(Lubbock, Texas - October 19, 1996) - It wasn't pretty, but just like a bloop single in baseball, it looks like a line drive in the box score.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers spent Saturday afternoon in Lubbock squandering chances and committing un-Husker like penalties, but still managed a 24-10 win over Texas Tech.
Nebraska was called for 11 penalties for just under 100 yards, fumbled the ball seven times - losing it four times, threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and allowed a rare quarterback sack. Given those parameters the Huskers might be expected to be on the losing end. However the Husker defense continued to dominate. The Black Shirts held Byron Hanspard, the nation's leading rusher to 100 yards below his season average.
The nearly one dozen penalties the Huskers overcame were the most Nebraska had been flagged for since, oddly enough, the 1993 game against Texas Tech (They were penalized 14 times in that game).
The game started out well enough for the Huskers. Nebraska kicked off to Texas Tech. A touchback spotted the ball at the 20. On the first play from scrimmage Hanspard was stripped of the ball. Linebacker Terrell Farley picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead just seconds into the game.
The Red Raiders next drive lasted three plays longer before they had to punt back to Nebraska. Husker quarterback Scott Frost finally got to enter the game and drove the Huskers nine plays before the first Husker error. Damon Benning fumbled at the 23 yard line and Texas Tech jumped on it, ending the first Cornhusker drive.
Texas Tech's next drive lasted 11 plays, aided by a Husker roughing-the-passer penalty. It ended with a punt that pinned Nebraska to the 2 yard line.
The Huskers fell apart on the ensuing drive. An Ahman Green run for three yards was followed by a Green run for a loss of two. On third and eight a Scott Frost pass intended for John Vedral was intercepted by TTU's Robert Johnson at the nine yard line and run in for a touchdown. The game was knotted at 7-7, both scores coming from the defensive squads.
The Huskers next drive lasted into the second period and covered 53 yards in 13 plays. Kicker Kris Brown put the points on the board with a 39 yard field goal. The Huskers lead 10-7.
Both teams swapped punts after short drives. Texas Tech finally took advantage of some Husker miscues, including two offside penalties, to tie the game up on a 29 yard field goal.
The Huskers next drive was thwarted by a Red Raider sack of Frost and a fumbled pitch by Ahman Green at mid-field, giving Texas Tech one more chance to score before the break. A 29 yard field goal attempt by Jaret Greaser, though, went wide with just over a minute left in the half. Nebraska got a chance for a last second score. The Huskers drove from their 33 to the TTU 31 yard line thanks in part to a 21 yard run by Damon Benning and a Tech pass interference call. A Kris Brown attempt with time running out sailed wide and the team went to the locker rooms tied at 10-10.
The Huskers first drive of the second half produced little and NU had to punt away the ball. They got the ball back four plays later when Mike Brown recovered a fumble at the Tech 42.
The Huskers took advantage of the break, driving 41 yards on seven plays to score on a Frost option run.
The Husker kicking game took a turn in the spotlight on the next Tech drive. After 10 plays the Red Raiders were forced to punt. Linebacker John Hesse broke through the line and blocked the kick giving Nebraska a first and ten at the Tech 42 yard line. Nebraska could not capitalize, however as they drove for only one net yard in six plays.
Tech gave the Huskers another opportunity after their next drive stalled at the Husker 45 and the ensuing punt netted only ten more yards.
Once again the Huskers self destructed as they were called for clipping during the next drive, Damon Benning fumbled but recovered the ball at the Tech 15 yard line. Fullback Jeff Makovica then broke through for what looked like sure touchdown, but fumbled the ball through the back of the end zone. Texas Tech took over after the fumble at their own 3 yard line.
The Black Shirts held on the next drive forcing another punt. Damon Benning atoned for his earlier miscue with a dazzling punt return. The Huskers took over at the Tech 5 yard line.
Two plays later it looked like deja-vu all over again as Benning fumbled a Frost pitch. He was able to pick up the loose ball and dive into the end zone for the game's final score.
The Husker offense managed only 238 yards in total offense (183 yards rushing, 55 passing). Ahman Green lead Husker rushers with 90 yards on 19 carries. Quarterback Scott Frost completed only four of twelve pass attempts for 55 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. The defensive effort was superb, though as the potent Texas Tech offense was held to 102 yards rushing and 112 through the air. Mike Rucker lead the attack with three quarterback sacks and another tackle for loss. The Black Shirts totaled six sacks on the day.