Lincoln -- Eric Crouch ran for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, while the Husker defense held Kansas State quarterbacks to just 7 of 31 passing as No. 7/6 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska defeated No. 5 Kansas State, 41-15, in Lincoln Saturday afternoon.
With the win, NU improves to 9-1 on the season, while ending KSU?s streak of 21 straight Big 12 regular-season wins. It was the Wildcats? first conference loss since a 56-26 setback to Nebraska in 1997. The win assures NU of its 31st straight nine-win season and puts the Huskers into a first-place tie with KSU in the Big 12 North Division. Nebraska needs to win at Colorado on Nov. 26 to clinch a share of the North Division title and a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Not even a school record 10 fumbles by the Huskers could help the Wildcats, who were looking for their first back-to-back victories over Nebraska since 1958 and 1959.
The Wildcats, who have not won in Lincoln since 1968, had a break on the Huskers? first possession as I-back Dan Alexander fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and Kansas State?s Lamar Chapman picked up the fumble at the NU 27. The Husker defense stiffened before Kyle Vanden Bosch blocked Jamie Rheem?s 40-yard field goal attempt. The block was Vanden Bosch?s third in the last two games and ended Rheem?s streak of 15 straight field goals.
The Husker special teams made another big play later in the quarter as wingback Bobby Newcombe returned a punt 28 yards to the KSU 44-yard line. Crouch put the Huskers on the scoreboard four plays later, scoring from 30 yards out on a draw to give the Huskers a 7-0 lead nine minutes into the contest.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskers forced a turnover when linebacker Mark Vedral forced a Terence Newman fumble which Ralph Brown recoved at the 27-yard line and returned it to the KSU 1-yard line, but Correll Buckhalter fumbled on the next play, ending the scoring drive.
The Husker defense held, forcing a punt which was blocked by linebacker Randy Stella and sent out of the endzone for a safety. It was the Huskers? fifth blocked punt of the season, and first of the day, giving NU a 9-0 advantage.
The Huskers would extend the lead to 16-0, driving 73 yards on 11 plays, capped by Crouch?s second score of the day as the sophomore from Omaha hit paydirt from 18 yards out. The Huskers used a balanced attack in the drive which took almost four minutes, as Crouch connected with sophomore tight end Tracey Wistrom two times for 40 yards.
The Wildcats took advantage of David Allen?s 44-yard return set up their first score of the day, a 1-yard run by Justin Beasley, to cut the lead to 16-6 as the two-point attempt failed. Beasley set up the score with a 32-yard completion to Quincy Morgan to the NU 4-yard line before the junior quarterback scored three plays later.
Nebraska, which has won six straight games against top-10 teams in Lincoln, extended the margin to 24-6 as the Huskers went 62 yards on 14 plays before fullback Willie Miller scored from 4-yards out. Crouch, who had 124 yards on 18 carries in the first half, set up the score, finding Wistrom for 14 yards on a third-and-11 play as Crouch threw while being hit on the play.
Jamie Rheem cut the lead to 24-9 in the final seconds of the half, hitting on a 35-yard field goal with 25 seconds left in the half to cap a nine-play, 62-yard drive. Beasley, who was 3-of-13 for 100 yards in the first half, connected with Morgan on a 55-yard screen pass to the NU 18-yard line, but could not get into the endzone before settling for the field goal.
Beasley was 0-for-6 in the second half, finishing the game 3-for-19 for 100 yards passing before giving way to Adam Helm in the third quarter.
Nebraska took advantage of K-State?s second fumble as Mike Brown forced an Adam Helm fumble at the KSU 44. Nebraska drove 31 yards on seven plays and pushed the margin to 27-9 on Josh Brown?s 30-yard field goal with 12:34 remaining.
On KSU?s next possession, Mike Brown forced his second turnover of the day, intercepting a Helm pass at the KU 46. NU take advantage quickly as I-back Dahrran Diedrick took a handoff and went 46-yards for the TD, giving NU a 34-9 lead.
Helm scored in a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter before Eric Johnson?s 15-yard fumble return with 3:10 remaining provided the final margin.
Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. Kansas State, Nov. 13, 1999
The No. 7/6/6 (AP/Coaches/BCS) Nebraska Cornhuskers upset the No. 5/5/5 Kansas State Wildcats, 41-15, in Lincoln to take control of the Big 12 North title race. NU improves to 9-1 on the season and 6-1 in the Big 12, while KSU drops to 9-1, and 6-1 in the Big 12. Nebraska needs to win at Colorado to earn the bid to the Big 12 Championship game. With No. 3 Tennessee and No. 6 Penn State losing earlier today, the Huskers are expected to move up in all three polls. The win gives NU nine in a season for the 31st consecutive year, a continuing NCAA record. It is NU?s seventh straight at home, 16th straight over KSU in Lincoln, third win over a ranked team this season, and sixth straight win at home over an AP top 10 team. Nebraska has won 12 of its last 14 games against top 10 AP teams since 1994. Today?s win marks NU?s first over a higher-ranked team since 1994. Nebraska went 6-0 at home this season, marking the 23rd perfect home season all time, seventh in the 90s.
Despite six first-half fumbles (two lost), Nebraska took a 24-9 first-half lead, led by quarterback Eric Crouch?s 124 rushing yards. The Husker defense was awesome and scored a safety on a blocked punt to give NU a 9-0 edge late in the first quarter. In the second half, the Wildcats went three and out on each of their first four drives, then fumbled on their fifth (caused and recovered by All-America candidate Mike Brown). On their sixth drive, Mike Brown intercepted Adam Helm and NU?s Dahrran Diedrick scored one play later on a career-long 46-yard run. The Huskers, meanwhile, scored another 17 points in the second half, including another score by the Husker defense, when Eric Johnson returned a fumble for a TD in the fourth quarter. In the game, NU totaled 309 yards rushing (most this year vs. KSU, previous high was 264 by ISU) and 378 total, to KSU?s 92 rushing and 234 total. KSU ranked in the top 12 in all four defensive categories entering the game. Nebraska had a school-record 10 fumbles (three lost), but KSU had four fumbles, losing all four and a fifth turnover on an interception. Nebraska has scored 30 or more points against Snyder-coached teams in 10 of 11 games.
* All-America Candidate Mike Brown...Brown had yet another standout game for the Husker defense. With six tackles, Brown increased his team-leading season total to 74 on the season and his career total to 265, and remains fifth on the NU career chart. On KSU?s fifth drive of the second half, Brown caused and recovered an Adam Helm fumble, which NU converted seven plays later to a 30-yard Josh Brown field goal. On KSU?s sixth drive of the second half, Brown intercepted Helm to give him five pickoffs on the season and nine in his career to tie for seventh all time. On the next Husker play, Dahrran Diedrick scored on a 46-yard run to give the Huskers a 34-9 lead. Brown has forced a team-best four fumbles this season (two recoveries).
* All-America Candidate Ralph Brown...When Mark Vedral caused Terence Newman to fumble on the kickoff after NU?s first TD, Ralph Brown recovered and returned the fumble 26 yards to the KSU 1-yard line. But NU did not convert as Buckhalter fumbled on the next play. In the game Brown had one tackle.
* Redshirt freshman I-back Dahrran Diedrick (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada)...No. 3 I-back Dahrran Diedrick rushed for a 14 times for 93 yards including a career-best 46-yard TD run. He also caught one pass for nine yards. Diedrick had a career-best 16 carries for 99 yards this season vs. Iowa State earlier this season.
* Quarterback Eric Crouch...rushed a career-high 27 times for a career-best 158 yards (most by a Husker this season, most by a Husker since Ahman Green had 206 in the 1998 Orange Bowl). Crouch hit the 100-yard mark on a 4th and 1 in the second quarter to post his second consecutive 100-yard rushing day (he had a then-career-best 137 vs. Texas A&M last week). For Crouch, it was his second 100-yard rushing game this season (also had 92 vs. Iowa and Missouri) and fourth of his career (108 vs. Texas and 108 vs. Kansas State in 1998). Crouch?s career-high 27 attempts were also a NU school position record (previous best was 25 by John Bordogna vs. Kansas State in 1952, 143 yards). Crouch?s 158 yards rushing were the most against K-State this year who as a team gave up an average of 93.2 in its first nine games (12 nationally, previous high was 152 by ISU?s Darren Davis). Crouch also completed eight of 17 passes for another 69 yards. Crouch passed the 1,000 career rushing yard mark with his second carry of the game, and became the 50th Husker all time to total 1,000 rushing yards and just the seventh quarterback. On the season, Crouch now has 694 yards rushing and in his career he now ranks 42nd all-time with 1,153. Crouch scored two rushing TDs to give him 13 on the season and 18 in his career. Crouch scored on a 30-yard run to give the Huskers their first score with 6:05 remaining in the first quarter, and scored on an 18-yard run with :41 in the first quarter to give NU a 16-0 edge. Crouch has now scored at least one rushing TD in every game, except Southern Miss this season, and in seven straight. Crouch was named Nebraska?s ABC/Chevrolet Player of the Game.
* Blocking Kicks...Junior rush end Kyle Vanden Bosch blocked his third opponent field goal this season, and in the process, ended KSU Jamie Rheem?s streak of 15 field goals made (one off the Big 12 record held by NU?s Kris Brown). After Dan Alexander fumbled on the first play of the game (second straight week NU fumbled first offensive play of game), KSU gained just five yards to the NU 23 and attempted a field goal, which Vanden Bosch blocked. Husker opponents? are 3-10 on season (after Rheem hit a 35-yarder late in the first half. Two of Vanden Bosch?s three blocked field goals (on three consecutive opponent field goal attempts) came after Husker turnovers, preventing the opponent from converting an NU miscue. Linebacker Randy Stella blocked his second punt this season out of the South end zone to give Nebraska their second safety of the season with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter. When cornerback Keyuo Craver partially blocked Ronsick with 9:40 remaining in the third quarter, that gave the Huskers their ninth blocked kick (sixth punts) this season (Craver?s second this season).
* Sacking the quarterback...The Huskers didn?t have any in the first three quarters, then sacked KSU on three straight plays on KSU?s seventh drive of the second half and five in the game. Those sacks were by Jason Lohr (1-1), Jeremy Slechta (1-8), and Carlos Polk (1-8). The five sacks marked the eighth time this season NU has recorded at least three sacks in a game (fifth time with five or more) and gives NU 41 on the season (eight short of school record). With 3:10 remaining in the game, Kyle Vanden Bosch recorded a devastating sack, forcing Helm to fumble (minus 10 yards lost), which senior linebacker Eric Johnson recovered and ran in for a 15-yard score to give the Huskers a 41-15 lead. Linebacker Julius Jackson tacked on a fifth sack (six yards lost) with two and half left. On the next play, Jackson nearly sacked Helm, causing another fumble, but it was ruled an incomplete pass.
* Husker Defense...Defending the Rush....Kansas State became the 10 Husker opponent this season to be held to less than 75 yards rushing at the halftime, but that is the most by a Husker opponent this season. KSU finished the game with 92 yards rushing, becoming the seventh team to be held to less than 100 yards rushing this season. KSU entered game averaging 393 yards of total offense (had 234 today) and 196 rushing (had 92 today). KSU turned the ball over five times, went 3-15 on third down conversions, and the KSU QBs were 7 of 31 passing for just 146 yards. The Husker Blackshirts forced KSU to three and out on 11 of 17 drives. Carlos Polk unofficially led the team with eight tackles, including four solo stops and one tackle for loss. He has had at least one sack in three of the last four games and five on the season.
* Firsts and Bests...Senior wingback Frankie London converted a two point conversion after fullback Willie Miller scored on a 4-yard run to give NU a 24-6 lead with 7:57 remaining in the first half. It was London?s first points this season. London, a former quarterback is NU?s holder. The TD run was Miller?s second this season. Tight End Tracey Wistrom...Wistrom tied his career high with four catches for 68 yards (also 4-116 vs. Oklahoma State). The 68 yards marked the fourth game this year that he had 65 or more yards receiving.
* Turnovers...NU 3, KSU 5...Nebraska had a school-record 10 fumbles (breaking old record of nine vs. Penn State, Aug. 29, 1983--lost 1 and nine vs. Kansas, Nov. 16, 1985--lost five) fumbles against Kansas State, but lost three. Incidentally, Nebraska won all three of those games with nine or more fumbles. KSU did not convert the first two but at 5:33 in the fourth, scored on a Helm 1-yard run (two-point conversion failed). KSU had two fumbles and two lost, and one interception. NU converted the second fumble to a Josh Brown field goal to give NU a 27-9 lead. and converted the Mike Brown interception to a Dahrran Diedrick 46-yard TD run on the next play. The Husker defense has now converted 29 turnovers gained to 107 points, and the defense has scored 38 points themselves, which counts today?s safety and Johnson?s touchdown (safety is not counted as a turnover conversion). It was the first time Johnson scored in his career. With 2:17 remaining, senior linebacker Tony Ortiz caused Chad Meier to fumble and senior linebacker Ben Buettenback recovered and Nebraska ran out the final minutes.
* In seven home games this season, Nebraska has allowed a total of 16 points in the first half. In all games, NU has given up just 31 first-half points in 10 games and just 114 total on the season.