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Published Sunday, September 12, 1999

Husker Game Notes
Praise for NU's Kickers


Last modified at 12:16 a.m. on Sunday, September 12, 1999
 

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Although they won't steal many headlines, both Nebraska coach Frank Solich and California coach Tom Holmoe, credited Cornhusker punter Dan Hadenfeldt in NU's 45-0 win over the Bears Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Hadenfeldt, a senior who's in his first year as Nebraska's starting punter, averaged 49.5 yards on six punts and killed three of his punts inside the Cal 20-yard line. Hadenfeldt's best effort was a career-long 73-yarder with the wind on NU's first possession that got the Huskers out of a hole and put the Bears at their own 23.

"That was a tremendous turning point in the game," Holmoe said. "It was one of the biggest plays early on."

Solich said he isn't surprised by Hadenfeldt's play this season. Hadenfeldt came into the game averaging 44 yards a punt.

"I don't know that you can't count on it, but the signs were there that Dan would perform that way because of how he's handled himself in spring ball and throughout the course of fall camp," Solich said. "But until a guy actually gets on the field and does it, you're never quite sure, but the odds were that he'd be a pretty good punter for us and he's certainly done a great job these first two ballgames."

Solich was also pleased with his place-kicker. Redshirt freshman Josh Brown converted all six of his point-after kicks and added a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter. Brown is 12-for-12 in PATs this season.

"I was also pleased with Josh Brown," Solich said. "He's had a groin injury that has hampered him pretty much from the beginning of practice this fall and has kind of come and gone so he hasn't been able to kick with any regularity. But yet, he's done a good job with the extra points and did a good job with the field goal."

I-backs Were No-Shows

Only third-team Nebraska I-back Correll Buckhalter was suspended for Saturday's game, but all of the Husker I-backs were virtually no-shows against Cal.

Buckhalter, who skipped the first three practices last week without permission, was serving a one-game suspension. However, starting I-back DeAngelo Evans (five yards on six carries) and second-teamer Dan Alexander (26 yards on six carries) didn't seem much more noticeable than their benched teammate.

Solich credited the California defense, which returned eight starters from last season when it was ranked among the Pac-10's best, for limiting NU's ground game.

"Cal commits a lot of people against the run and if you can find ways to put points on the board, that's what it's all about," Solich said. "I don't expect that you're going to just line up, with the schedule that we've got, game after game and knock people around to the point where all you have to do is run four or five rushing plays and you're going to win the ballgame and win it handily."

Fourth-team I-back Dahrran Diedrick led the team in rushing with 29 yards on five carries.

FieldTurf Gets Mixed Reviews

Saturday's game at Memorial Stadium marked Nebraska's first contest with it's new massive press box and new FieldTurf playing surface. While most of the Cornhuskers were used to the surface, the field covering got mixed reviews from the Bear players.

As a rule, most of Cal's offensive players liked the new turf. Meanwhile, the majority of the Bear defensive players didn't care for it at all.

As for Cal place-kicker Ignacio Brache, he could've went either way. "I had no problems with it," Brache said. "The only problem would have to be for my holder. When I kicked the ball, the stuff would get in his eyes."

That stuff was tiny pieces of ground up tires and silica sand, which sit below the artificial blades of grass and help cushion the surface. Brache probably had more of a beef with the goal post in the South end zone. He hit the left upright twice, missing field goals from 35 and 42 yards.

As for Solich, he said the FieldTurf held up just fine.

"It was the first game on the turf, I was pleased with how it worked," Solich said. "It looked for a period of time like we were going to get a lot of rain coming in the afternoon, but apparently that missed us totally, so it was a great day to play football."

Brown 'Brothers' Strike

Nebraska defensive backs Mike Brown and Ralph Brown are no relation, but both had the same knack for coming up with the football against Cal as both had interceptions.

Rover Mike Brown intercepted Cal quarterback Samuel Clemons in the second quarter, picking off a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage by defensive tackle Steve Warren. Mike Brown, NU's leading tackler a year ago, also made two stops in the game. It was his fifth career interception.

Senior cornerback Ralph Brown recorded his ninth career interception and returned it 35 yards to the California 4-yard line with three minutes left in the third quarter against quarterback Kyle Boller. The Huskers immediately converted the turnover into a touchdown as Eric Crouch scored from four yards out. Ralph Brown is tied for eighth on the school's interception list, six behind record-holder Dana Stephensen (1967-69). He also had a pass breakup, extending his school record to 37.

Dedication Day

It was dedication day at Memorial Stadium as Level 6 of the new stadium skybox facility was named in honor of longtime Nebraska sports information director Don Bryant. ABC television broadcaster Keith Jackson called the game and made a special trip to Lincoln to help honor his longtime friend.

With additional seating made available after the renovation, a record crowd of 77,617 fans turned out to see the game. The stadium improvements increased the official capacity from 72,700 to 74,031. Saturday's record crowd bettered the old stadium record of 76,663 set against Oklahoma in 1987.

Receiving Notes

Nebraska tight end Tracey Wistrom caught two passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. His 70-yard touchdown reception from Crouch in the second quarter was a career long for the sophomore from Webb City, Mo.

Wistrom became the first Husker to have more than 100 yards receiving in a game since Matt Davison had a school-record 167 last year against Texas A&M. He is the first tight end to have 100 yards receiving in a game since Johnny Mitchell had 137 against Oklahoma in 1991.

Davison caught one pass for 18 yards, marking his 19th straight game with at least one reception.

Odds and Ends

Senior linebacker Brian Shaw blocked a Nick Harris punt in the third quarter, setting up a Nebraska score. It was Shaw's first career blocked punt. Shaw also recovered a fumble. ... While Iowa wasn't charged with a single penalty last week, California was flagged 14 times for 110 yards Saturday. ... Nebraska has not had a 100-yard rusher since Crouch ran for 108 last season against Kansas State. ... Diedrick's 29 yard rushing was the lowest total for a NU leading rusher since Crouch had 28 last year in the Holiday Bowl against Arizona. ... The 114 yards rushing was the Huskers' lowest total since rushing for 73 yards last season against Oklahoma State. ...Solich said Nebraska appeared to suffer no serious injuries in the game.

--Compiled by Terry Douglass



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