Huskers Survive Jayhawks' Upset Bid, 24-17
Lawrence, Kansas (Ticker) -- No. 9 Nebraska needed more time than expected to recover from last week's upset loss to Texas.
Former quarterback Bobby Newcombe came through with 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns as Nebraska scored all its points in the second half and defeated Kansas for the 31st consecutive time, 24-17, in the Big 12 Conference contest Saturday evening. .
Eric Crouch completed 11-of-20 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown for Nebraska (7-1, 4-1 Big 12 North), which improved to 82-31-2 all-time against Kansas in what is the longest continuously played series in Division I-A at 93 years.
"It was an exciting game," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. "Both teams played extremely hard. Kansas was very well prepared and they really played aggressive football in the first half. I was uneasy coming into this game. We had to play a Kansas team that played very hard and was playing some of their best football football so I am very pleased."
Newcombe had an 86-yard punt return touchdown to give the Cornhuskers a 10-9 edge with 2:14 to go in the third quarter. He turned a short reception on fourth down into a 49-yard touchdown to snap a 17-17 tie with 3:24 left in the fourth.
"He had an outstanding individual performance this evening," Solich said about Newcombe. "It was a big, big game for him."
"We were a little down going into the locker room at halftime," Newcombe said. "We stuck to our game plan and made the big plays."
Correll Buckhalter ran for 116 yards on 22 carries for Nebraska, which is one game behind Kansas State for the lead in the North Divison. The Huskers host Texas A&M next Saturday before Kansas State comes to Lincoln on November 13.
Dylan Smith was 16-of-30 for 217 yards and two TDs for Kansas (3-6, 1-4), which has lost three of its last four. The Jayhawks were blanked in their last two meetings with the Cornhuskers, but took a 2-0 lead when freshman Matt Jordan blocked a punt in the end zone and Nebraska fell on it.
"We gave a great effort tonight," said Kansas coach Terry Allen. "We came to play and to win. The punt returns cost us the game in the second half. Other than that we did a good job."
Smith hooked up with tight end David Hurst for a 22-yard TD, giving the Jayhawks a 9-0 lead 5:48 into the second quarter.
Josh Brown kicked a 31-yard field goal for Nebraska's first points 4:37 into the second half.
Crouch had an eight-yard TD run 2:51 into the fourth to give Nebraska a 17-9 advantage. On the first play after the kickoff, Smith threw a 77-yard pass to Mike Chandler up the right sideline. Smith then found Chandler for the two-point conversion to tie the game, 17-17.
Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. Kansas (Oct. 30, 1999)
* The No. T8/9/7 (AP/Coaches/BCS) Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence 24-17. The Jayhawks held NU scoreless in the first half for the first time since 1996. The win marked NU?s 31st consecutive over the Jayhawks, the 16th straight in Lawrence. It also assures the 7-1 (4-1 in Big 12) Cornhuskers of their 38th consecutive winning season. That streak leads the nation and ranks in a tie with Alabama for third best all time (38 from 1911 to 1950).
* Split end Matt Davison led all receivers with six catches for 108 yards. He now has 67 career catches for 1,014 yards in his career, moving up from a tie for eighth in receptions to a tie for fifth, and ranks 10th in receiving yards. Davison had four catches for 36 yards in the first half to lead all receivers. Davison leads the team with 24 receptions for 388 yards this season. Davison and Crouch connected on the first play of the second quarter for a career-best 63-yard reception. That reception put him over 1,000 yards in his career (1,005). Davison is the 10th Husker to total 1,000 yards in his career and just the second to do so in his junior season, joining the ranks of Heisman trophy winner Johnny Rodgers who totaled 1,537 yards at the end of his junior season. Rodgers added 942 yards as a senior to finish with a school-record 2,479 career reception yards. This marked the second time in Davison?s career he had 100 yards or more receiving. The other was a school-record 167 yards on 10 catches in a 28-21 loss at Texas A&M in 1998.
* Punt Returns key...Bobby Newcombe had a 29-yard punt return in the second quarter and tied the game at 9-all with a career-long 86-yard punt return with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter. The ensuing kick gave the Huskers their first lead at 10-9. Newcombe?s previous career best was a 57-yard return (no TD) vs. Oklahoma in 1997. It is his second career punt return TD. His first was a 53-yard TD return vs. Iowa State in 1997. He did not return any punts in 1998. It marks the first punt return TD for the Huskers since Joe Walker?s 73-yard return vs. Oklahoma State last season and the first against Kansas since KSU?s Davis Allen had one in 1997. Walker, meanwhile, had a season-best 28-yard punt return to start NU?s third drive of the second quarter. The three returns are the first, second and third longest by a Husker this season and the third of 25 yards or more. Walker also had a punt return of 21 yards in the game. (Newcombe also had a 26-yard punt return vs. Iowa State earlier this season). On the day, NU had eight punt returns for 199 yards (compared to KU?s 4-16). Walker had 6-84 and Newcombe had 2-115. Newcombe also had a big day receiving scoring the go-ahead touchdown for the Huskers on a 49-yard TD reception from Eric Crouch with 3:24 remaining in the game to put the Huskers up 24-17 after Brown?s extra point. On the day, Newcombe had four catches for 89 yards. The four catches, 89 yards, and 49-yard TD reception are all career bests, bettering the three catches for 88 yards and the 40-yard TD reception vs. Oklahoma in 1997.
* Quarterback Eric Crouch scored the Huskers? first offensive touchdown on an 8-yard run with 12:09 remaining in the game to give the Huskers a 16-9 lead. It marked the fifth straight game Crouch has scored a rushing touchdown. Crouch had his second consecutive 100-yard passing day and fifth this season completing 11-20 passes for 193 yards and one TD. He did not have any interceptions thrown and rushed 13 times for 14 yards.
* I-back Corell Buckhalter, in his first start this season, rushed for more than 100 yards. Buckhalter was Nebraska?s leading rusher with a season-high 22 carries for 116 yards. Buckhalter also totaled more than 100 yards against Missouri (132) and Iowa State this season (127) to give him six in his career.
* For the sixth time this season, the Husker defense had at least three sacks in the game. Tonight, NU had five sacks, which ties the season high. Husker sacks were recorded by LB Tony Ortiz (1-15), DT Steve Warren and LB Eric Johnson (split 1-10), Johnson (1-4, 1.5 - 9 total), LB Carlos Polk (1-10), RE Kyle Vanden Bosch, Warren and RE Aaron Wills combined for an 11-yard sack in the fourth quarter.
* When Kansas took the lead 2-0 on a safety with 5:02 remaining in the first quarter, it marked the third game NU has trailed in this season (also Southern Miss and Texas). Kansas scored its first points against Nebraska since Oct. 26, 1996 (a 63-7 NU win). Kansas went up 9-0 in the second quarter and took that lead into the locker room at halftime. The 9-point lead was the largest against the Huskers this season. It is the first time NU has given up a safety since a 19-0 shutout to Arizona State on Sept. 21, 1996. That game also marked the last time NU was held scoreless in the first half.
* KU?s 64 yards rushing the first half are the most this season against the Huskers (previous best was 51 in first half by Iowa State). Kansas is just the third team this season to rush for more than 100 yards against the Huskers joining Oklahoma State (188) and Iowa State (146), with 116 tonight. Kansas? 77-yard TD pass from Dylen Smith to Michael Chandler was the longest pass or play against the Huskers this season and after a successful two-point conversion, tied the score at 17-all with 11:44 remaining in the game.
* Turnovers....Both teams had one turnover tonight and neither was converted to a score. KU 1 -- All-America candidate Mike Brown recorded his second interception of the season and sixth of his career when he picked off Henri Childs in the first quarter. But Nebraska did not convert the turnover into a score, going three and out. Unofficially, Keyuo Craver led the team with 10 tackles while Brown had seven. NU 1 -- After the Huskers opened the second half with a 63-yard pass from Eric Crouch to Matt Davison, fullback Dan Alexander fumbled two plays later at the 1-yard line, marking the third time in the last two games that NU gave the opponent the ball inside the 20. However, the Husker defense stuffed the Jayhawks three straight plays then rover Gregg List blocked Joey Pelfanio?s punt from the end zone and NU took over at the KU 23 yard line. List?s blocked punt was the fifth for the Huskers this season.
* When place-kicker Josh Brown missed a 41-yard field goal with one minute remaining in the first half, it marked his first miss in three tries. He came back to hit on a 31-yard field goal with 10:23 remaining in the third quarter to put the Huskers on the board for the first time. The field goal followed Gregg List?s blocked punt which gave NU the ball on the KU 23. Brown was 1-3 on the day and is now 6 of 10 on the season on field goals. With the score tied at 17-all, Brown missed a 43-yard field goal with 9:73 remaining in the game.