Home | DiscoverLincoln.com | Coupons | Classifieds | Entertainment | Journalstar.com | Sunday, Nov. 18, 2001

Which NU assistant is the top candidate to get a head-coaching job?
| click here |
Husker news
- Ask the coaches
- Front page
- Recruiting
- Game photos
- Past stories
Husker basics
- Player roster
- Schedules
- Seating
- NU ticket info
- Challenge Curt
- Husker trivia challenge
Husker deals
- Husker Hot Pak
- Husker books
- Tickets
- Advertise online
First-quarter burst boosts NU past Irish
BY STEVEN M. SIPPLE Lincoln Journal Star
Tom Osborne strolled down Stadium Drive Saturday night, comfortable in a pack of fans headed to the Nebraska-Notre Dame game.

It wasn't long before Osborne was watching his old team emerge from another sort of pack.

Fourth- and fifth-ranked Nebraska broke from an expansive group of lukewarm national-championship contenders and solidified its status as legitimate title threat with a 27-10 win against No. 17 Notre Dame before a record crowd of 78,118 at Memorial Stadium.

Playing on Coach Frank Solich's 57th birthday, Nebraska received some gifts in the form of three Notre Dame turnovers in the first quarter, helping the Huskers bolt to a 17-0 lead.

Nebraska led 27-3 at halftime and was never seriously threatened thereafter while winning its 16th straight home game.

The Huskers' catalysts were I-back Dahrran Diedrick, tight end Tracey Wistrom, a maligned offensive line and a defense that continues to shine.

Diedrick, a 6-foot, 225-pound junior, carried 32 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns operating behind an offensive line that struggled in previous wins against Texas Christian and Troy State.

Against a highly regarded Notre Dame front seven, Nebraska established its running game from the get-go, driving 64 yards in nine plays for a touchdown on its opening possession. The Huskers finished with 182 yards on the ground and 270 overall.

"We wanted to show everybody this offense is a powerhouse and can get the ball in the end zone when we want it to," said NU quarterback Eric Crouch, referring to the opening drive. "I think it set the tone for the whole game."

Wistrom, a 6-5, 240-pound senior, caught four passes for 71 yards, with two of his receptions setting up Husker scores.

Although Nebraska's offense failed to light the board in the second half, the Husker defense never allowed Notre Dame to find an offensive rhythm. The Fighting Irish even tried alternating backup quarterback Carlyle Holiday with starter Matt LoVecchio, but to little avail.

Notre Dame, which entered as a 14-point underdog, managed only 91 yards through three quarters and finished with 162 - only 43 on the ground.

"We set a goal of keeping them under 225 yards of total offense, and we did better than that," said Nebraska senior middle linebacker Jamie Burrow, who made a team-leading 11 tackles. "We came out and played with a lot of emotion. We were relentless."

It was Nebraska's first nonconference night game at Memorial Stadium since losing to Washington in 1991. Unlike last season at Notre Dame - when 25,000-plus red-clad Nebraska fans streamed through the gates for the Huskers' 27-24 overtime triumph - only a few thousand Irish fans were on hand Saturday night.

"It was nice going out there and seeing all that red, and not too much green," Wistrom said. "And the crowd was loud . . . probably the loudest I've heard since I've been here."

Those in green and gold were silenced early.

Diedrick, coming off a 177-yard outing against Troy State, ripped off runs of 12 and 13 yards on the opening drive, and Wistrom contributed a 14-yard reception on a third-and-8 play. Diedrick powered in the end zone from the 1 behind the blocks of fullback Judd Davies and center John Garrison.

Notre Dame - which tied an NCAA record with eight turnovers during all of last season - made one on its first play from scrimmage Saturday. Nebraska rush end Demoine Adams smacked tailback Terrance Howard, and ball popped loose, and Burrow fell on it.

Crouch promptly lofted a 22-yard TD strike to a wide-open John Gibson for a 14-0 lead. Gibson, a senior wingback, found open space when senior safety Ron Israel took two steps forward anticipating a run.

Crouch finished 6-of-9 passing for 88 yards.

On Nebraska's next possession, linebacker Chad DeBolt stripped Crouch of the ball, and linebacker Rocky Boiman recovered at the Huskers' 34-yard line.

But the NU defense forced a punt, and John Crowther's snap sailed over Joey Hildbold's head. Husker rush end Justin Smith grabbed the ball at the Irish 15 and was tackled at the 8.

Nebraska settled for Sandro DeAngelis' 19-yard field goal and a 17-0 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter.

Notre Dame suddenly faced an uphill climb.

Nebraska had won its first two games despite two lackluster offensive showings. In beating Texas Christian 21-7, the Huskers managed only 159 rushing yards and had 15 plays stopped behind the line. Senior right guard Jon Rutherford called the offensive line's performance "embarrassing."

The offense showed improvement in Nebraska's 42-14 win against Troy State last week. But the Huskers stalled inside the red zone five times, rekindling criticism of an o-line that features three first-year starters.

"We were taking a lot of heat," said NU senior tackle Dave Volk. "It was something we were getting tired of."

Nebraska returns to action next Saturday night with a game against Rice.

Browse past stories
<<Nov >>
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30
Trivia challenge

Brought to you by
Take the quiz |

- Memorial Stadium
- Strength Complex
- Skybox

Advertiser index

Aardvark Antique Mall

Anis Eye Institute


Audiology Center of Lincoln

Blues Bike and Fitness

Bob Haberman Insurance



Cellular One


Dr. Vinyl

Empyrean Ales

Exhaust Pros


General Excavating

Gramercy Hill

Husker Headquarters

Lee's Drive In Restaurant

McCullough Landell Implement

Nebraska Mattress Company

Neuco Mortgage

PK Construction

Randalls Tuxedos

Star Tran

Stinson's Ace Hardware

Superior Spas

Sutter Place Interiors

Tegt's Event Marketers

Ticket Express

UNL-Alumni Association

UNL-Husker Authentic

Williams Nurseries

Windy Cities Hot Dogs

Copyright © 2001, Lincoln Journal Star. All rights reserved. This content may not be archived or used for
commercial purposes without written permission from the Lincoln Journal Star.
926 P Street     Lincoln NE 68508     402 475-4200