October 27, 2009

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NU Rally is Perfection

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1995 Orange Bowl

Terry Connealy, left, celebrates his sak of Miami's Frank Costa as his teammate, Mike Rucker, looks on.MIAMI - Nebraska made a run for a national championship Sunday night by sticking with the run.

Fullback Cory Schlesinger raced for touchdowns of 15 and 14 yards in the final 7:38 to give the top - ranked Huskers a 24 - 17 win over No. 3 Miami in the FedEx Orange Bowl, a victory that should keep NU No. 1 when the final polls come out Tuesday morning.

Nebraska was behind 10 - 0 in the second quarter and 17 - 9 in the fourth before making its move.

1994 in Review
• Nebraska 31, West Virginia 0

• Nebraska 42, Texas Tech 16

• Nebraska 49, UCLA 21

• Nebraska 70, Pacific 21

• Nebraska 42, Wyoming 32

• Nebraska 32, Oklahoma State 3

• Nebraska 17, Kansas State 6

• Nebraska 42, Missouri 7

• Nebraska 24, Colorado 7

• Nebraska 45, Kansas 17

• Nebraska 28, Iowa State 12

• Nebraska 13, Oklahoma 3

• 1995 Orange Bowl - National Championship Game: Nebraska 24, Miami 17

The game first appeared to turn in Nebraska's favor on the third play of the fourth quarter.

With NU trailing 17 - 9 and Miami facing fourth - and - 3 at its 43, the ball was snapped over Miami punter Dane Prewitt's head. As the ball rolled back to the UM 10, Prewitt kicked it out of the end zone. Instead of gaining a safety, Miami was penalized for an illegal kick and Nebraska took over the ball at the UM 4.

On the next play, NU quarterback Brook Berringer rolled right and tried to hit tight end Eric Alford deep in the end zone. But Miami safety Earl Little made a diving interception to stop the Husker threat.

But the Huskers didn't quit. The defense stopped Miami on three downs twice. After the second of those stops, NU got the ball back at the Miami 40 after Prewitt's 37 - yard punt.

In two plays, Nebraska scored. I - back Lawrence Phillips bolted 25 yards - the longest run against Miami this season - and Schlesinger followed with a 15 - yard touchdown run.

Quarterback Tommie Frazier then hit Alford with a two - point conversion pass to tie the game 17 - 17 with 7:38 to play.

The Blackshirts held Miami without a first down again and got the ball back after a punt at the NU 41.

On third down, Frazier broke an option play for 25 yards to the Miami 27. He broke another for 6 yards and a first down. Then Schlesinger bolted 14 yards for another touchdown and Tom Sieler kicked the extra point for a 24 - 17 NU lead with 2:46 to play.

The Nebraska defense preserved the victory on Miami's final series by sacking quarterback Frank Costa twice before Kareem Moss intercepted the fourth - down pass at the Nebraska 49 - yard line. The Huskers then ran out the clock.

Miami added five points in the third quarter to its 10 - 7 halftime lead. UM started the second half like it did the first - with a score.

The Hurricanes used fullback James Stewart's 13 - yard run and Costa's 14 - yard pass to split end Jermaine Chambers to get into NU territory.

Then on second - and - 9 at the Husker 44, Costa read a Nebraska blitz and dumped a pass in the flat to tailback Jonathan Harris.

Harris eluded Moss, cut back up the middle of the field and raced past free safety Tony Veland and linebacker Troy Dumas, then continued across the field and outran cornerback Barron Miles to the end zone for a touchdown. Prewitt's extra point put the Hurricanes up 17 - 7 with 12:02 left in the third quarter.

A 15 - yard penalty on Miami for celebrating the TD and I - back Damon Benning's 29 - yard kickoff return set Nebraska up at its 49. But the Huskers went three downs and out.

The field position gained, however, helped set up a score. Miami, starting at its 14, was pushed back to the 4 on an illegal block and personal foul penalties.

With the Hurricanes lined up in a five - receiver formation, NU outside linebacker Dwayne Harris sacked Costa in the back of the end zone for a safety. That brought NU back to 17 - 9 with 11:35 to go in the third quarter.

But on the ensuing free kick, Benning bobbled the ball and was stopped at the NU 25. After one first down, NU had to punt.

The Blackshirts forced Miami to punt, and NU took over at its 7.

The Huskers drove 72 yards with Berringer hitting wingback Abdul Muhammad for gains of 16, 19 and 13 yards. But on second - and - 3 at the Miami 31, Berringer and backup I - back Clinton Childs missed connections on handoff and UM linebacker James Burgess recovered at the 36.

To open the game, Miami held Nebraska on three plays, forced a punt and scored on its first possession.

The Hurricanes converted twice on third down when Costa completed passes of 10 and 18 yards. An offside penalty moved UM to the NU 15. Costa then completed another third - down pass inside the 10, but it was called back because of offensive interference.

When the drive stalled one play later, Prewitt kicked a 44 - yard field goal - his 14th straight without a miss and longest of the season - to give Miami a 3 - 0 lead with 7:54 to go in the first quarter. The deficit was Nebraska's first in seven games, dating back to the second quarter of a win over Oklahoma State on Oct. 8.

The Huskers responded by driving from their own 10 to the Miami 41 with seven running plays, a pass and a penalty. Then Frazier tried to go deep.

But while backpedaling under pressure he threw off balance and into double coverage, allowing Miami cornerback Carlos Jones to jump in front of wingback Abdul Muhammad for an interception at the UM 3.

The poor field position didn't bother the Hurricanes. They produced their longest scoring drive of the season - 97 yards - in five plays.

Costa completed passes of 17 and 43 yards before finding Trent Jones with a swing pass out of a backfield. The tailback eluded NU linebacker Ed Stewart at the line of scrimmage and free safety Eric Stokes near the goal line to complete a 35 - yard touchdown play.

Prewitt's point - after kick put UM up 10 - 0 with nine seconds left in the first quarter. That was the Huskers' biggest deficit since trailing Wyoming by 14 points in the first half Oct. 1.

Berringer entered on Nebraska's next series. The Huskers gained one first down before UM tackle Warren Sapp's 12 - yard sack ended the drive.

Two penalties stuck Miami in a hole on its next possession, leaving the Hurricanes with fourth - and - 22 at the 12. NU's Moss returned Prewitt's 40 - yard punt 12 yards to the UM 40.

In five plays, Nebraska scored its first touchdown against Miami in three Orange Bowls.

After four runs, Berringer faked a counter sweep left, rolled right and found tight end Mark Gilman with a 19 - yard touchdown pass. Sieler's PAT brought the Huskers back to 10 - 7 with 7:54 to go in the half.

Neither team threatened in two possessions each after that, allowing Miami to keep its 10 - 7 lead at half.

Nebraska was outgained 198 yards to 127 in the first half. But the Huskers' 102 yards rushing was more against Miami than in the past two games vs. the Hurricanes when NU ran for 80 and 82 yards.

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