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Cornhuskers finally shuck the monkey

By John Maher
American-Statesman Staff

Posted: Dec. 4, 1999

SAN ANTONIO -- The fourth time turned out to be the charm for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. After three straight painful upsets at the hands of the Texas Longhorns, the Huskers finally got a measure of revenge.

``They're a monkey on our back and we finally got it off,'' said senior rover Mike Brown. ``I didn't want to leave here without beating Texas. I finally got them. I can die now."

For most of the game it was the Texas offense, however, that was moribund. Brown and his teammates were the reason for that, and they had a little more to goad their efforts than the losing streak. They also were motivated by some remarks made by Texas quarterback Major Applewhite recently, when Applewhite said that figuring out the Nebraska defense wasn't calculus.

``It serves as bulletin-board material,'' Mike Brown said. ``We have a lot of things we throw at people."

``He didn't know what was coming,'' said cornerback Ralph Brown. ``It gave us a chance to get in his face."

A variety of looks and blitzes had Applewhite throwing to jittery receivers or simply trying to throw the ball away much of the day. He finished with only 164 yards passing and three interceptions. The Texas running game fared even worse as the Huskers held the Horns to 9 yards on the ground.

``We got a lot of pressure on Major Applewhite,'' Mike Brown said. ``We played a complete game."

``Their defense lined up and whipped us at the line of scrimmage,'' Texas Coach Mack Brown summarized.

On offense, the Nebraska plan was simple -- don't do anything to hurt the defense.

``We started trying to (use) a little bit of power offense and run the ball without getting too fancy,'' Nebraska Coach Frank Solich said. ``We didn't want to get real exotic today with our offense."

The Huskers also were not extravagant about any national championship claims.

"There are probably four or five teams that feel they're great teams,'' Solich said. ``If you lined them up in a national championship game it would be a good game. We'll go with the system."

That all but certainly means no national championship, but the Nebraska players and coaches seemed satisfied Saturday with a convincing win -- finally -- over Texas.

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