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Husker running, passing attacks still sparkling
Huskers collect nearly 500 yards vs. Rice


BOB SCHALLER
For the Star-Herald
LINCOLN — The rushing game was more than effective, though the numbers didn’t really reflect the kind of rout Nebraska put on Rice on Thursday night.
Then again, the passing game was awfully good, for which the line also deserves some credit.
The Huskers’ offensive line was maligned early in the season, with less-than-impressive outings. Against Notre Dame, the Huskers pushed the Irish all over the field in the first half, before building a comfortable lead and coasting intentionally in the second half.
Against Rice on Thursday, the Huskers had 383 yards of offense — midway through the third quarter — and though Rice might not be a ranked team, it did enter the contest 2-0.
“We must’ve done an awfully good job up front to get around 500 yards against Rice,” head coach Frank Solich said of his offensive line. “We feel good generally at how well we moved the ball. We didn’t throw the ball that many times, but (the passes) were effective.”
The Huskers finished with 497 yards of total offense, including 292 rushing on 53 carries — very Pipeline-like numbers. Though the Huskers did not have a rusher break the 100-yard mark, quarterback Eric Crouch led the way with 97 yards on 12 carries. Starting I-back Dahrran Diedrick had 74 yards on 13 carries through just a little more than two quarters of work. Backup I-back Thunder Collins recorded six carries for 43 yards.
“Offensively, it seems to get better each week,” Crouch said.
The irony is that Nebraska’s line is nearing full strength. That is, two projected starters, Jon Dawson and Chris Loos, have been out with injuries. Loos is nearing full speed while Dawson’s return is still weeks, and maybe months, away. But when those two are back, the Husker line will be the deepest and strongest in Frank Solich’s tenure.
Add in the development of guard Wes Cody, a junior, and a slew of redshirt freshmen who will be battling for two-deep spots by next spring, and the line should be in good shape easily for the next two, three years, if not longer.
Even backup center Matt Shook, much bigger than starter John Garrison, has been effective, alleviating Solich’s concerns at least somewhat over losing Dominic Raiola early to the NFL after last season.