FSU loss could help Huskers back to No. 1 spot in AP poll
Nebraska Explodes In Fourth Quarter To Beat Iowa State
by Ed Howard
October 08, 2000
Oh what a beau-ti-ful morrrrning! Oh what a beau-ti-ful daaay!
Nebraska whipped up on the Cy-clones
And FSU lost yes-ter-day!
Okay. It's not Cole Porter. But it beats hell out of singing the blues.
Nebraska went through what is becoming a routine on Saturday, falling behind Iowa State and then rallying to claim another victory.
Thanks in part to Nebraska's legendary conditioning and fourth-quarter power, the Huskers dumped the previously undefeated Cyclones, 49-27.
The difference in this week's performance was that Nebraska, 4-0 and 2-0 in the Big 12, took a bit longer than usual to get its collective head on straight. The Huskers trailed at halftime for the first time this season, 14-13. Another difference was that, when NU did rally, the offense did so in a bigger-than-usual way, scoring four times in the fourth quarter.
With Miami's upset victory over Florida State, there was at least a possibility that NU could regain the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press poll of writers and broadcasters, a slot it lost to FSU last week. NU has been No. 1 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll all year.
Nebraska's defense still looked like what it is Saturday - a lot of talented athletes who aren't the most experienced guys in the world, or even in the Big 12. The Huskers gave up 346 yards to the Iowa State passing game as QB Sage Rosenfels completed 22 of 42 passes. On the other hand, the Cyclones managed just 37 net yards rushing; they had been averaging 227.5 on the ground.
The Husker offense also looked like what it is - a very powerful machine when it gets cranked up, finally, with quarterback Eric Crouch at the helm. Crouch completed 7-of-17 passes for 164 yards and rushed 19 times for 138 yards
The loss was Iowa State's first of the season. It is still very much a breakthrough year for the Cyclones, but not the breakthrough year that Coach Dan McCarney and his crew had hoped it would be. Iowa State is no longer the conference doormat, but it isn't ready to boot the likes of Nebraska off the throne, either.
"They deserve the No. 1 ranking," McCarney said. "I'm not going to give you the patented speech. We're disappointed that we didn't win this game. We went out to win this game, not look respectable."
Nebraska's ground power was simply too much for Iowa State. Nebraska rolled up 336 yards rushing on 60 carries. Dan Alexander picked up 96 of those yards on 21 tries.
The NU secondary got burned in the third-degree when Rosenfels hit a wide-open Craig Campbell for a 53-yard TD in the first quarter.
NU's Correll Buckhalter put the Huskers on the board with a 9-yard run in the second period, and Josh Brown added field goals of 40 and 24 yards.
In between Brown's efforts, however, the Cyclones intercepted a Crouch pass and returned it 40 yards to score. Nebraska fans in the stands, and around TV sets, do doubt worried over their halftime knoshes about how, exactly, NU would adjust in the second half. As it turned out, the Huskers adjusted very well, indeed.
Crouch led the Big Red downfield, Buckhalter scored from one yard out and Aaron Golliday caught the 2-point conversion pass.
The Cyclones were right back in it when Ennis Haywood capped an ISU drive with a 1-yard TD plunge minutes later. Nebraska 21, Iowa State 20.
At this point, it was not inappropriate for NU fans to wonder if another victory of the close kind would hurt Nebraska in the minds of some pollsters - again.
Not to worry.
At this point the fourth quarter arrived and Nebraska's performance seemed to keep time with a song by blues master John Lee Hooker. Boom, boom, boom boom.
Willie Miller polished off one drive by romping in from nine yards out, Buckhalter added another TD by pounding in from the one, and Crouch, whose passing and rushing efforts took him over 300 yards in total offense, also popped in from the 1-yard line.
Just when things were looking good, the Husker defense faltered again. NU allowed Iowa State to answer the Crouch tally with another Rosenfels scoring pass, a 15-yard effort to J.J. Moses.
Then it was time for Nebraska's subs to see some action. Freshman quarterback Jammal Lord finished the scoring with a 6-yard run.
Next Saturday: Texas Tech on the road.
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