John Gibson hauls in a 22-yard touchdown pass in the first period
No Luck For Irish As Huskers Win 27-10
Nebraska Jumps Out To Early Lead And Holds On For Win
by Mark Fricke
September 08, 2001
The Nebraska Cornhuskers shook down their own thunder in the first half by jumping out to a 27-3 lead over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by the break. The Huskers then set things into cruise mode and finished off with a 27-10 win.
Nebraska I-Back Dahrran Diedrick carried the ball 32 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Eric Crouch rushed for 31 yards and was 6 of 9 passing for 88 yards.
The Huskers exploded early and often scoring two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the game. Nebraska's opening drive of the game covered 64 yards in 9 plays. Diedrick had runs of 12 and 13 yards and capped the drive with a 2 yard run. Tight end Tracey Wistrom caught a key 14 yard pass on a third and 8.
Notre Dame's troubles began on their first play from scrimmage when Terrance Howard fumbled the ball over to Nebraska at the 22. On the next play Crouch floated a pass to John Gibson in the corner of the end zone for a fast 14-0 lead with 10:19 left.
Another error led to the next Husker points. On fourth down at their own 40, punter Joey Hildbold watched the snap sail over his head and Nebraska recovered at the Irish 8. The Husker offense was unable to punch it in and settled for a Sandro DeAngelis field goal.
Notre Dame tried to jump start their offense in the second period when freshman Carlyle Holiday replaced starter Matt LoVecchio. Holiday guided the Irish into position for a 29 yard Nick Setta field goal to make the score 17-3 with 6:57.
Once again, Nebraska had an answer. Driving 51 yards in 9 plays, thanks in part to a 24 yard third down completion to Wistrom, the Huskers scored again on a 3-yard Diedrick rush.
DeAngelis added a 21-yard field goal with :01 left in the half to widen the lead to 27-3.
Nebraska put away their playbook in the second half and took the conservative route, running mostly between the tackles for the remainder.
"We came out (in the second half) with the idea of running the football and taking som etime off the clock and see what would happen," Solich said.
"As time seemed to go off the clock it seemed to make more sense as our defense controlled the game to not try and do anything that would cause a turnover and all of a sudden put (Noter Dame) in the game quickly."
Notre Dame got their biggest break of the game when Shane Walton blocked a Kyle Larson punt setting the Irish up at the Nebraska 4. The Irish scored on a fourth down 1-yard run by Tony Fisher.
Tracey Wistrom finished the game with 4 catches for 71 yards. All of his catches provided first downs including two third down conversion catches.
"He's a big game player and makes the big plays when you need it. You can't say enough about what he's done for this program," Solich said.
Nebraska recieved some bad news when it was learned starting senior nose tackle Jason Lohr tore ligaments in his knee and will likely miss the rest of the season.
Nebraska got the job done with very modest offensive numbers. The Huskers rushed for just 182 yards and passed for 88. Notre Dame was held to 43 yards on the ground and 119 through the air. Notre Dame turned the ball over four times including two interceptions.
Notre Dame was unable to replicate the special teams fireworks from last year's game where they scored twice and piled up 317 yards on 8 returns. In Saturday's game the Irish had nine returns but finished with 128 total return yards.
Irish quarterback Matt LoVecchio threw 24 times and completed 11 for 78 yards and rushed for 4 yards. Backup Holiday completed five of eight passes for 41 yards and ran for 21.