(Manhattan, Kansas - October 5, 1996) - Nebraska is still Nebraska and Kansas State is still Kansas State.
Those words, uttered a few years back by a Nebraska player after the upstart Kansas State Wildcats failed to keep their promise of an upset of the Huskers still seemed to apply this year.
The Huskers went down to Manhattan, Kansas with some tarnish on the armour. They had shown they could be beaten and the Wildcats were hoping to take advantage of the mortality. But for the 28th straight time the Huskers kept KSU at bay and recorded a commanding 39-3 win.
It was a game that was dominated by defense from both teams. But mostly by the Huskers. At halftime Kansas State had a total of zero offensive yards. They ended the game with 86 total yards. Added to the Husker defensive war chest were a blocked punt, three sacks and three interceptions.
"Kansas State is a great opponent" said Husker defensive tackle Jason Peter. "This was a good way to show people we're back in this thing."
The Huskers entered the game missing some key players. I-Back Damon Benning and Will linebacker Ryan Terwilliger did not make the trip to KSU due to injuries. That meant freshman I-Back DeAngelo Evans and linebacker Terrell Farley would see even more playing time than before. Both players responded to the challenge.
Evans lead all rushers with 168 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. One of the TD's came on a 68 yard jaunt untouched through the Wildcat defense. Evans, a high profile recruit from Wichita, Kansas found himself the subject of many boos from the Wildcat faithful who may have been upset that a local prospect left the state. Evans said he heard the calls from the crowd. "I just kept trying to punish them and shut them up with my playing." The freshman impressed fellow Husker Jason Peter. "He runs like a fifth year senior. He is going to be a real asset to the team."
On the defensive side of the ball Farley recorded three total tackles, one sack, a pass breakup and a tackle for a loss. Perhaps his biggest play came when he charged through the blocking on a punt play and managed to tackle Wildcat punter James Garcia before he even got the punt off.
Husker quarterback Scott Frost struggled to break down the Wildcat defense, a unit ranked fourth best in the nation. Frost guided Nebraska to only one first half touchdown when Ahman Green darted in from eight yards out with just under five minutes left in the half. The Husker's first half offensive fireworks were provided by sophomore kicker Kris Brown. Brown connected on field goals of 45, 27, 28 and 50 yards to give the Big Red an 18-3 halftime lead.
The Huskers struck quickly on their opening drive of the second half. DeAngelo Evans capped a three play drive with his 69 yard touchdown run and the domination was on. A 21 yard third quarter touchdown pass from Frost to Vershan Jackson and a fourth quarter five yard touchdown run by Evans wrapped up the scoring and gave the Huskers the 39-3 victory.
Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost finished the game with 8 completions on 16 pass attempts for 79 yards and one interception. Frost rushed for 35 yards in his biggest victory as a Husker yet.
Defensively the Huskers had many stars. The blackshirts confounded KSU quarterback Brian Kavanagh throughout the game, allowing him to complete only five of his 19 attempts. The Wildcat rushing attack spent more time going backwards than forwards. KSU recorded only 25 yards on the ground. Kansas State's only score, a 51 yard second quarter field goal, was set up by a Husker turnover. Even then the drive that resulted in the field goal lasted only four plays and actually saw Kansas State pushed back two yards from where the drive started.
SAM linebacker Jamel Williams lead th team with five tackles, while Michael Booker, Eric Warfield and Ralph Brown all recorded interceptions.
Ahman Green left the game with a bruised toe. His injury is not expected to be serious. Husker fullback Joel Makovicka reportedly suffered a strained shoulder while fellow fullback Billy Legate suffered a pulled hamstring.