Huskers Hope to Bounce Back with Baylor

By NU Athletic Communications
Junior strong safety Daniel Bullocks hopes to help the Huskers rebound against Baylor on Saturday.
Junior strong safety Daniel Bullocks hopes to help the Huskers rebound against Baylor on Saturday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Lincoln - Nebraska returns to Memorial Stadium this Saturday afternoon to take on the Baylor Bears in a Big 12 Conference matchup.  Kickoff in front of the 266th consecutive sellout in Lincoln is set for 1:05 p.m., with no television planned for the Big 12 interdivisional matchup.

The Huskers enter the Baylor game with a 3-2 overall record and a 1-1 mark in Big 12 Conference action.  Nebraska is coming off a 70-10 loss at Texas Tech last Saturday night in Lubbock, marking the most-lopsided loss in school history and the most points Nebraska has allowed.  The Huskers trailed 21-10 early in the third quarter, but six second-half turnovers contributed to Tech's offensive explosion and the final outcome.  Despite the loss, Nebraska finds itself in second place in the jumbled Big 12 North, one game behind division leader Missouri.

Baylor enters Lincoln with a 2-3 overall mark and an 0-2 record in conference action.  The Bears travel to Lincoln after a 30-10 loss against Missouri on Saturday night in Waco.  Baylor had opened conference action the previous week with a loss on the road at No. 9 Texas.  The Bears posted a 2-1 non-conference record, including victories against Texas State and North Texas and a road loss at UAB.

Nebraska and Baylor have not met since the 2001 season.  The Huskers own a 7-1 edge in the all-time series, including a 5-1 mark against Baylor in Lincoln and a 4-0 record since the formation of the Big 12 Conference.

Scouting the Baylor Bears
When the Baylor Bears come to Lincoln for the first time since 2000 this Saturday, they will be looking for their first league win of the year. Baylor brings in a 2-3 overall record and an 0-2 conference mark after falling to Texas (44-14) and Missouri (30-10).

The Bears are still looking to get untracked on offense, as they are averaging just 281.8 total offense yards per game. Among that total is a rushing offense that is producing only 92.0 yards per game to rank 11th in the league and 110th nationally. That total will be hard to improve against the Huskers, who enter the game with the top-ranked rushing defense in the nation (60.2 ypg).

Baylor has gained 189.8 passing yards per game behind quarterback Dane King. King has connected on 53.7 percent of his pass attempts while tossing six touchdowns. Dominique Zeigler has been his favorite target, as Zeigler has caught 22 passes for 199 yards this season. Marques Roberts has been the beneficiary of four of King’s touchdown passes while totaling 14 receptions on the year.

Maurice Lane leads the Baylor defense with 42 tackles including 31 solo stops, while linebacker Justin Crooks has added 38 tackles and a team-high four pass breakups. Baylor is allowing 210.2 rushing yards per game and 373.8 total offense yards.

On special teams, Daniel Sepulveda is ranked second nationally in punting with a 48.0 average. He has pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 12 times in 29 punts. Baylor has allowed only 7.8 yards per punt return and ranks eighth in net punting (41.1 ypp).

Baylor Coach Guy Morriss
Coach Guy Morriss is in his second season guiding the Bears and owns a 5-12 record. Overall, he is in his fourth year as a head coach, as he also guided Kentucky for two seasons, including a 7-5 campaign in 2002.

Morriss has an extensive coaching background, starting in the NFL with the New England Patriots. He played with the Patriots from 1984 to 1987 and then joined the staff as an offensive line coach for the 1988 and 1989 seasons. From there, Morriss has moved on to work in the college ranks at Valdosta State, Mississippi State and Kentucky as an assistant coach, as well as serving another stint in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.

Morriss spent 11 years as a player with the Philadelphia Eagles (1973 to 1983) and earned All-Pro status in 1981, the same season he helped Philadelphia to the Super Bowl.

Nebraska-Baylor Series...NU leads, 7-1
The Huskers and Bears will be meeting for only the ninth time in the series, and the first time in three years. The contest will be the fifth between the schools since the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

The last time the teams met, Nebraska earned a 48-7 road victory on its way to a 11-1 regular season and spot in the national championship game in the 2002 Rose Bowl. The Huskers tied an NCAA record with four 100-yard rushers, as Eric Crouch, Dahrran Diedrick, Judd Davies and Thunder Collins each topped the century mark. Crouch scored three rushing touchdowns and Davies added a pair of scores on the ground.

Despite turning the ball over five times, the Huskers cruised to the victory as NU allowed Baylor just 187 total offense yards, including only 29 rushing yards on 33 carries. Baylor recorded just 14 first downs in the contest, which was delayed by lightning for 36 minutes in the second quarter.

Nebraska has won the past six meetings overall, including the last four in Lincoln. Baylor has not scored against the Huskers in Memorial Stadium in the past three meetings since 1977. NU has outscored the Bears 121-0 during that stretch.

Huskers Run Into Offensive Explosion at Texas Tech
Nebraska fell behind 21-3 at halftime and was unable to overcome a high-flying Texas Tech offense in the second half in a 70-10 loss to the Red Raiders on Saturday evening.  The Huskers were victimized by Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie, who completed 44-of-56 passes for 436 yards and five touchdowns.  The 70 points scored by Texas Tech were the most ever scored against Nebraska, and the 60-point loss was the most lopsided in school history.

Cumbie fired the Red Raiders to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.  He completed 15 of his first 18 pass attempts for 163 yards to put the Huskers in a hole.  The Blackshirts gave the Huskers life when junior strong safety Daniel Bullocks intercepted his third pass of the season and returned it 38 yards to Tech's 27-yard line.  Sophomore place-kicker David Dyches got the Huskers on the board with his career-long 46-yard field goal to trim the Red Raider lead to 14-3 with 4:53 left in the first half.  Texas Tech then struck quickly with a two-play, 85-yard drive that took just 50 seconds.  The big blow was delivered when Cumbie connected with wide receiver Jarrett Hicks for an 80-yard touchdown strike, the longest reception by an opposing receiver in six seasons.  The pass gave the Red Raiders a 21-3 halftime edge.

Nebraska came out gunning in the second half as Joe Dailey hit Mark LeFlore for a 74-yard touchdown strike on the Huskers' third play from scrimmage to cut the Texas Tech lead to 21-10 with just over 14 minutes left in the third quarter.  That catch was LeFlore's fifth of the night and gave him 110 yards, his first 100-yard career receiving game.

The Blackshirts stopped Texas Tech on its next drive to give the Husker offense a chance to cut into the Red Raider lead.  However, Nebraska's offense was unable to capitalize, and the Red Raiders went back on the attack to score touchdowns on their next six drives to put the game out of reach.

For the game, the Huskers produced 292 yards of total offense, including 199 passing yards and 93 yards rushing. Dailey completed 14-of-34 passes for 187 yards with one touchdown and one interception, before true freshman quarterback Beau Davis made the first appearance of his career late in the third quarter.  Defensively, Nebraska senior linebacker Barrett Ruud reached a milestone with 12 tackles on the night to break the previous school record of 342 career tackles held by Jerry Murtaugh (1968-69-70).  Ruud finished the night with 347 career tackles.


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