Huskers Blow By Bears, 49-21
Waco, Texas (Oct. 11, 1997) - Third-ranked Nebraska continued its dominance of the Big 12 Conference with a 49-21 whipping of Baylor on a rainy night in Waco, Texas. The Husker victory was even more decisive than the end score would indicate, as Baylor scored two late touchdowns to make the final margin more respectable.
Nebraska scored midway through the first period on an Ahman Green 3-yard run to take a 7-0 lead. On the next possession, the Bears stunned the Husker defense, as Jerod Douglas scored on an 80-yard run to tie the game. The rest of the first half was all Nebraska. The Huskers scored five touchdowns in a span of 14 minutes to take a 42-7 lead into the locker room. Joel Makovicka scored from 15 yards out late in the first quarter and Green put together his second-straight four-TD game with 58, 2, and 30-yard scoring runs in the second quarter. Jay Sims capped the second-quarter scoring with a two-yard touchdown run.
Scott Frost added a one-yard score early in the third before Baylor scored twice in the fourth quarter. Green rushed for 158 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries, while Frost carried for 71 yards and threw for 103 yards. The Huskers piled up 27 first downs to just 12 for Baylor and out-gained the Bears 548 to 203. Defensively, Eric Johnson had six stops while Tony Ortiz added five and the Huskers sacked Baylor quarterback Jeff Watson four times on the evening. Erwin Swiney had an interception for NU while Ortiz, Joe Walker, Brian Shaw and Jason Wiltz each had a sack.
Three Huskers earned first-team All-America honors in 1997, including defensive tackle Jason Peter, rush end Grant Wistrom and offensive guard Aaron Taylor. I-back Ahman Green earned second-team honors and several other Huskers contended for national honors. Two major trophies found their way back to Lincoln, as Wistrom won the Lombardi and Taylor the Outland.
Nebraska has won more Outland Trophies (eight) than any other school and ranks second only to Ohio State (five) in Lombardi Awards with four. Nebraska is the only school to win a Lombardi in each of the last three decades. The double-award winners marked the fourth time Nebraska had won both the Lombardi and the Outland in the same season (also 1972 when Rich Glover won both; 1982 when Dave Rimington won both; and 1983 when Dean Steinkuhler won both).
The 1997 season marked the second time in history that a school has swept the awards with two different players (also Pittsburgh in 1980). While Taylor won the Outland, Peter was a finalist. He and Wistrom were also finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Player-of-the-Year Award.
Scott Frost was one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, while Green was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award that Ricky Williams of Texas won.
Wistrom and junior fullback Joel Makovicka earned first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, with Wistrom winning that award as a junior as well. Frost, Chad Kelsay and Jon Zatechka earned second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
Six Huskers earned first-team All-Big 12 honors, including Peter, Wistrom, Taylor, Green, cornerback Ralph Brown and offensive tackle Eric Anderson.