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Kansas notebookKansas notebook


Date: 10/31/99 00:08

Kansas fullback Moran Norris

The best and worst

  • Best: Dylen Smith again proved the value of a scrambling quarterback when he bought enough time for tight end David Hurst to pull away from Nebraska linebacker Tony Ortiz with 9 minutes, 12 seconds left in the first half.

    Smith then floated a perfect 22-yard scoring pass to Hurst that helped give the Jayhawks a 9-0 lead.

  • Worst: The Jayhawks really tried only one gadget play in the first half, and it backfired badly. Running back Henri' Childs took a handoff from Smith, swung wide on what appeared to be a sweep and then threw back to Smith.

    The pass wasn't even close. It was badly underthrown and intercepted by Huskers strong safety Mike Brown at the Nebraska 43. It was KU's only turnover of the game.

    Some offensive numbers

    Smith had a career-high 217 yards passing. He completed 16 of 30 attempts and had two touchdowns with no interceptions.

    Smith completed passes to nine different receivers. The last time that many KU players caught a pass in the same game was in a 37-10 loss to Indiana State in 1985.

    Fullback Moran Norris had 80 yards in 17 carries as the follow-up to his career-high 106 yards against Missouri last week.

    Seeing is believing

    Nebraska coach Frank Solich admitted he was disappointed by his team's close call, particularly since it came after last week's 24-20 loss at Texas.

    "We expected to come out a little more fired up," he said. "But Kansas had been playing good football, and we knew they would give us their best effort.

    "Really, we were pleased just to get a win."

    The victory allows Nebraska to remain just one game behind Kansas State in the Big 12 North standings. The teams meet Nov. 13 in Lincoln, Neb.

    Rare close game

    Saturday's game was only the second time in the last 26 years that Kansas hasn't lost to the Huskers by at least 16 points.

    The other occasion was 1993, when KU pulled to within 21-20 in the closing minutes but failed to convert the two-point attempt.

    The near-miss led to severe criticism of then-coach Glen Mason because running back June Henley wasn't on the field for the two-point try after supplying most of the yards on the touchdown drive.

    That stands in contrast to Saturday, when Smith and receiver Michael Chandler clicked for a 77-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion that pulled the Jayhawks into a 17-17 tie in the fourth quarter.

    Overall, the Huskers have won 31 straight from the Jayhawks and hold an 82-21-3 advantage.

    Personnel matters

    The Jayhawks played without junior linebacker Dariss Lomax but had junior wide receiver Eric Patterson available for the first time in six games.

    Lomax missed the game because of a sprained ligament in his right knee. His absence led to sophomore Marcus Rogers getting his first start of the season. Unofficially, Rogers finished with six tackles, including four for loss.

    Patterson did not have a catch.

    KU also lost senior cornerback Chad Coellner because of a concussion in the first half. That probably hurt the Jayhawks' punt-coverage teams.

    Nebraska played without junior fullback Willie Miller, a starter who had 114 yards in 27 carries in previous games. The Huskers compensated with a two I-back set of Correll Buckhalter and Dan Alexander.

    Buckhalter finished with 116 yards in 22 carries; Alexander had 20 in three.

    Worth noting

  • Saturday's game marked the 94th consecutive year the teams have played one another. The continuous streak is the longest in Division I-A. Overall, the teams played Saturday for the 106th time.

  • Nebraska is now guaranteed a winning season for the 38th consecutive season. That is the longest current streak of any Division I-A school.

  • The loss officially eliminated Kansas from postseason consideration.

  • Saturday was the only time in the regular season the Huskers will play on artificial turf.

  • Nebraska is the only school to win 100 games or more in two decades. The Huskers were 103-20-0 in the 1980s and are now 103-16-1 in the 1990s.

  • Nebraska had only lost one game in the last 27 years to a team that finished with a losing record -- in 1992 at Iowa State.

  • Saturday's game marked the fourth straight year the two teams have played at night. Nebraska won the previous three by a combined 139-7.

    Up next

    The Jayhawks complete a three-game homestand by playing host to Baylor at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Bears are 1-7 overall and 0-5 in the Big 12 after Saturday's 48-7 loss at Kansas State.

    Baylor rallied for a 31-24 victory last year over KU when the teams played in Waco, Texas. It was perhaps the season's low point for the Jayhawks, who held a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter.

    The Bears hold a 3-1 lead in the all-time series.

    -- Bob Dutton/The Star

  • All content © 2000 The Kansas City Star