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Cornhuskers answer OSU coach's question: Cowboys have a long way to go

(c) 1995 Copyright The News and Observer Publishing Co.
(c) 1995 Associated Press

STILLWATER, Okla. (Sep 1, 1995 - 19:30 EDT) -- Bob Simmons says one reason he agreed to switch Oklahoma State's game with Nebraska from October to Thursday night was to see how far his team needed to go to become respectable.

It looks like a long road.

The Cowboys were dismantled by the defending national champions. They could not block Nebraska's front-line defenders, couldn't avoid blocks by the Cornhuskers offensive line and were overmatched at every turn.

The 64-21 score could have been worse. Lawrence Phillips scored three touchdowns and ran for 153 yards, but he carried only 12 times. He sat down for good early in the third quarter.

Tommie Frazier ran for one touchdown and threw for another. Like Phillips, he was finished in the third quarter after carrying 10 times for 64 yards and completing 6 of 10 passes for 120 yards.

The Cornhuskers ran for 513 yards and had 671 yards overall. The defensive starters held Oklahoma State to 95 first-half yards, 79 of those coming on one play, a run by David Thompson.

"They did not do anything we didn't prepare for," said Simmons, who grew accustomed to big-time talent during his seven years as a Colorado assistant. "We just didn't execute what we can do."

The tone of the game was set right away. On its first possession, Nebraska averaged about 6 yards per play, before Phillips fumbled at midfield.

If Oklahoma State was to have any chance, it needed to get an early break and take advantage. But the Cowboys netted minus-15 yards on their first three plays, punted, then Nebraska drove 72 yards for a touchdown.

The rout was on.

After a 24-yard field goal by Kris Brown, linebacker Terrell Farley intercepted a pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown and a 16-0 lead.

Then Thompson provided what proved to be the final glimmer of hope for Oklahoma State when he ran 79 yards on a third-and-10 draw play. Two plays later, Andre Richardson scored on a 2-yard run and the Cowboys were within 16-7.

But then, on the first play after the kickoff, Phillips cut back inside on a play designed to go outside, broke through the line and ran 80 yards to the end zone.

"I think that killed 'em," Frazier said.

If that didn't, then perhaps Phillips' 27-yard touchdown run on the next possession did. Or Frazier's 1-yard option keeper for a TD on the possession after that. Or Frazier's 76-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Baul on the possession after that.

"We think we've got some big-play potential, although we missed a couple of long passes," said Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, searching for something the Cornhuskers didn't do right.

"I knew coming in that we had a little depth problem at certain positions and a game like this will probably help that."

Simmons wouldn't mind having Osborne's depth problems. Oklahoma State played eight true freshmen and five redshirt freshmen. The only freshmen who played for Nebraska were the placekicker, Brown, and third-string I-back Ahman Green. Brown had a field goal and seven extra points; Green averaged better than 8 yards per carry and scored once.

"Basically we need to be a sound team," Simmons said. "Right now we're not. We just played a national championship program. Now we have to hold our heads up and become a solid team."