Huskers Halt Red Raiders, 56-3
Lubbock, Texas (Ticker) -- Cornerback Joe Walker delivered the first blow and quarterback Eric Crouch followed with his usual steady dose of big runs and passes as No. 1 Nebraska rolled over Big 12 rival Texas Tech, 56-3.
Walker returned an interception 19 yards for a score on the Red Raiders' first drive and Crouch accounted for three first-half touchdowns as the Cornhuskers (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 12 games.
"I thought this was our most complete game of the year," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said.
The Red Raiders (5-2, 1-2) had a nine-game home winning streak snapped and suffered the worst loss in school history. The previous worst was a 58-7 loss to Texas last season.
"We just all blew up," Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said.
Crouch, a Heisman Trophy candidate, gave Nebraska a 14-0 lead when he scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 5:22 remaining in the first quarter. The 6-1, 205-pound signal-caller hit wingback John Gibson with an eight-yard TD pass 4:13 into the second quarter and made it 28-0 with a one-yard TD pass just over five minutes before the half.
"We wanted to make a statement tonight," Crouch said. "That was part of the plan. Everyone made their assignments and we overpowered them. The power game worked so well and that's due to a great offensive line."
Crouch sat out most of the second half, passing up the opportunity to pad his statistics for the Heisman. He completed 6-of-12 passes for 86 yards and rushed for 52 yards on 12 carries.
Dan Alexander rumbled for 113 yards on 20 carries and Willie Miller, Correll Buckhalter, Dahrran Diedrick and Jammal Lord each scored on short TD runs in the second half as Nebraska laid it on.
"This is a big confidence booster with a defense ranked one or two against the run and allowing a few points," Alexander said. "We have to do this every week. We showed what we are capable of and we weren't getting done like this, like we can in the first five weeks."
The Huskers have won all six meetings in the series, which began with a narrow 27-24 Nebraska triumph in the 1976 Bluebonnet Bowl. Tonight's game came closer to resembling Nebraska's 29-0 rout of Texas Tech in 1997 -- the last meeting between the teams.
Buckhalter helped the Huskers hold onto the ball for nearly 38 minutes, rushing for 105 yards on 13 carries. Nebraska held an astonishing 442-19 edge in rushing yardage and limited Texas Tech's passing game, which entered the contest ranked 10th in the nation, to 181 yards.
Red Raiders quarterback Kliff Kingsbury was 20-of-37 for 165 yards with two interceptions.
Beginning at his own 16 with 12:23 remaining in the first quarter, Kingsbury watched Walker step in front of his first play on the drive and dash into the end zone, providing Nebraska with all the points it would need.
Crouch broke off a 40-yard run to spark a four-play, 58-yard drive that gave the Huskers a 14-0 lead. He carried four times on a grueling 16-play, 61-yard march before capping it with an eight-yard TD toss to Gibson, making it 21-0 with 10:47 left in the second period. The drive took 7:21 seconds and took the life out of Texas Tech.
Nebraska vs. Texas Tech, Postgame Notes, Oct. 14, 2000
Lincoln --Playing in its fifth game this season, and 52nd overall as the AP No. 1 team, Nebraska defeated Texas Tech 56-3 in Lubbock. The Husker defense played its best game this season and shut down the potent Red Raider attack. The Huskers shut out the opponent in the first half for the first time this season as NU took a 28-0 halftime lead, and held its opponent without a touchdown for the first time this year. Nebraska held the Raiders to just 11 rushing yards on a NU season-opponent school-record low 12 attempts (previous school record was 14 by Louisiana Tech in 1998, Texas Tech had negative two yards rushing at halftime), a season best for the Husker defense, and 200 total offense yards (85 at halftime). Nebraska meanwhile, rushed for 442 and totaled 540 yards. The nation?s top ranked team improves to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in Big 12 Conference play, while Texas Tech drops to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 action.
Nebraska was led in rushing by an outstanding performance by the offensive line and by senior I-backs Dan Alexander and Correll Buckhalter who rushed for 113 and 105 yards, respectively. Texas Tech entered as the nation?s 10th best passing team, and QB Kliff Kingsbury ranked No. 1 nationally in passing, averaging 288.8 yards per game, but the Red Raiders were held to 181 yards passing, 87 at half. Texas Tech did not cross midfield until TTU?s last play of the first half.
Texas Tech scored its only points on its first drive of the second half, on a 41-yard field goal by Chris Birkholz, marking the first time TTU has scored on NU since 1996 (NU shut out Texas Tech in 1997, 29-0, last meeting). Nebraska answered Texas Tech with a touchdown on NU?s first drive of the third quarter and didn?t allow the Red Raiders to score again. Nebraska tacked on 28 more points in the second half for a 56-3 final margin, marking the worst loss in Texas Tech history home or away and the first time since 1997 that the Red Raiders have not scored a touchdown in the game.
Next week, Nebraska returns home to host Baylor in a non-televised 12:30 p.m., nontelevised, kickoff.
* The Win for the Huskers...marked Nebraska's 12th straight win overall (nation's longest current winning streak); was Nebraska's sixth straight win over Texas Tech (in six games played); marked Nebraska's seventh straight Big 12 Conference regular-season win; gave Solich a 27-5 three-year record; and was NU?s eighth straight as the AP No. 1 team (45-6-1 all time as No. 1).
* Quarterback Eric Crouch...The junior All-America, Davey O'Brien and Heisman Trophy quarterback is now 19-3 as a starter. He scored twice on runs of three and 1 yards and completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to wingback John Gibson. The TD pass to Gibson at 10:47 in the second quarter gave the Huskers a 21-0 lead and marked Gibson?s fifth career reception, first this season and first career TD reception. That drive covered 16 plays, NU?s longest this season (previous long was 15 vs Notre Dame). Crouch had 52 yards rushing at halftime and 52 in the game (on 12 carries) and has rushed for at least 50 yards in each of his last 11 games and has scored a rushing touchdown in 15 of the last 18 games. Crouch played in just the first series of the second half, leading the Huskers on a 15-play, 80-yard drive that gave Nebraska a 35-3 lead with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter. Crouch also completed 6-of-12 passes for 86 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Crouch is 122 yards away from becoming one of 33 quarterbacks all time who have rushed for 2,000 yards, as he has 1,878 rushing yards and 31 TDs. He has already passed for more than 2,000 yards with 2,622 career passing yards. This season, Crouch has rushed for 530 yards and 10 TDs and passed for 752 yards and another nine touchdowns.
* I-back Dan Alexander...A candidate for the Doak Walker Award, Alexander rushed for 113 yards on 20 carries, marking his fourth 100-yard rushing game this year. He reached the 100 yard mark on his 16th carry on NU?s first drive of the third quarter. It marks his 10th career 100-yard rushing game (ranks tied for 11th all time at NU), including nine in the last 14 games. Alexander leads the Huskers in rushing with 676 yards this season. Alexander moved up from 22nd to 20th on the NU career rushing chart and now has 1978 career rushing yards, just 22 yards short of becoming the 19th Husker to rush for more than 2,000 yards in his career.
* I-back Correll Buckhalter...also rushed for 100 yards in the game (13 carries for 105 yards), reaching 100 yards with 12:27 remaining in the game on his 12th carry and scored Nebraska?s sixth TD of the day on his 13th carry, a three-yard run. Buckhalter now has 2,251 yards in his career to move up from 16th to 11th, passing Tony Davis, Jarvis Redwine, Bobby Reynolds, Doug DuBose and Jeff Kinney. On the season, Buckhalter has rushed for 479 yards and four TDs. Alexander and Buckhalter became the 11th and 12th Huskers to rush for 100 yards or more in 10 career games.
* It?s a Rush...When Alexander and Buckhalter combined for 218 yards and both had more than 100 yards rushing, it marked the third time this season that NU has had multiple 100-yard rushers (also SJSU and Iowa) and the third time this season that both Alexander and Buckhalter have both rushed for 100 or more yards. NU has had multiple rushers in 51 games all time. NU rushed a season-high 77 times for 442 yards (second best total this season). NU is 90-0 since 1973 when rushing for 400 yards in a game and is 180-5 in the last 28 years when rushing for 300 or more yards in a game (since 1973), winning 102 straight when rushing for 300 or more yards. NU?s third I-back, Dahrran Diedrick added 53 yards on seven carries yards and scored on a four-yard run in the fourth to give NU a 49-3 lead. No. 4 I-back DeAntae Grixby had 7-47 and reserve quarterback Jammal Lord had seven carries for 33 yards, including a nine-yard run for NU?s final score. On NU?s first drive of the second quarter, the Huskers drove 15 plays and 80 yards and scored on Willie Miller?s four-yard run, marking the second straight game the Nebraska fullback has scored a rushing TD. It also marked Nebraska?s second drive of 15 or more plays vs. TTU. NU had five drives of 10 or more plays and all but two covered 50 yards or more.
* Receivers...Senior split end Matt Davison...has caught at least one pass in 32 of the last 35 games with his 29-yard reception on NU?s second drive (2-37 in the game), moved into sole possession of second on Nebraska?s career receptions chart. He now has 84 career receptions for 1,295 yards (his yards also rank second) and 12 catches for 228 yards and two TDs this season. All but one of his 12 receptions have gone for first downs or touchdowns. Wingback Bobby Newcombe...has caught at least one pass in 14 straight games and had 2-32 vs. TTU. Tight end Tracey Wistrom did not catch a pass for the first time this season, breaking a streak of eight straight games in which he has caught at least one pass.
* Place-kicker Josh Brown...has made 73 consecutive PATs in his career, 34 straight this season and has not missed a PAT since his first attempt against Southern Mississippi on Sept. 18, 1999 (game three of the season).
* On Defense...Nebraska recorded three sacks in the game, including 1-7 by Jason Lohr; 1-8 by J.P. Wichmann (first this season); and 1-4 by Randy Stella. Stella had another two tackles for loss, giving him 3-7 in the game and unofficially led the team with five tackles.
* Turnovers...Texas Tech 2; Nebraska 2 ...Nebraska had two interceptions in the first half as free safety Troy Watchorn (hurry by Kyle Vanden Bosch), in his first career start, recorded his fourth straight interception (fourth in career) in the last four games with a pick of Kliff Kingsbury on TTU?s first drive. He returned it 16 yards but NU had its second fumble lost this season and did not convert the pick to a score. On Texas Tech?s first play after recovering the fumble, Joe Walker picked off Kingsbury and returned the interception 19 yards for the Huskers? first score of the game. It was Walker?s second interception of the season and seventh of his career, and third for a touchdown, tying the NU career interception return for TDs record with Dave Mason, who had three from 1969-70-71. Texas Tech?s John Norman intercepted Eric Crouch with 1:58 remaining in the first half, but TTU did not convert.