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Wistrom’s catch propels NU to TD
For the Star-Herald
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The season was on the line.
The entire crowd saw the Huskers’ national championship plans hitting a roadblock. Notre Dame was ahead after kicking a field goal in overtime and Nebraska was facing third down and nine from the 24 in its overtime possession.
Eric Crouch found tight end Tracey Wistrom, his favorite target, to save the game – and the season.
“I found an opening, and Eric hit me,” Wistrom said. “I’m always ready for the challenge.”
Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie said the Irish’s fate was sealed after that play.
“The most critical play of the game was third and nine when Nebraska completed the pass to the tight end,” Davie said. “I thought they were going with a quarterback draw or to the fullback.”
The challenge was one Wistrom had not anticipated. The entire game, Wistrom had been covered man to man by the Notre Dame strongside linebacker, or “SAM.” On this play, he was not.
“I was surprised because that was the first time all day I wasn’t covered by the SAM,” Wistrom said. “In fact, (assistant coach Turner) Gill asked me before the play, ‘Do you think you can shake the SAM?’”
So Wistrom found a seam in the zone, picked up the pass from Crouch, and then the first down.
“I caught the pass at about seven or eight yards downfield, and figured since they weren’t on me I could get the other yard or two,” Wistrom said. “I was pretty confident I could pick it up.”
Had the Huskers not picked it up, they might have had to go for it, but they likely would have tried a field goal to force a second overtime.
“In my eyes that was the biggest play of the game,” said Crouch. “I thought I heard a whistle (after the snap) in the back of my head, but when I threw the ball I noticed that there wasn’t one.”
Head coach Frank Solich liked his team’s chances with the ball in the hands of Crouch and Wistrom.
“The ball was in Eric’s hands and then in Tracey’s hands,” Solich said. “Those are as good a hands as you can get them to.”


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