Husker Press Box

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Crouch Celebrates Another Score

Do-It-All Crouch Crushes California
Nebraska - 45, California - 0

--  by Mark Fricke
     September 11, 1999


In the course of a single quarter, Eric Crouch may have solved the Nebraska Cornhuskers' quarterback controversy, their running back dilemma and their receivers concerns all by himself.

In the second quarter of Saturday's matchup with California the sophomore from Omaha ran for a touchdown, threw for another and even caught a 60 yard touchdown pass to complete the trifecta and help Nebraska overwhelm the PAC-10 foe 45-0.

The last time a Husker did all three in a game was Johnny Rodgers in the 1973 Orange Bowl against Notre Dame. NCAA records don't track any player who completed the threesome all in one quarter.

With under one minute left in the second period, Crouch lined up as a wide receiver and grabbed a screen pass from quarterback Bobby Newcombe. He dodged into the middle of the field and out ran the Golden Bear secondary for the Huskers fourth score of the half.

Earlier in the second period Crouch dove in for a one yard touchdown and also completed a 70 yard touchdown pass to tight end Tracey Wistrom.

"I just want to be on the field every opportunity I get." Crouch said. "I feel anytime I go in is a chance to let the team shine and make a big play."

Crouch finished the game with 21 yards rushing on 9 carries. He completed two pass attempts for 102 yards. His touchdown catch was his only reception.

The Husker offense rolled up 301 yards of total offense against a California defense that was figured to be among the elite in the nation. Nebraska ran for 114 yards and passed for 187.

The Huskers' managed to put up 45 yards without an individual standout. The leading Husker rusher was I-Back Dahrran Diedrick who rushed for 29 yards. It marked the lowest output by the Huskers' leading rusher in a regular season game since Derek Brown rushed for 27 yards vs Oklahoma in 1990. Dan Alexander ran for 26 yards.

Bobby Newcombe started the game at quarterback and struggled at times, but still rushed for 22 yards including one touchdown and passed for 85 yards including the touchdown pass to Crouch.

"I thought Bobby got off to a slow start but played better as the game went on." Husker head coach Frank Solich said. "When you only have 50 snaps, and you make a lot of big plays like we did, it's hard to get into the offensive flow or get any momentum going."

Nebraska got their momentum going late in the first quarter. After their first two drives stalled, the Huskers marched 51 yards in five plays to score on Bobby Newcombe's 12 yard run with 28 seconds left in the period. On the drive Newcombe rushed for all of the team's 34 yards and took advantage of a 15 yard personal foul on Cal.

The second quarter was all Eric Crouch's. His first touchdown run capped an 80 yard drive. After a Newcombe lead drive went three and out Crouch came back in for the next series and tossed a 70 strike to Wistrom on the second play for the next score. The Huskers struck again on their next play when Crouch turned the Newcombe pass into a 60 yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead at halftime.

The Cornhuskers' two-quarterback system kept California's defense on their heels all afternoon. "You don't prepare for two different systems. you prepare for two different quarterbacks." said California head coach Tommie Holmoe. "They both run the same plays and they area both great quarterbacks."

The Nebraska defense kept California at bay throughout the game, allowing 40 yards rushing and 105 yards passing. California saw two scoring chances die when a pair of field goal attempts each hit the left upright and fell back no good.

The Blackshirts kept the opponent out of the end zone for the second straight game. Linebacker Carlos Polk had seven tackles including one quarterback sack. The Huskers grabbed two interceptions.

"Every time we go out we try to dominate the other team and shut them out." said defensive nose tackle Steve Warren. "Cal played hard, came off the ball well the whole game and gave a great effort. This was a big confidence builder for us."

The Huskers scored twice in the third period on a 37 yard Josh Brown field goal and a 4 yard touchdown run by Eric Crouch. Dan Alexander scored the game's only fourth quarter points on a five yard run.

The game was played in front of a stadium record 77,617 fans.


© 1999 Husker Press Box

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