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No. 4 Nebraska wears down Baylor defense, 48-7


By KEITH WHITMIRE / The Dallas Morning News

WACO – As expected, Nebraska took control of Saturday's game by ramming the ball down Baylor's throat for an 11-play, 88-yard scoring drive.

Unexpectedly, Nebraska didn't have that kind of drive until late in the third quarter. The drive, in which Nebraska never saw a third down, gave the No. 4 Cornhuskers a 21-7 lead with two minutes left in the third period.

From there, Nebraska went on to a 48-7 rout, but from Baylor's perspective, the game can't be judged on the final score alone. For the majority of the game, the Bears were within striking distance of the Huskers.

Box score


College scoreboard

"We've got a good little defensive football team now," Baylor coach Kevin Steele said. "You're not going to line up and go down the field on them and score point after point. It's just not going to happen."

For the second game in a row, the Baylor defense stood its ground against a ranked opponent. But just like in last week's 16-10 loss to Texas A&M, Baylor's offense wasn't able to provide the points needed to make the defense's performance stand up.

Baylor was outgained 688 to 187 and had just 29 yards rushing. The Bears completed just 15 of 43 passes and had three interceptions.

Without support from the offense, Baylor's defense eventually buckled in the fourth quarter. The Huskers scored 27 points in the final period to make up for five lost fumbles.

Nebraska (7-0, 3-0 in Big 12 play) rushed for 641 yards, the second-best total all-time in school history. Four different Huskers rushed for 100 yards, only the fourth time that has happened in NCAA history.

"Our running game took care of things and opened up the game," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. "As the game went on and it was on the line, the players responded very well and worked their way through it."

While Nebraska had trouble holding onto the ball in the rainy conditions, Baylor (2-3, 0-3) seemed to benefit from a 36-minute lightning delay in the second quarter. The Bears had just downed a punt at the Nebraska one when the game was delayed.

Erich Schlegel / DMN
- Nebraska fullback Judd Davies (4) breaks past Baylor's Michael Tolbert for a touchdown.
On the second play after the delay, Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch fumbled in his own end zone and Highland Park's Stephen Sepulveda fell on the ball for a Baylor touchdown.

The turnover cut Nebraska's lead to 14-7, a score that stood up for most of three quarters. The Bears had a shot at pulling even when a third-quarter drive stalled at the Nebraska 33-yard line.

On the ensuing drive, Nebraska hammered the Baylor defense for 11 straight plays with runs by Thunder Collins (who finished with 165 yards), Dahrran Diedrick (137 yards), Judd Davies (119 yards) and Crouch (132 yards), who sneaked over from the 1.

The Huskers made it 28-7 with an 80-yard drive in eight plays, the shortest being Diedrick's eight-yard touchdown run.

"They just lined up and decided they weren't going to let us stop them," Steele said. "They kind of steamrolled us a little bit."

Baylor's offense steamrolled itself with numerous dropped passes and missed opportunities. Baylor quarterbacks were sacked five times.

"There were probably five or six times, whether you're looking at a throw or a catch, that we were this close from making this a completely different ballgame," Baylor quarterback Greg Cicero said. "We can't keep putting everything on the defense and not put points on the board."

Although Baylor's collapse came in the fourth quarter, the first half was where the Bears hurt themselves the most. The Bears managed just one touchdown off four Nebraska turnovers and were outgained 299 to 31, including 19 rushes for minus-2 yards.

After one of Nebraska's fumbles, Baylor turned it back over two plays later, setting up the Huskers at the Baylor 22. That led to the first of Crouch's three touchdowns and gave Nebraska a 14-0 lead.

"Nebraska's a great football team," Sepulveda said. "We went out and gave it our all. They got the better end of it, but we felt like we did some good things."


The Floyd Casey Stadium crowd of 38,102 was the smallest to see Nebraska play since only 32,768 saw the Huskers at Texas Tech in 1994. ... Baylor's touchdown off a fumble was its first since Kris Micheaux accomplished the feat last season against North Texas. ... Crouch scored the 80th touchdown of his career, breaking the school record set by Tommie Frazier, now a Baylor assistant coach. ... Crouch also added to his NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 54. ... The 641 rushing yards by Nebraska is second only to the 677 the Huskers had against New Mexico State in 1982. ... The four 100-yard rushers ties an NCAA mark set by Arizona State in 1951, Texas in 1969, Alabama in 1973 and Army in 1984. ... Baylor reported three injuries: DB Matt Johnson with a strained right knee, LB John Garrett with a bruised back and WR Damian Davis with a sprained left ankle.

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