Ganz Powers Huskers Past Wildcats, 73-31
Lincoln - Joe Ganz produced one of the best individual offensive performances in school history to lead a high-powered Nebraska offense to more than 700 total yards in a 73-31 victory over visiting Kansas State in the Big Red's regular-season home finale on Saturday afternoon.
Playing in front of a Senior Day crowd of 84,665 fans in the NCAA-record 289th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, Ganz shattered both Nebraska's single-game total offense (528 yards) and single-game passing records (510 yards), while adding a school record for the most touchdown passes thrown in a game with seven. And Ganz did it little more than three quarters.
The junior quarterback from Palos Heights, Ill., completed 30-of-40 passes and did not throw an interception in his second career start. Along with his 510 yards passing and seven scores through the air, Ganz added 18 yards on six carries on the ground.
Ganz, who completed 11-of-14 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone to shoot the Huskers to a 38-10 halftime lead, went 19-for-26 with 283 yards and four scores in the first 20 minutes of the second half, before giving way to reserve quarterback Beau Davis with 9:57 left in the game.
Nebraska amassed 702 yards of total offense on the day, the first time since 1995 (vs. Iowa State) that the Huskers crossed the 700-yard plateau. NU also produced its first 70-point scoring total since hanging 77 on Iowa State in 1997.
Although Ganz departed, Nebraska continued to roll scoring on its 11th consecutive possession on Marlon Lucky's second touchdown run of the day with just over four minutes left in the game. Lucky finished the day with 16 carries for 103 yards, while adding six receptions for 78 yards, including the 100th reception of his career.
Wide receiver Maurice Purify enjoyed the biggest day among the Husker seniors with six receptions for 108 yards, while a trio of fellow senior wide receivers also enjoyed big days. Frantz Hardy tied a school record with three touchdown receptions for a total of 83 yards, while Terrence Nunn added five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Senior walk-on Dan Erickson added a career-high three catches for 25 yards.
Overall, nine different NU receivers hauled in receptions on the day, including junior Todd Peterson, a former walk-on from Grand Island, who pulled in four catches for 85 yards with two scores. Junior Nate Swift joined Lucky on a select Husker receiving list with his 100th career reception. In fact, Lucky and Swift each nabbed their 100th catches on back-to-back plays in the third quarter. Swift finished the day with two catches for 38 yards.
The Huskers, who snapped a five-game losing streak to improve to 5-6 overall and 2-5 in Big 12 play, fell behind 7-0 on KSU's second drive of the game, before senior cornerback Cortney Grixby ignited the Husker faithful with a scintillating 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to tie the score midway through the opening quarter.
Grixby's return was Nebraska's first for a touchdown in a decade, dating back to Joe Walker's return for a score in the 1998 season opener. It also appeared to inspire the Husker offense and defense on an emotional Senior Day in Lincoln.
After Brooks Rossman hit a 31-yard field with 4:34 left in the first quarter to give KSU a 10-7 lead, the NU Blackshirts slammed the door on the Wildcats for the rest of the half.
Ganz and the Nebraska offense took full advantage by ripping off 45 unanswered points to drop Kansas State to 5-5 on the season and 3-4 in the Big 12. NU's offensive eruption began with Lucky scoring on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Ganz with 32 seconds left in the first quarter to give NU its first lead of the day at 14-10.
Less than two minutes later, Ganz extended NU's lead to 21-10 by hooking up with Hardy on a 36-yard scoring strike with 13:09 left in the half.
Alex Henery pushed the Husker lead to two touchdowns with a 27-yard field goal with 6:39 left, before Lucky struck again with a five-yard scoring run to push NU's lead to 31-10 with 2:05 left in the half.
But the Huskers were just getting started. After the Blackshirts held the Wildcats on fourth down in NU territory, Ganz blistered the KSU secondary with back-to-back connections to Peterson, including a 23-yard touchdown with eight seconds left to put Nebraska up 38-10 at the half.
Nebraska kept rolling after receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, marching 80 yards capped by Ganz's eight-yard touchdown pass to Hardy just three minutes into the half. The duo hooked up for a third time on a 39-yard scoring strike with 6:16 left in the quarter to push NU's lead to 52-10.
At that point, Ganz tied Nebraska's single-game record with his fifth touchdown pass of the day, while Hardy tied a record of his own with his third touchdown catch of the afternoon.
Nebraska closes its 2007 regular season by traveling to Boulder, Colo., for its traditional day-after-Thanksgiving showdown with Colorado. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Central time on Friday, Friday, Nov. 23, with live national television coverage provided by ABC.
Scoring (Nebraska 73, Kansas State 31)
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
First Quarter (Nebraska 14, Kansas State 10)
KSU - Jordy Nelson 21 pass from Josh Freeman 21 pass (Brooks Rossman kick), 8:55
NU - Cortney Grixby 94 kickoff return (Alex Henery kick), 8:42
KSU - Rossman 31 field goal, 4:34
NU - Marlon Lucky 26 pass from Joe Ganz (Henery kick), 0:32
Second Quarter (Nebraska 38, Kansas State 10)
NU - Frantz Hardy 36 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 13:09
NU - Alex Henery 27 field goal, 6:39
NU - Lucky 5 run (Henery kick), 2:05
NU - Todd Peterson 23 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 0:08
Third Quarter (Nebraska 52, Kansas State 17)
NU - Hardy 8 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 12:00
NU - Hardy 39 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 6:16
KSU - Freeman 4 run (Rossman kick), 2:48
Fourth Quarter (Nebraska 73, Kansas State 31)
NU - Terrence Nunn 7 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 14:17
NU - Peterson 11 pass from Ganz (Henery kick), 10:58
KSU - Brett Alstatt 1 pass from Freeman (Rossman kick), 10:02
NU - Lucky 3 run (Henery kick), 4:04
KSU - James Johnson 53 run (Rossman kick), 2:19
Nebraska vs. Kansas State Final Game Statistics Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan Quotes (Audio) Nebraska Player Quotes (Joe Ganz Audio) Nebraska Postgame Notes Kansas State Postgame Notes Nebraska Season Statistics Photo Gallery