Lincoln - Josh Brown's 29-yard field goal as time expired lifted Nos. 8/9 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska to a 34-32 victory over Colorado Friday afternoon.
A sophomore from Foyil, Okla., Brown had converted just 4-of-9 field goals before his game-winning kick. He missed a 32-yarder in the second quarter and connected on a 20-yard attempt earlier in the fourth quarter before his successful kick provided the Huskers' with the margin of victory.
With the win, Nebraska improved to 9-2 on the season, extending its NCAA record of nine-win seasons to 32 and also increasing its win streak to nine straight over Colorado, dating back to 1991. With the loss, Colorado falls to 3-8 on the season and has lost the last five games to the Huskers by a total of 15 points.
The Huskers marched 47 yards in six plays to set up Brown's kick, behind Eric Crouch, who was 4-for-5 for 45 yards on the final scoring drive. With 10 seconds remaining, Crouch found Bobby Newcombe for a 17-yard completion to the Colorado 12-yard line. Newcombe had two receptions for 30 yards on the final drive.
Crouch was 11-of-17 for 139 yards through the air, while also rushing 20 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns. I-backs Dan Alexander and Correll Buckhalter turned in strong performances on the ground, combining for 166 yards on 22 carries. Alexander finished with 98 yards on 16 carries, while Buckhalter carried six times for 68 yards.
Nebraska, which scored on each of its final four possessions and trailed twice in the fourth quarter, trailed 32-31 after the Buffaloes drove 77 yards on 14 plays, capped by a Craig Ochs to John Minardi 15-yard touchdown pass with 47 seconds remaining. Trailing 32-31, the Buffs elected to go for the two-point conversion, and Ochs found Javon Green in the end zone to seemingly give Colorado the victory.
Ochs was 25-of-41 passing for 254 yards and a touchdown, but also threw a pair of interceptions, which were both costly. CU, which took the lead twice in the fourth quarter, was led by tailback Cortlen Johnson, who rushed for 155 yards, the ninth-best rushing total by a Husker opponent, and three touchdowns on 26 carries.
Early on, the Huskers capitalized on a pair of Colorado miscues to take a 14-0 first quarter advantage. On Colorado's second offensive play, Carlos Polk intercepted an Ochs pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown, the first of his career, to give the Huskers a 7-0 lead.
A Butkus Award semifinalist, Polk went out of the game on CU's next offensive series with a strained knee, but would return later in the half and finish with five tackles. The interception was the second of Polk's career and the third interception returned for a touchdown by Nebraska this season.
Later in the first quarter after Derek McCoy recovered a blocked punt at the Colorado 23-yard line, the Husker defense held and Randy Stella blocked a Mike Mariscal field goal attempt that Chris Kelsey returned it 43 yards to the Colorado 27. The Huskers would take advantage one play later, as Eric Crouch scored on a 27-yard touchdown run, to give NU a 14-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Buffaloes began to chip into the Husker lead, trailing 14-10 at the half. Mariscal's 32-yard field goal capped a 14-play, 65-yard scoring drive before CU closed to within four after a 39-yard touchdown run by Johnson.
After a Nebraska fumble on its first series of the half, Johnson gave Colorado its first lead of the day at 17-14, scoring from two yards out to cap a 12-play, 73-yard drive with 9:37 left in the third quarter.
The Huskers would respond on their next possession, marching 75 yards on 12 plays as Crouch capped the drive with his second touchdown of the day, this time from two yards, as Nebraska regained the lead at 21-17. Colorado would come right back, going 77 yards on 14 plays as Johnson scored from one yard out to regain the lead at 24-21.
After Brown's first field goal of the day tied the score at 24, the Buffs drove into field goal range, but Keyuo Craver blocked another Mariscal field goal attempt that Kelsay returned to the Nebraska 43. The Huskers, who scored on each of their final four possessions, would regain the lead as Crouch raced 26 yards for his third TD of the game, giving NU a 31-24 lead with 5:20 remaining.
Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. Colorado, Nov. 24, 2000
The No. 9/8/8 (AP/Coaches/BCS) Huskers defeated Colorado in Lincoln on Friday, Nov. 24, 34-32. Nebraska took a 14-0 lead as Carlos Polk scored a TD on a CU interception on the second play of the game. NU increased the lead to 14-0, as QB Eric Crouch scored on a 27-yard run after a blocked Colorado field goal. Colorado place-kicker Mark Mariscal was 1-3 on field goals in the first half (1-5 in game with two blocked), but connected on a 32-yarder to pull to CU 14-3 early in the second quarter. CU?s Cortlen Johnson led all rushers in the game and scored on a 39-yard run to close CU within 14-10 at halftime. After a Nebraska fumble to start the second half, Johnson scored on a two-yard run to take the lead at 17-14 with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter. Nebraska has trailed in a game seven times this season, winning five of those contests. The last time NU trailed in a game but won was vs. Iowa State on Oct. 7, 2000. But Nebraska drove the ball 75 yards ending in Crouch?s second rushing touchdown of the day to go back up 21-17. Colorado went back up 24-21 with 14:17 remaining in the game on Johnson?s third TD run of the game from 1-yard out. Nebraska tied the score at 24-all after Josh Brown made his first of two field goal attempts of the day, on a 20-yard field goal with 9:22 remaining in the game. Colorado drove to the 22 yard line and went for a 42-yard field goal, but the Huskers tied a school record with two blocked field goals in a game as Keyuo Craver blocked Mariscal?s kick and Chris Kelsay again recovered. Nebraska responded with a five-play scoring drive, capped with a 26-yard run by Crouch, his third score of the game, with 5:20 remaining. Colorado came back with an 11-play, 68-yard drive, culminating in a Craig Ochs to John Minardi 15-yard TD pass to pull within 31-10 with 0:47 remaining in the game. Colorado went for two and completed a two-point conversion on a pass from Ochs to Javon Green to go ahead 32-31. Nebraska?s Dahrran Diedrick took the pooch kick to the NU 41 yard line and with 44 seconds remaining, Crouch threw incomplete (intended for Matt Davison); completed two short passes to John Gibson (six, nine yards); completed a 13-yard pass to Bobby Newcombe to the CU 31; Crouch rush for two yards; with 10 seconds remaining on second-and-eight/ Crouch completed a 17-yard pass to Newcombe for a first down at the CU 12 yard line; and with five seconds remaining, Josh Brown kicked his first-ever game-winning field goal from 29 yards out as time ticked away, for a 34-32 win.
The game-winning field goal, with no time remaining, marked the first time since play-by-plays were kept on file in 1960, that Nebraska has won a game on the last play of the game. The last time Nebraska won on a field goal, was also vs. Colorado in 1998, when Kris Brown kicked a 25-yarder with 8:48 remaining in the game (NU won 16-14). Nebraska has won the last five games vs. Colorado by a total of 15 points.
The win for the Huskers...gave Nebraska nine wins this season; 34th time in history and 32nd consecutive year (since 1962); was Nebraska's ninth straight win over Colorado, dating back to a 19-19 tie in 1991; gave Coach Solich a 30-7 three-year record (to rank fifth in NCAA Division I-A in first three seasons); gives Nebraska's seniors a 43-7 record and 24-1 home record over the last four years; secures NU its 39th unbeaten and untied home season.
* Turnovers...Nebraska 3 (3 fumbles, 0 interceptions), 2 Colorado (0 fumbles, 2 interceptions)...On the second play of the game, Nebraska?s Carlos Polk intercepted CU QB Craig Ochs and returned the pick 39 yards for a touchdown. It was Polk?s first interception return for a TD and second interception of his career (1-16 vs. California in 1998). Nebraska has had at least one interception in 10 of 11 games this year (all but Baylor). Nebraska fumbled on its first possession, but Colorado did not convert as CU place-kicker Mark Mariscal missed a 29-yard field goal attempt (CU?s third drive). On Colorado?s fourth possession, Mariscal?s 37-yard field goal attempt was blocked by NU linebacker Randy Stella. RE Chris Kelsay returned the blocked kick 43 yards and NU QB Eric Crouch scored on a 27-yard run on Nebraska?s first play from scrimmage, marking NU?s first, one-play drive this season. On Colorado?s sixth drive, CU was forced to punt, but the punt hit NU Troy Watchorn on the helmet, and Colorado?s punter, Jeremy Flores, recovered the fumble. Colorado did not convert the turnover, as Husker cornerback Erwin Swiney intercepted Ochs on the next play. The interception was Swiney?s first pick this season and third in his career. Nebraska did not convert the interception, as NU was forced to punt. Nebraska fumbled on its first drive of the second half, recovered by Sean Jarne, and CU?s Cortlen Johnson scored his second TD of the day as Colorado took a 17-14 lead with 9:57 remaining in the second quarter.
Charting the Huskers
* Eric Crouch is now 23-5 as a starter. Against Colorado, Crouch carried 20 times for 125 yards and three TDs, marking the fifth time this season and the 10th time in his career that Crouch has rushed for 100 yards or more in a game. Crouch scored on runs of 27, two and 26 yards vs. the Buffaloes, marking his 11th multiple rushing TD day. Crouch also completed 11-of-17 passes for 139 yards with no interceptions and no TD passes. Crouch marched the Huskers on a seven-play, 47-yard game-winning drive, completing 4-of-5 passes (for 45 yards) on that drive. Crouch extended his lead as Nebraska?s school record holder for most rushing yards by a quarterback (2,319) and rushing TDs by a quarterback (40) and now ranks 13th all time in rushing and tied for third all time at NU with Calvin Jones for rushing TDs. He ranks sixth at NU in passing (2,971) and moved up from fourth to second in total offense (5,290, passing Jerry Tagge (5,283, 1969-71) and Dave Humm (5,027, 1972-74), and now sits second behind Tommie Frazier?s 5,476 yards (1992-95). This season, he has completed 75-of-139 passes for 1,101 yards with 11 TDs and led the team with 2,072 yards of total offense (188.4 ypg), which ranks as the eighth best NU season total all time. Crouch finishes the season with a team-leading 120 points and ranks tied for fifth all-time with 252 career points scored. He has rushed for at least 50 yards in a game 23 times in his career and in 14 of his last 16 games. Crouch has scored a rushing touchdown in 20 of the last 23 games. With his 139 passing yards today, Crouch now has 1,101 on the season and became the 12th Husker to pass for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons (first since Scott Frost in 1996 and 1997). Crouch has rushed for 971 yards this season on 169 carries with 20 touchdowns. He had the most rushing TDs in a season since Ahman Green had 22 in 1997, and ranks third in rushing TDs behind Green and Mike Rozier?s 29 in 1983.
* Dan Alexander rushed 16 times for 98 yards vs. Colorado. He moved into the NU all-time top 10 and now has 2,456 career rushing yards to rank 10th. He leads the Huskers this season with 1,154 rushing yards on 182 carries with eight TDs. He now has eight 100-yard rushing days this season, 14 in his career (fifth most by a Husker ball carrier). He has had 278 yards in the last two years vs. Colorado. I-back Correll Buckhalter rushed six times for 68 yards and finished the season rushing 106 times for 750 yards and seven TDs. He now ranks eighth all time at NU with 2,522 yards and 27 TDs. Buckhalter also had one catch for 22 yards and had five catches for 85 yards on the season.
* Defensive Leaders...Preseason All-America LB and Butkus Semifinalist Carlos Polk...scored his first career touchdown on a 39-yard interception return. He suffered a knee strain on the next series, went into the locker room for a time, missed a couple of series, but returned to finish his last home game. Polk, unofficially, had five tackles in the game to give him a team-leading 88 on the season and 225 in his career to rank 14th all time at Nebraska. It marked the first interception by a linebacker this year and is the longest the longest return by a Husker this year (previous, Troy Watchorn, 38-yard TD return vs. Iowa). Rush end Kyle Vanden Bosch unofficially led the team with a career-high tying nine tackles (with a career-best eight solo stops) and three tackles for loss. Nebraska recorded one for six yards lost by linebacker Jamie Burrow, who came in for relief of Polk. Linebacker Scott Shanle had eight tackles and FS/Rover Clint Finley had a career-best eight tackles.
* Cornerback DeJuan Groce...in just his second career start, had three key pass breakups, giving him 17 on the season, which betters the school record for pass breakups (15 by All-American Ralph Brown in 1999).
* Husker Receivers...Junior tight end Tracey Wistrom had one catch for 25 yards and now has 19 catches for 314 yards and leads the team with five TDs. Every one of his catches have gone for first downs or touchdowns. A junior, Wistrom ranks as the Huskers? fifth best tight end in receptions with 37-827 and eight TDs, and is en route to a school record for career average per catch (22.35). Senior split end Matt Davison made three catches for 34 yards and became the third Husker all time to lead the Huskers in receptions for three consecutive years (first since Johnny Rodgers in 1970-71-72), as he now has 21-389-3 this season and finishes his career as NU?s second all-time receiver behind Johnny Rodgers, with 93-1,456-6. He has caught at least one pass in 36 of the last 40 games. Wingback Bobby Newcombe has caught at least one pass in 18 of the last 19 games and has 19 catches for 248 yards this season and 45 catches for 660 yards in his career. He had both catches (13 yards, 17 yards for a first down) on NU?s game-winning drive which brought Nebraska to the CU 12 yard line, setting up Josh Brown?s game-winning 29 yard field goal. Wingback John Gibson had a career best three catches for a career-best 20 yards receiving. Two of Gibson?s catches were back-to-back on NU?s last game-winning drive.
* Place-kicker Josh Brown...made two of three field goals today, missing his first attempt from 32 yards with 3:50 remaining in the second quarter, and making a 20-yarder with 9:22 in the fourth quarter, and the game winner with no time remaining of 29 yards. On the season, Brown is 5-10 on field goals, and is 19-30 in his career. He finished the season perfect on PAT attempts (tying the school record set five other times by four other kickers, most recently Kris Brown in 1997) and is 60-of-60 on PATs this season (school season record is 62-of-62 by Kris Brown in 1997) to extend his streak to 99 consecutive PATs (school consecutivity record is 125 by Kris Brown, 1996-98). Josh has not missed a PAT since his first attempt against Southern Mississippi on Sept. 18, 1999 (game three of the season). Brown finished the season second in scoring with 75 points and ranks 23rd all time at NU with 163 points.
Team Season Highs and Lows...Nebraska Highs...None; Nebraska Lows...0 interceptions thrown (ties, four times total); Opponent Highs...Points (previous 31, Oklahoma); first downs 28 (22, Missouri), 43 rushing attempts (ties 43 by KSU), 84 total plays (79 by KSU), 34:20 possession time (33:29 KSU); two turnovers (ties two by seven other teams); Individual Opponent Highs vs. Nebraska...rushing yards...Cortlen Johnson had a season-high 155 yards on a season-high 26 carries, his 155 yards rushing is the ninth best individual rushing total against Nebraska all time; 25 pass completions by Craig Ochs (22 by Sage Rosenfels, of 43 attempts, Iowa State).