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FORUMS | CHAT | PRINT THIS STORY

Vols, Huskers run different ways

By John Adams, News-Sentinel sports editor
January 2, 2000

Nebraska won three national championships while leading the nation in rushing five times in the 1990s. Tennessee finished in the top 10 five times while being quarterbacked by four of the top five passers in school history.

Nebraska has the big-time running game. UT has the big-name quarterbacks.

But option quarterbacks, not tailbacks, are what distinguishes Nebraska's running game from UT's. This season, quarterback Eric Crouch led the team with 889 yards rushing. Three years ago, quarterback Scott Frost rushed for 1,095 yards.

UT actually has produced better tailbacks than Nebraska in the 1990s.

Five of UT's 1990s tailbacks have played in the NFL: Chuck Webb, James Stewart, Aaron Hayden, Charlie Garner and Jay Graham.

Garner has rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season at San Francisco, and Stewart has been outstanding for Jacksonville while filling in for an injured Fred Taylor. Stewart, who has rushed for 889 yards and 13 touchdowns, is expected to be a hot item on the free-agent market in the off-season.

Both Garner and Stewart have had more professional success than any of Nebraska's former tailbacks in the 1990s.

Cornhuskers Lawrence Phillips, Calvin Jones, Derek Brown and Ahman Green were drafted. Jones lasted three years in the NFL and Brown, five.

Phillips, who was released this season by the San Francisco 49ers, has been the biggest disappointment. Drafted sixth overall by the Rams in 1996, Phillips went from St. Louis to Miami to Barcelona to San Francisco. It's questionable whether he will get another chance in the NFL.

Green, Nebraska's second all-time leading rusher, is just getting started. A third-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 1998, he rushed for 209 yards as a rookie and has gained 120 yards this season.

None of UT's tailbacks could match Green's career rushing at Nebraska or Phillips' 1,722 yards rushing in 1994. Yet four times in the last nine years, UT's tailback has rushed for more yardage than Nebraska's.

This season, Lewis and Henry have rushed for 1,606 yards. Nebraska's top two tailbacks, Correll Buckhalter and Dan Alexander, have rushed for 1,527 yards.

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