

Solich sells 'Huskers

Nebraska coach Frank Solich reiterated his feelings about the Cornhuskers' BCS standing (third) -- disappointment tempered with resignation at not having a chance to play for the national championship.

"Well, I know there are four or five teams out there worthy of playing for the national championship," he said. "I don't know where strength of schedule figures in -- I think Virginia Tech played one team [Boston College] that finished in the Top 25, and we played in a league where, like the Big Ten, nobody went through unbeaten. Some leagues are like that.

"But we all have to accept the system we have. We can live with that and just go to the Fiesta Bowl and be happy."

-- Whit Canning

Close to the vest

Although the Cornhuskers lost two fumbles -- bringing their total to 25 this season -- both came late in the game and were of little help to the Longhorns.

Regarding his team's success at hanging onto the ball, Solich said, "We came in with the idea of playing a very basic offense and not trying to do anything fancy. And after we scored in the second half to make it 22-0, we really didn't try to do anything exotic after that. We didn't want to give them a chance to get back in it."

-- Whit Canning

Looking ahead

Big 12 officials ended a four-year stretch of holding their title games in climate-controlled domes yesterday. The 2000 championship will be played outdoors at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. A comparison of game time temperatures and weather conditions at the two venues yesterday:

Alamodome: Clear and 72 degrees. Kansas City: 37 degrees and raining.

-- Jimmy Burch

Wayward snap

Texas center Matt Anderson was the reason for the first safety in the four-year history of the Big 12 Championship game.

His snap on the shotgun formation that sailed to the right of quarterback Major Applewhite and bounced through the end zone gave Nebraska two points and a 15-0 lead before halftime. Anderson, a sophomore from Cuero, said the ball didn't slip out of his hands and he wasn't rushing because of another Cornhuskers blitz.

"I don't know what happened," Anderson said. "Just a mistake on my part, I guess. I was blocking my guy and I heard the crowd roaring and I turned around and I thought `Oh, man.' "

-- Tim Price

Briefly

* While Nebraska was bringing a full rush on several passing plays, Texas was playing without one of their starters. Left guard Roger Roesler, a senior from Round Rock, missed the second half because of flu symptoms. He was replaced by Derrick Dockery, a 335-pound freshman from Garland.

* Texas running back Hodges Mitchell tried to play in the second half despite injury. He was limited to 17 yards on 7 carries and missed most of the second half when he sprained ligaments on both sides of his right ankle on the second-half kickoff. Mitchell left the Alamodome with a plastic walking splint and is expected to be out 7-10 days but play in the Cotton Bowl.

* Nebraska's Eric Crouch became the top rushing quarterback in the nation with 72 yards, giving him 889 yards and moving him past Rice's Chad Richardson, who had 831.

* Texas wide receiver Kwame Cavil had five receptions, giving him 100. A junior, he is the first Texas or Big 12 player to reach 100 catches in a season. "It's great," said Cavil. "I'll be back next year to get 150.

* The crowd of 65,035 was the largest in Alamodome history and the largest to watch a Big 12 title game.

* Texas quarterback Major Applewhite threw for 164 yards, breaking a string of 19 consecutive 200-yard passing performances as a starter.

* In four Big 12 title games, the South Division representative is 2-0 in games played at a North Division site (St. Louis) but 0-2 in games played at a South Division site (San Antonio).

* Nebraska is the first Big 12 school to win multiple league titles. The Cornhuskers also won the 1997 title, beating Texas A&M, 54-15, in the championship game.

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