AP Wire:
Lead Sports | Pro Football | College Football | Other Sports
More College Football from Homegame and NewsWorks


Huskers dim upset hopes

Defense shuts down Jayhawks, offense still rolling

By Bob Hamar
The Independent

LAWRENCE, Kan. - There was nothing particularly unusual about Nebraska's 29th straight victory over Kansas Saturday night.

At least not until the two sets of lights went off with 9 minutes, 36 seconds left in the second quarter.

Fullback carries again
AP Photo
Joel Makovicka picks up yardage again Kansas Saturday night.
Eventually, after a 7-minute delay, play resumed even though the lights had not been restored, and the Huskers went on to a 35-0 victory over the Jayhawks before an estimated 42,000 fans at Memorial Stadium to give coach Tom Osborne his 249th career victory on a wet, rainy night in Lawrence.

"Overall, I thought it was a pretty good victory,'' Osborne said. "We should be pleased to get out of here with a win, especially with way the weather was tonight. It's always a great equalizer.''

The Huskers (7-0 overall, 4-0 in the Big 12 Conference) had the game well under control before the lights went out with a 21-0 lead. When play resumed, the Huskers seemed to have lost some momentum.

"There was some debate on whether to delay the game or not,'' Osborne said. "After we fumbled the punt, he (KU coach Terry Allen) came over and asked if we wanted to delay the game because we fumbled. I said no, we fumbled the ball outright and that we should keep playing.''

NU rush end Grant Wistrom, who had three tackles for losses including two sacks, said he likes playing in rain or mud. Still, he didn't like the delay in the second quarter.

"It was awfully cold and misty out there. I wanted to get it going right away,'' Wistrom said.

Although Nebraska's lead was never challenged as the Blackshirts posted their second straight shutout, the NU offense didn't score again in the second quarter.

Or the third. Nebraska finally got back on the board when Scott Frost scored on a 14-yard run with 13:42 left in the game to put NU ahead 28-0.

Ahman Green, who ended the game with 123 yards on 17 carries, added an insurance touchdown with 9:42 left in the game to give Nebraska a 35-0 lead.

Nebraska ended the game with 382 yards rushing and 33 passing.

Frost added 121 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. He said several factors figured in to slow the NU offense in the middle part of the game.

"One, the weather caused us problems handling the ball,'' Frost said. "Two, the weather conditions limited what you can do with the passing game. Third, with the weather we had some breakdowns. I made a couple of mistakes and we missed some blocks here and there.''

None of those mistakes were caused by the short lighting problem. The Huskers had one offensive series without the lights and were ineffective. But the Blackshirts continued to dominate as they had throughout the first quarter. Kansas (4-4, 2-3) had six first-quarter plays resulting in one yard of total offense.

The Husker defense continued that domination after the lights came back on. At the half, KU had minus 29 yards rushing and 10 passing for a minus-19 total yards. And, naturally, no first downs.

For the game, Nebraska held Kansas to just 21 yards rushing, 27 passing and four first downs.

Kansas lost one fumble, while Nebraska didn't have a turnover in the game.

"I think one really good thing is that we didn't have a turnover under these conditions,'' Frost said.

Allen said his team played hard all the way.

"They made them work for everything they got,'' Allen said. "We blocked a punt, they fumbled the ball a few times but the ball bounced into their hands each time. We didn't get the breaks we needed to get.''

Early in the game, it was Green who carried the load early. On the Huskers' first possession, they marched 71 yards on 12 plays in 5:45 to score on a 5-yard run.

But it was Green who did much of the work with 52 yards on seven carries during the drive. Green had 102 yards rushing at the half, marking his sixth straight 100-yard game.

The Nebraska defense stuffed the Jayhawks again on the next possession, and the NU offense was off and running. The Huskers got a strange first down when Makovicka picked up a blocked punt and ran it 37 yards to the Kansas 37. But the drive stalled and NU eventually had to punt.

A sack by Steve Warren put the Jayhawks in a hole that they couldn't get out of. Nebraska took the KU punt on the 48 and went on a quick 5-play drive that ended with Frost scoring on a 27-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.

The Huskers added another first-quarter score moments later on an 18-yard run by Makovicka.

Kansas finally got its first first down of the game on the first play of the second half when Eric Vann went 15 yards right up the middle. The Jayhawks got their second first down moments later when quarterback Zac Wegner hit Brian Gray with a 6-yard pass.

"We just said we were going to run the ball and that as it,'' Vann said of KU's early third-quarter offensive success. "It wasn't in our game plan in the first quarter to run the ball. We hit some holes and made some plays.''

But the NU defense stiffened after Chad Kelsay tackled Vann for a 3-yard loss and the Huskers took over on their own 30 after a KU punt.


More on the game
Giving thanks for the defense Terry Douglass finds the Blackshirts the No. 1 reason NU winning

Having fun in the rain: Wistrom leads defense in tough conditions

Game Notes: Plans, player watches and a look at the numbers

Getting into the action: Husker punter sees more playing time than usual

Statistics, scoring summary

More on Kansas

Get the scoop on the Jayhawks from
From the Topeka Capital-Journal

To the Huskers Archive Top of Page

Questions? Comments? e-mail our Webmaster
© 1997 The Grand Island Independent
AP materials © 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.