|From: Sports | College |
Sunday, September 10, 2000
Beats Irish in OT
By DICK WEISS
Daily News Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind.
ebraska senior quarterback Eric Crouch could have been
wearing Notre Dame colors, helping to wake up the echoes on this campus.
Instead, he will always be just another ghost who haunts this storied program.
Crouch scored three touchdowns yesterday including a seven-yard dash in
sudden-death overtime as the top-ranked Cornhuskers outlasted the Irish, 27-24,
before a sellout crowd of 82,032 at Notre Dame Stadium.
NBC must have loved the drama that ended with Crouch spinning the ball in the end zone
before he was mobbed by teammates.
But this was hardly Nebraska at its finest.
Crouch rescued a faltering power offense that only produced 274 yards rushing in 59
carries and looked winded for most of the fourth quarter. He bailed out an ugly special
teams unit that surrendered two blockbuster scores a 100-yard kickoff return by
Julius Jones and an 83-yard punt return by Joey Getherall. And he also helped temporarily
preserve Nebraska's national ranking, leaving a reminder of what might have been.
Before Crouch entered his senior year at Omaha Millard North High School, he attended
Notre Dame's summer football camp. The Irish wound up recruiting him as an athlete, but
the coaching staff refused to commit to him as a quarterback.
"You can look back and say, 'What if, what if,' things might be different,"
Crouch said. "But I felt Nebraska was the place for me. They ran the option. I don't
regret the decision. I wasn't sure if Notre Dame wanted me to play quarterback. After I
made the decision they said, 'No, no, we wanted you to play quarterback.' I said, 'It's a
little too late now.'"
Crouch, who has run a 4.45 electronically timed 40 and a 10.37 100 meters, used a burst
of speed to break loose for a 62-yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter. So
much for those comments from Notre Dame cornerback Brock Williams, who claimed Crouch had
just average speed.
He also set up the game-winner with a nine-yard pass to tight end Tracy Wistrom on a
third-and-9from the 24 that gave the Huskers a critical first down at the Notre Dame
15-yard line. Two plays later, he scored on a quarterback duck behind a key block by 245
pound I-back Dan Alexander, who leveled Williams, much to the relief of the Big Red fans
who flooded the stadium.
More than 25,000 Nebraska fans found their way into the stadium. Scalpers were asking
and getting upwards of $500 a ticket. "I don't know how they all got
in," Crouch said. "They must have either stolen them or beat people up on the
outside to get them."
College Football Roundup: Gamecocks Win Again, Shock No. 9 Georgia (9/10/00)
Irish Fight for Respect vs. Huskers (9/8/00)
Notre Dame Has Its Irish Up for Huskers (9/7/00)
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