No. 4 Cornhuskers run over Bears
By RICK HERRIN
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
WACO - Baylor needed plenty of extra help from No. 4 Nebraska and found it in the first half.
The Bears also needed an outside diversion for the Cornhuskers and got it from a 36-minute lightning delay in the second quarter.
Nebraska just needed to stick with what no other team in the nation does better - run. And keep running. Leaning more on the predictable, yet reliable, the Cornhuskers overcame an admirable effort by Baylor, pounding out a 48-7 victory before 38,102 on a dreary and rain-soaked day at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Baylor (2-3 overall, 0-3 Big 12) continued the improvement it showed in a six-point loss last week to Texas A&M. The Bears were steady, trailing 14-7 late in the third quarter until Nebraska began a scoring spree.
"They gave us a lot of things," Baylor receiver Reggie Newhouse said. "There were a lot of plays we left on the table that we should have had."
Thanks to groundwork, Nebraska (7-0, 3-0) got what it asked for and rolled to 641 yards rushing - the second-most in school history and a Big 12 record - uncorked four 100-yard rushers and helped give Eric Crouch the school record for touchdowns (80) accounted for by a quarterback.
Despite hanging close with one of the nation's powers and producing five fumbles, the Bears wanted no part of a moral lift from the game. Baylor coach Kevin Steele said he felt something good about the game, especially after his team trailed just 14-7 at halftime. Linebacker Stephen Sepulveda's fumble recovery for a touchdown after the lightning delay had cut Nebraska's lead to a touchdown.
So was there any satisfaction that this was a close game until late?
"I didn't see any," Baylor defensive lineman Aaron Lard said. "Any other team would be looking good coming out with five turnovers."
Not Baylor. Not against Nebraska's defense, the Blackshirts. Nebraska held the Bears to minus-2 yards rushing in the first half and outgained them 688-187. Not much was open for Baylor, on the ground or in the passing game, for long. And if it was, plays came up short with dropped passes or poor throws.
Baylor quarterback Greg Cicero was 14-for-35 for 145 yards and threw two interceptions, failing to move the offense when the team needed it most.
"We have got to help out the defense," Cicero said. "We can't have that many turnovers and not put points on the board. It was just a matter of us not finishing drives."
Nebraska, the nation's best rushing team with 289 yards per game, had little trouble on the ground when it held on to the wet ball. Cornhusker I-backs Thunder Collins (165 yards) and Dahrran Diedrick (137), Crouch (132) and fullback Judd Davies (119) combined for 553 yards and six touchdowns.
"Our running game took care of things and opened the game up," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said.
Rick Herrin, (817) 685-3864 firstname.lastname@example.org
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© 2001 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas