Nebraska players Brown, Johnson home for Fiesta Bowl
By Doug Alden
Posted: Dec. 30, 1999
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Fan support won't be a problem Sunday for
Nebraska linebacker Eric Johnson and defensive back Mike Brown,
both natives of the Phoenix area.
Both players have rounded up tickets for friends and family to
attend the Cornhuskers' Fiesta Bowl appearance against Tennessee.
"It feels wonderful. Every day we drive to practice, we pass my
old high school and it brings back some great memories," Brown
said. "I want to have another great memory in Sun Devil Stadium in
winning this game."
Brown closed out his high school career by helping lead
Scottsdale-Saguaro High School to the Arizona Class 4A state title
in Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium. A couple of months later, Nebraska
won its second straight national title, beating Florida 62-24 on
the same field.
Johnson has run into Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin and
running back Jamal Lewis before, and it wasn't in the Huskers 42-17
Orange Bowl win over Tennessee two years ago.
It was about four years ago on University of Nebraska-Lincoln
"I was their host on their recruiting trip," said Johnson, a
senior who will play his final college game Sunday. "They're some
good players. They're good people. Now, watching them play, they're
Martin, a 6-foot-3-inch, 215-pound senior, earned All-SEC honors
after passing for 2,317 yards and 12 touchdowns and was also third
in rushing for the Volunteers with 317 yards.
Lewis, a junior from Atlanta, leads the Vols in rushing this
season with 851 yards.
"You've got to look at it like this and be happy with what you
have," Johnson said. "That was the choice that they chose and I'm
happy for them."
ONE MORE TIME:
The last time Tennessee faced Nebraska, starting quarterback
Peyton Manning was sidelined the week before the game with a knee
Now it's Tee Martin who is on the shelf. Martin, Manning's
backup in the Orange Bowl two years ago, caught the flu over the
holidays while at home in Mobile, Ala., and is slowly regaining his
"Maybe there's just something about Nebraska that makes us
sick. I don't know," Martin joked.
Martin returned to practice Tuesday and said he completed 6-of-7
"I'll be all right. My little virus is not as serious as
Tennessee beat top-ranked Florida State 23-16 in last year's
Fiesta Bowl to win the national title.
The Seminoles had the nation's top-ranked defense.
Nebraska is No. 4 nationally in total defense, allowing 252.3
yards per game, and is better than Florida State, Martin said.
"Florida State is known for speed, but we pretty much matched
up with them speed and strength wise," Martin said. "Nebraska has
more guys than Florida State did with the strength and speed. And
they play together."
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