Huskers Open With 42-7 Victory Over Iowa
Leading just 7-0 after a mistake-laden first half, Nebraska gradually asserted control behind Newcombe and No. 2 quarterback Eric Crouch to spoil the debut of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
Crouch, who lost a highly publicized battle with Newcombe for the starting job, ran for three touchdowns.
Newcombe threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Sean Applegate to get the Cornhuskers going early in the third quarter, then had scoring runs of 1 and 5 yards to stretch the lead to 28-0.
Crouch sprinted 28 yards for Nebraska's first touchdown and scored on fourth-quarter runs of 6 and 21 yards as Iowa wore down in the heat. It was 85 degrees at kickoff and 92 by the fourth quarter.
Ferentz, a former Iowa and NFL assistant, replaced Hayden Fry, who retired last November after 20 years as Iowa's coach. His first team showed plenty of early zip on defense but none on offense.
Iowa's deepest penetration was to the Nebraska 33 early in the fourth quarter, a drive that ended when Julius Jackson intercepted Kyle McCann's pass, and the Hawkeyes had just 169 total yards.
Iowa averted a shutout only when Doug Miller blocked Dan Hadenfeldt's punt and Tim Dodge, a sprinter on the track team, scooped up the ball and went 10 yards for a touchdown with 2:30 left.
Newcombe was limited to six games last season by a knee injury and didn't play after Oct. 21. He wasn't sharp early, losing two fumbles and throwing an interception, but eventually settled in, completing 7-of-10 passes for 128 yards.
Crouch was sharp when he got his chances. He ran right through defensive back Mikkel Brown on his last touchdown and finished with 92 yards in five carries. Nebraska had 543 yards, 347 on the ground.
Iowa frustrated Nebraska early with inspired defense, and the Cornhuskers were hurt by Newcombe's turnovers.
The Hawkeyes stopped Nebraska on downs at their 36 and 22, Matt Stockdale foiled another drive by intercepting Newcombe's pass and Newcombe lost two fumbles, bobbling a snap at the Iowa 15 and making a bad pitch at the Iowa 10.
Iowa's offense couldn't capitalize. With a line that had two starters playing their first college game and another making his first start, the Hawkeyes went three-and-out on their first five possessions. They didn't get a first down until just 3:36 remained in the opening half.
Nebraska's lone touchdown in the opening half came on the first series that Crouch ran. Starting on the Iowa 47, Nebraska drove to the 28 in three plays before Crouch kept the ball on an option to the right, split two defenders as he turned upfield and went the rest of the way untouched.
It was much different in the second half. On Nebraska's third play of the half, Newcombe hit the wide-open Applegate at the Iowa 29 and Applegate had a clear path to the end zone.
Moments later, Nebraska's Kyle Vanden Bosch recovered Ladell Betts' fumble at the Iowa 29. DeAngelo Evans then went 22 yards on a fake reverse, Newcombe scored from the 1 two plays later and the Cornhuskers were off and running.
Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. Iowa, Sept. 4, 1999
The Huskers held Iowa scoreless for three quarters. NU scored one TD in the first half despite two turnovers, then scored on both of its first two second-half possessions to take a 21-0 third-quarter lead. Iowa scored on a blocked punt in the last three minutes for a final 42-7 Nebraska victory. The fifth (AP) and sixth (coaches) ranked Huskers moved to 1-0 on the season and will host California next week in Lincoln in a 2:30 p.m. (ABC regional) kick. Nebraska won its season opener for the 14th consecutive year, is 10-4 under second-year Coach Frank Solich and improved to 25-13-3 in the series over Iowa.
* Bobby Newcombe started at quarterback for first time since the Missouri game in 1998 (Oct. 24). Newcombe rushed 15 times for 35 yards, including two TDs--on a 1-yard quarterback sneak; and a 5-yard TD run; and completed 7 passes on 10 attempts for 128 yards. He had one interception and a 47-yard TD pass to Sean Applegate to put NU up 14-0 to open third quarter action.
* Quarterback Eric Crouch saw action in both halves. He led Nebraska to its first score with 7:54 remaining in the second quarter. I-back Dan Alexander had two carries for 17 yards on the four-play drive, while Crouch had a 2-yard carry, then a fake pitch to Alexander and a 28-yard run to put NU up 7-0, the halftime score. In the game, Crouch carried five times for 92 yards, including three TD runs--a 28-yard run; 6-yard TD run to give NU a 35-0 edge; and a 21-yard TD run to put NU up 42-0 with 5:14 remaining. Crouch was also in on two plays as a wideout, the second gained Evans 22 yards on a fake reverse. Crouch was the ABC/Chevrolet player of the game ($1,000 to school?s general scholarship fund). Crouch completed 3 of 5 passes for 68 yards.
* In his first start since the Texas A&M game in 1998 (Oct. 10), I-back DeAngelo Evans surpassed the 1,000 yard mark in his career, becoming the 48th Husker to do so. He now has 1,063 yards in his career. Evans gained 22 yards on a fake reverse to get NU to the 1-yard line on NU?s second drive of the third quarter. He had 13-69 in the game.
* Split end Matt Davison extended his streak of games in which he has caught at least one pass to 18. He had four catches for 69 yards.
* I-back Dan Alexander showed he has successfully recovered from ACL knee surgery last November. He rushed 15 times for 95 yards today. On Nebraska?s first score with 7:54 remaining, Alexander carried for 12 yards and five yards, then blocked for Crouch as he carried for two yards and scored on a 28-yard run.
* In the first punts of his career, senior walk-on Dan Hadenfeldt (Des Moines, Iowa native) punted 33 yards to the Iowa 3 (downed by Randy Stella); 54 yards to Iowa 4 (tackle by DeJuan Groce); 45 yards (1 yard return to the 20); but was blocked on his last attempt (by Doug Miller, Tim Dodge returned for Iowa?s only TD). All three of Hadenfeldt?s kickoffs were touchbacks into the end zone. Redshirt freshman Josh Brown saw action for the first time, kicking all three PATs. Junior Chace Long also saw action kicking off for NU in the second half.
* True Frosh Who Played...Three true freshmen saw action vs. Iowa including snapper John Garrison, Taylor Gehman (FS) on the punt team, and left guard Toniu Fonoti.
* Other Firsts...Split end Sean Applegate put the Huskers up 14-0 as he recorded his second career reception and first TD on a 47-yard TD reception from Bobby Newcombe. It was his first reception since Aug. 30, 1997 and the longest of his career (previous was 9 yards vs. Akron). Tight end T.J. DeBates caught a career-long 18-yard reception. TE Tracey Wistrom had two catches for 32 yards.
* On Defense...Preseason All-American corner Ralph Brown extended his career-leading PBU total to 36; Sacks were recorded by DT Loran Kaiser (1-5); NT Steve Warren (1-9); and LB Carlos Polk (1-8); Iowa native RE Kyle Vanden Bosch (Larchwood) recovered a fumble, had one hurry and a tackle for loss; RE Aaron Wills caused a fumble and had a tackle for loss; LB Julius Jackson caused a fumble (which Vanden Bosch recovered) that led to Newcombe?s 1-yard TD run in the third. Early in the fourth quarter DT Jeremy Slechta broke up a pass at the line which LB Julius Jackson intercepted (second career interception). NT Jason Lohr had three hurries and a tackle for loss; RE Chris Kelsay had two.