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Huskers confident on last play
Crouch uses speed to give Nebraska win
By BOB SCHALLER
For the Star-Herald
SOUTH BEND, Ind. Dominic Raiola stood in the huddle, listening as the play came in
from the sideline.
The Huskers were trailing Notre Dame, 24-21, in overtime Saturday, facing second down and
three yards to go from the Notre Dame seven. Having just salvaged a first down on third
down and nine from the 24-yard line, the Huskers were revving up, just like the stadium
Thats when the play was called in the huddle an option designed for
quarterback Eric Crouch to keep the ball and head to the outside. Crouch called out the
signals, and Raiola looked up.
Touchdown, Raiola said. End zone. This is going in.
He lined up at the line of scrimmage and after the snap, Crouch ran wide, blowing into the
end zone, deflating Notre Dames hopes and salvaging Nebraskas bid for a
There is no other option on that, Crouch said, but for me to run
His teammates knew that as well.
Everybody busted their blocks and got guys out of the way on that play, Raiola
said. It was such a great feeling. Right when they called that play in the huddle, I
knew we were going to score right then.
Crouch blazed to the corner of the end zone. It is a play that often has worked for
Nebraska, especially in clutch situations.
That is kind of like a bread and butter play for us, Crouch said. We use
it on the goal line. We use it when were looking for big plays. We get great
blocking on that play.
The play opened up so well that it almost seemed like it does in practice for Raiola.
They were going to try to plug the middle up, Raiola said, and we ran
right outside of them.
Head coach Frank Solich said the Huskers knew the option was their best option.
Basically, if the offense was shut down, which it was, the plan was to get in front
of Crouch and run, Solich said with a shrug of his shoulders. (Eric) has great
athletic ability that we can count on. He will make the big play. We have our best
opportunity to get it done when the ball is in Erics hands. However, I really want
to give credit to the other players, too.