Huskers Come Up Short at No. 17 Texas
Austin, Texas - Junior wide receiver Nate Swift grabbed a pair of touchdown passes and the Nebraska Blackshirt defense turned in a stellar defensive performance for three quarters, but No. 17 Texas ran off 25 straight points in the final 20 minutes to secure a 28-25 win over the Huskers on Saturday afternoon.
Playing in front of 85,968 fans at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium and an ABC Regional television audience, the Huskers held the Longhorns out of the end zone for the first three quarters and reeled off 17 unanswered points to take control of the game in the second and third quarters.
But three Ryan Bailey field goals in the first 45 minutes and three long touchdown runs by Jamaal Charles in the final 15 minutes propelled the Longhorns to the victory. Texas improved to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12 with the victory, while Nebraska slipped to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the league.
While Bailey kept UT in the game, despite missing a first-half field goal, Charles ran the Longhorns to victory by posting a Husker all-time opponent record with 290 yards on the afternoon, breaking the previous mark of 247 yards held by Oklahoma's Billy Sims in 1979. Charles produced 216 rushing yards and three scores in the fourth quarter alone, which would have ranked as the fifth-highest total by an opposing runner in NU history.
Before Charles erupted in the fourth quarter, the Huskers had nearly matched Texas on the ground and far outgained UT through air for the first three quarters, while an attacking Blackshirt defense was making life miserable for UT quarterback Colt McCoy.
Nebraska amassed 316 total yards, including 109 on the ground and 207 through the air, in the first 45 minutes, while Texas managed 116 on the ground and 168 passing for 284 total yards. Nebraska finished the day with 447 total yards, while Texas amassed 545 total yards, including 261 yards in the final quarter, with 248 of those coming on the ground.
McCoy finished the day by completing just 12-of-28 passes for 181 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. The Blackshirts also battered McCoy with numerous hits and hurries, despite managing just one sack. McCoy completed just one pass for 13 yards and threw a fourth-quarter interception, but he did help UT on the ground in the final quarter.
McCoy carried four times for 35 yards in the final quarter to help set up Charles' 12 carries for 216 yards and three scores in the final 13:13.
While McCoy struggled to stay on the field at times, Sam Keller completed 23-of-35 passes for 298 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Keller's favorite connection against UT was Swift, as the junior from Minnesota hauled in six passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Despite the battery of McCoy, it was Keller who was knocked out of the game on NU's final drive, as he was marching NU into scoring position.
Junior quarterback Joe Ganz stepped up and kept the Husker hopes alive, completing 2-of-3 passes for 17 yards with both completions to Maurice Purify, including a 13-yard connection on fourth down and a four-yard touchdown strike. Ganz also added a 12-yard run to keep NU's drive alive. Ganz also hooked up with Swift on a two-point conversion with 1:55 left to pull the Huskers within a field goal in the final minutes.
Following Ganz's conversion to Swift, Alex Henery bounced an on-side kick that Marlon Lucky nearly recovered after it was fumbled by a Longhorn special teams player. But Texas secured the ball and the victory, running out the clock in the final two minutes.
Lucky had another strong day both running and receiving for the Huskers. The junior I-back from North Hollywood, Calif., rushed for 111 yards on 24 carries, while hauling in six receptions for 41 yards. It was Lucky's fourth 100-yard rushing effort of the season.
The Huskers trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, as Texas managed a 38-yard field goal by Bailey with 3:05 left in the opening period.
But with the Blackshirts playing stellar defense against a talented Texas offense, the Nebraska offense provided its first answer of the day with Henery's 31-yard field goal with 13:41 left in the second quarter.
The Blackshirts continued to blank the the Longhorns for the remainder of the half and the Huskers took some major momentum into the locker room at halftime when Keller connected with Swift on a 24-yard touchdown pass with just 36 seconds left in the half.
After holding a 10-3 halftime edge, the Huskers firmed their grip on the game when Keller connected again with Swift on a 23-yard scoring route to give Nebraska a 17-3 lead with 12:32 remaining in the third quarter.
The Longhorns chipped away at the Husker lead with a pair of long field goals by Bailey late in the quarter, including a 49-yarder with two seconds left in the third, but NU still carried a 17-9 lead into the fourth.
Texas held NU on its opening drive of the quarter and struck quickly on three consecutive long runs, including two by Charles capped by his 25-yard touchdown run to pull Texas within 17-15 with 12:23 left. Trailing by two, Texas chose to go for a two-point conversion, but the Huskers defended UT's first 2PAT attempt of the season well and held on to the lead.
Nebraska was stopped near midfield on the ensuing drive, but after giving up a first down to Texas, Larry Asante teamed with Zach Potter for a big play for the Blackshirts. Asante hit McCoy hard and knocked the ball loose. Potter picked it high out of the air to give NU position near the UT 40.
But the Huskers were unable to capitalize on creating their first turnover in the past four games. Dan Titchener came on to punt on fourth down and buried the Longhorns as Dan Erickson downed the ball at the UT 2.
Texas covered 98 yards quickly, as Charles sprinted 86 yards for a touchdown to give the Longhorns the lead with 7:33 left. Charles stretched UT's lead to 28-17 with a 40-yard touchdown run with 3:30 left, which followed NU's only turnover of the day. UT's Frank Okam forced and recovered a Keller fumble after NU drove to the Texas 29 with just over six minutes remaining in the game.
The Huskers stopped UT's momentum with their late touchdown drive that covered 60 yards in just 1:39, but NU was unable to get the ball back to complete the upset.
Nebraska concludes its two-game conference road swing by taking on No. 12 Kansas in Lawrence on Saturday, Nov. 3. Kickoff in Lawrence is set for 11:30 a.m. with live national television coverage provided by FSN.
Scoring (#17 Texas 28, Nebraska 25)
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007
Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)
First Quarter (Texas 3, Nebraska 0)
UT - Ryan Bailey 38 field goal, 3:05
Second Quarter (Nebraska 10, Texas 3)
NU - Alex Henery 31 field goal, 13:41
NU - Nate Swift 24 pass from Sam Keller (Henery kick), 0:36
Third Quarter (Nebraska 17, Texas 9)
NU - Swift 23 pass from Keller (Henery kick), 12:32
UT - Bailey 47 field goal, 3:56
UT - Bailey 49 field goal, 0:02
Fourth Quarter (Texas 28, Nebraska 25)
UT - Jamaal Charles 25 run (2PAT failed - Colt McCoy pass incomplete), 12:23
UT - Charles 86 run (2PAT failed - McCoy run), 7:33
UT - Charles 40 run (Bailey kick), 3:30
NU - Maurice Purify 4 pass from Joe Ganz (2PAT Good - Swift pass from Ganz), 1:55
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