Huskers Move to 5-0 With 38-14 Win over Oklahoma State
Lincoln (AP) -- Nebraska didn't like it that Oklahoma State had a better defensive ranking, and it certainly showed.
Nebraska's defense made its statement early, setting up three first-quarter touchdowns in the No. 5 Cornhuskers' 38-14 win Saturday. The Huskers allowed just 45 yards - all rushing - in the first half and shut the Cowboys out for nearly three quarters.
''We had to prove to them that our defense was No. 1 - not their defense. I think we proved our point,'' said linebacker Julius Jackson, who had one of two Nebraska sacks. ''I don't think it's any different from any other week. We come in with a good game plan, we execute and we shut them out.''
The Cornhuskers were more concerned after the game with a few big plays in the second half that balanced out the statistics.
''In the first half we were awsome. In the second half we (weren't),'' rover Mike Brown said. ''I know this defense is better than that. I'm pretty disappointed the way we played in the second half.''
Still, the Cornhuskers (5-0 overall, 2-0 Big 12) were never threatened as they extended their unbeaten streak over Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1) to 36 games. Eric Crouch threw for a touchdown and ran for another and Correll Buckhalter ran for a pair of TDs for the Cornhuskers, who led 31-0 at halftime.
Crouch, who was 7-for-13 for 145 yards, also gained 61 yards on 11 carries to lead the Huskers, who haven't lost to Oklahoma State since 1961. Nebraska gained 378 yards, 240 rushing, against a defense that had allowed an average of only 182.3 total yards coming into the game. Oklahoma State entered the game ranked third nationally in total defense, followed by the Huskers at No. 4 (195.3).
''I thought we mixed it up pretty well in the first half. I think that's the kind of offense we need to have,'' Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. ''It might not be a deal where we get 300 yards rushing every game. If you're able to make big plays, that's really a key.''
Tracey Wistrom had 116 yards on four receptions, including a 16-yard touchdown pass from Crouch, and Dan Alexander scored on a 6-yard run. Josh Brown had a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter that put Nebraska up 24-0.
B.J. Tiger was 3-for-11 for 40 yards with a touchdown for Oklahoma State and Jamaal Fobbs added a 4-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter against Nebraska's reserves. It was the fifth touchdown allowed by Nebraska's defense this season. Fobbs led Oklahoma State with 67 rushing yards.
The game was about the opposite of a year ago, when Oklahoma State couldn't score from the 1-yard line on the final play and the Cornhuskers held on for a 24-17 win. Nebraska nearly put Saturday's game away in the first quarter with three touchdowns, all set up by the Huskers' defense.
A fumbled handoff, a bad punt and a blocked punt within a 10-minute span gave the Huskers a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
''I've always said that when you play a team like Nebraska that does not beat themselves, you cannot make mistakes and hope to beat them,'' said Oklahoma State coach Bob Simmons, who fell to 0-3 against the Huskers.
Nebraska got the ball on its own 47 when Oklahoma State tailback Nathan Simmons, the coach's son, fumbled a handoff on the Cowboys' first play from scrimmmage. It took the Huskers nine plays to drive 51 yards, scoring on Crouch's 4-yard run on an option.
''When I say mistakes I mean simple things - as a quarterback handing off to the tailback and getting it snuggly in the pocket,'' Bob Simmons said.
On the next series, the Cornhuskers got the ball back on their 49 when Scott Elder's punt bounced backward. Crouch's 47-yard pass to Wistrom on the first play set up Correll Buckhalter's 2-yard run on the next.
Oklahoma State tried to punt again on the next series, but the kick was blocked by Brian Shaw and recovered at the Cowboys 8. Buckhalter scored on the next play.
The Cowboys didn't complete a pass and had just 45 rushing yards as the Cornhuskers took a 31-0 halftime lead.
The Cowboys scored with six minutes to play on Tiger's 6-yard pass to Marce
Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. Oklahoma State, Oct. 2, 1999
* Nebraska scored quickly and often and posted a 38-14 win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Lincoln. Nebraska, ranked sixth by the AP and fifth by the coaches, improves to 5-0 on the season, 2-0 in the Big 12, while the Cowboys drop to 2-2, 0-1 in the league. The Huskers jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and led 31-0 at halftime. At intermission, OSU had yet to complete a pass and had just 45 rushing/total offense yards. QB Eric Crouch led the Huskers with 145 yards passing (116 to TE Tracey Wistrom) and also led NU in rushing with 61 yards. The win was Nebraska?s fifth straight, 24th straight win over OSU, fourth straight at home and extended Nebraska?s unbeaten streak with the Cowboys to 36 years.
* Brian Shaw Day...It was Brian Shaw Day in Lincoln, and the senior former walk-on was the recipient of a $10,000 Burger King Scholar-Athlete Award in pregame ceremonies (goes to UNL?s general scholarship fund). In today?s game, Shaw blocked a punt on OSU?s fourth drive of the game and was credited with a 22-yard return. Although OSU punter Scott Elder recovered the ball, NU began its fourth possession on the OSU 8-yard line. I-back Correll Buckhalter scored two plays later on an 8-yard run to give the Huskers a 21-0 lead. Shaw had four tackles in the game including one for a 1-yard loss. Thanks in part to Shaw, NU had an average field position of its own 46 in the first half and its own 34 for the game (OSU?s average field position was its own 29).
* Tight End Tracey Wistrom recorded his second 100-yard receiving game of his career and season. He finished the game as NU?s leading receiver with four catches for 116 yards. Wistrom opened the game with a 17-yard reception from QB Eric Crouch. He caught a 47-yard pass from Crouch on the first play of NU?s third drive. Correll Buckhalter scored on the next play on a 2-yard run. Wistrom scored Nebraska?s fourth TD of the game on a 16-yard reception from Crouch to put the Huskers up 31-0 with 1:10 remaining in the second quarter. That was his second TD this season. In the third quarter, he caught a 36-yarder to put him over the 100-yard mark (4-116-1). NU scored three plays later on a 6-yard Dan Alexander run. His previous career best was 102 yards (on two catches) vs. California. His previous best in receptions was three against Arizona in the Holiday Bowl.
* Other Firsts/Lasts/Bests...Split end Matt Davison?s streak of games in which he has caught at least one pass ends at 20 games. Willie Miller rushed six times for 47 yards, a season best in yards, and one off his career best of 48 yards (vs. Washington, 1998). He had a career-long run of 19 yards. Wingback Sean Applegate caught a career-best two passes (for 25 yards). Place-kicker Josh Brown was 1-2 on field goals hitting on a 36 yarder but missing a 39 yarder, his first miss in four tries this season.
* Quarterback Eric Crouch was Nebraska?s leading rusher in the game. Crouch rushed 11 times for 61 yards and one TD, and completed 7-13 passes for 145 yards and one TD. Crouch scored Nebraska?s first TD on a 4-yard run. Crouch has scored a rushing TD in four of five games this season and at least one passing TD in three of five games. Crouch passed for a 16-yard TD to Wistrom. Crouch?s 145 passing yards mark the third time this year and seventh of his career that he has passed for 100 yards or more. Crouch was named the Fox Sports Net player of the game.
* Scoring...Nebraska scored 35 or more points for the fourth time this year. NU has won 217 consecutive games when scoring at least 35 or more points improving to 281-1 all-time. OSU scored on a 6-yard pass from B.J. Tiger to Marcellus Rivers with 6:08 remaining in the third. With 1:56 remaining in the game, against NU?s second-team defense, OSU?s Fobbs scored the first rushing TD against the Huskers this season, breaking a streak of 19 quarters where the Huskers had not allowed a rushing TD. Fobbs had 17 carries for 67 yards. The most against the Huskers in a game this year is 73 by Ladell Betts of Iowa. OSU scored a season-best 14 points against the Huskers, bettering the 13 scored by Southern Mississippi. NU was 6-6 against OSU inside the red zone and improves to 19-23 on the season.
* Husker Defense...Nebraska Blackshirts have had at least two sacks in every game this season. Against Oklahoma State, the Huskers had two for 13 yards lost. Loran Kaiser and Chris Kelsay split a 7-yard sack; Julius Jackson had 1-6 . OSU converted just 5-17 third-down conversions and opponents are now 20-80 this season. Nebraska preseason All-American and Thorpe Award nominee CB Ralph Brown led NU tacklers with nine stops (five solo) including a 7-yard tackle for loss.
* Oklahoma State is the first team this year to rush for more than 100 yards against the Huskers, breaking a streak of four games. The Cowboys had 48 carries for 188 yards and one TD, bettering the 57 by Iowa in the season-opener. OSU was held to 45 total yards at halftime--all by rush. The Cowboys completed just 7 passes in the game on 21 attempts for 85 yards and one TD. The Cowboys? first completion came at the 8:53 mark in the third quarter. OSU totaled 273 yards on 69 offensive plays, only the second team in five games to total more than 200 yards vs. the Huskers (Southern Miss had 293 on 79 attempts). NU opponents average just 67.0 yards rushing, 143.8 passing, 210.8 total and 8.8 points per game. The Huskers, meanwhile, average 230.6 rushing, 147.4 passing, 378.0 total and 37.0 points. It was the fourth time in five games this season that NU has had at least 300 total-offense yards in the game.
* NU Rushing...The Huskers totaled 240 yards on the ground vs. OSU led by QB Eric Crouch?s 11-61. I-back Correll Buckhalter had 11 carries for 55 yards and two TDs, FB Willie Miller had six for 47 yards, WB Bobby Newcombe had 4-35 and I-back Dan Alexander had 11-24 with one 6-yard TD, giving the Huskers four carriers with 35 or more yards in the game.
* Long Plays...161 of OSU?s total 273 total yards came on long plays of 25-yards or more. Jamaal Fobbs had a rush for 30 yards, a kickoff return for 31 yards, and a catch from B.J. Tiger for a 26-yard gain. Terrance Richardson had the longest rush against the Blackshirts this season with a 35-yard gain and a 39 yard punt return (season long). The previous long rush was 18 yards by Missouri?s DeVaughn Black.