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Wildcats want to turn it around on Nebraska

(c) 1995 Copyright The News and Observer Publishing Co.
(c) 1995 Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (Oct 21, 1995 - 03:36 EDT) -- A year ago, Kansas State finished with minus-7 yards rushing and was shut out in the second half as Nebraska posted its 26th straight win against the Wildcats.

It is just one of the memories No. 8 Kansas State wanted to erase Saturday against the second-ranked Cornhuskers.

Kansas State (6-0, 2-0 Big Eight) is not exactly a rushing powerhouse at 203.2 yards per game. Sophomore Eric Hickson leads the team with 79.5 yards per game and five touchdowns on 93 carries.

Hickson and an offensive line that starts a sophomore and a freshman will face a Huskers defense that allows 88.5 rushing yards a game. In last week's 57-0 loss to Nebraska, Missouri gained 39 rushing yards on 39 attempts.

"There isn't very much that has hurt them," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "They would be shutting people out if they had not given up some big plays later on. I think they jump out to big leads and then let up."

Nebraska (6-0, 2-0) has trailed only Washington State this season, and that deficit lasted only until the second quarter. The Huskers average 626 total yards and 55.3 points per game.

It will be up to Kansas State's top-ranked defense (7.5 points and 199.8 yards allowed) to stop Nebraska.

"You can't get caught up in who you're playing and how you prepare for them," said linebacker Percell Gaskins, who leads the Wildcats with 50 tackles. "You just have to play your game and not let them get going out of the gate."

The Wildcats would like a little spark early in the game. Kansas State has scored only a touchdown by halftime in each of the last three games.

The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 79-7 in the third quarter, but Gaskins said the team cannot afford a sluggish performance like last week's 23-17 victory over Oklahoma State.

"We came out flat that game," he said. "I'm glad we got that wake-up call."

Freshman Ahman Green was expected to make his second start at I-back for Nebraska Saturday. The former 100-meter and 200-meter high school champion from Omaha Central High School leads Nebraska with 615 yards rushing.