Huskers Run Over Spartans, 49-13
Lincoln - Dan Alexander rushed for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Eric Crouch rushed for three scores and passed for another, as top-ranked Nebraska opened the season with a 49-13 victory over San Jose State Saturday.
The Huskers scored touchdowns on each of their first four possessions of the first half en route to their 15th straight opening day win, the longest streak in Division I.
Alexander, whose previous career best was a 180-yard effort against Colorado last season, became the first back since Ahman Green in 1997 to crack the 200-yard barrier, finishing the day with 208 yards on 17 carries. Alexander played just one possession after halftime, scoring on a 56-yard run to give the Huskers a 35-6 lead. Alexander's rushing total was the best by a NU running back in a season opener, while he became the fifth Husker back to rush for 200 or more yards on fewer than 20 carries.
The Huskers rushed for 505 yards, the most rushing yards in a regular-season game since gaining 624 yards on the ground against Iowa State on Nov. 4, 1995. I-back Correll Buckhalter also rushed for more than 100 yards, finishing with 117 yards on 13 carries.
Crouch finished the day with 57 yards and three scores on eight carries, while completing 4-of-10 passes for 67 yards and a score, a 27-yarder to Tracey Wistrom in the first quarter.
The Huskers travel to Notre Dame for an NBC nationally televised contest Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1:30 p.m. (CDT). The Fighting Irish defeated No. 24 Texas A&M, 24-10, in South Bend on Saturday.
Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. San Jose State, Sept. 2, 2000
The No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers opened their season with a 49-13 win over San Jose State in the first meeting between the two schools. Nebraska scored on each of its first four possessions and opened to a 28-6 halftime lead. NU was led by Dan Alexander?s career-best 208 yards rushing and totaled 505 yards rushing on the day. Nebraska travels to Notre Dame next week for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
* Temperature...today?s temperature was 88 at kickoff, 94 at the beginning of the second quarter and 98 at halftime...it hit 100 degrees toward the end of the game.
* NU starting I-back Dan Alexander reached the 100-yard mark on NU?s third drive of the game. On NU?s fourth drive, Alexander scored on a 1-yard run which gave him 148 in the first half. He reached the 200 mark with a 56-yard TD run on Nebraska?s first series of the second quarter (17 carries 208 yards, 2 TDs) and was done for the day. It marks Alexander?s second consecutive 100-yard rushing day and sixth in his career. He has rushed for 100 or more yards in six of his last nine games. His previous career best was 180 yards vs. Colorado last season. Dan had three runs of 25 yards or more, a 39-yarder in the first quarter and a 32-yarder in the second quarter. He topped that with his 56-yard TD run to lead off the second-half scoring. It was the first time a Husker back rushed for 200 or more yards since Ahman Green rushed for 206 vs. Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl. It is the first 200-yard individual performance under Solich and the first in the regular season since Green rushed for 202 yards vs. Colorado on Nov. 27, 1997. Alexander reached the 200 yard mark with just 17 carries, becoming only the fifth Husker rusher in school history to rush for 200 or more yards with fewer than 20 carries. His 208 yards tied Calvin Jones? 208 vs. Iowa State (Nov. 13, 1993) and Leodis Flowers? 208 vs. ISU (Oct. 27, 1990) for the 18th best single game mark by an NU rusher. It was the 34th 200-yard rushing mark in school history.
* Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch scored NU?s first touchdown on a 6-yard run, connected with Tracey Wistrom for NU?s second TD on a 27-yard pass, and scored NU?s third TD with a 4-yard run. He scored his third rushing TD on a nine-yard run to put the Huskers up 42-13 with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter. Crouch has scored three rushing TDs in a game twice (also in 1999 season opener vs. Iowa). Crouch?s TD pass to Wistrom marked Crouch?s first regular-season TD pass since the Kansas game in 1999 when he hit Bobby Newcombe for a 49-yard TD pass on Oct. 30. Crouch has had at least one rushing TD in 12 of the last 14 games. Crouch was intercepted twice (third time he has had two interceptions thrown in his career, tying his high). SJSU?s Willie Adams intercepted Crouch on NU?s fifth drive of the game, but the Spartans gave it back to NU at the end of the first half when sophomore cornerback DeJuan Groce intercepted Marcus Arroyo (Groce?s first career interception). Crouch?s second interception was picked off by Josh Parry on NU?s second drive of the second half. The Spartans scored to bring the score to 35-13. Crouch finished the day with eight carries for 57 yards rushing and three TDs, and completed 4-of-10 passes for 67 yards with one TD and two interceptions.
* Junior tight end Tracey Wistrom made two catches for 51 yards, including a 27-yard TD pass from Crouch for NU?s second score of the game at 5:02 in the first quarter. Of Wistrom?s 20 career catches, four have gone for TDs and 10 have gone for 25 or more yards.
* It?s a Rush...NU totaled 505 rushing yards in the game. On Nebraska?s first drive of the game, NU scored on eight plays, covering all of the 80 yards by rush. That drive included a 39-yard run by Dan Alexander to the SJSU 6-yard line. NU is 89-0 since 1973 when rushing for 400 or more yards. Nebraska reached the 400 mark just once last season (439 vs. Iowa State). In addition to Alexander?s 208 and Crouch?s 57 yards rushing, Correll Buckhalter had 13 carries for 117 yards and no TDs, marking the 40th time NU has had two or more 100-yard rushers in a game (last time vs. Texas A&M, 1999). Fullback Willie Miller had 51 yards on six carries, including a regular-season career-best 24-yard run. His 51 yards is a regular-season career best as well, bettering the 48 he had vs. Washington in 1998 (he had 8-87 with a long of 47 vs. Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl). Sophomore Dahrran Diedrick rushed five times for 12 yards, including a two-yard TD run for Nebraska?s final score of the game (third of his career). The 505 yards rushing marked the first time NU has achieved that feat under Solich. The 505 yards rushing were the most since NU had 524 in the Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 2, 1996) vs. Florida and the most in a regular-season game since NU rushed for 624 vs. Iowa State on Nov. 4, 1995 (Note, NU rushed for 500 or more yards five times in 1995, counting the Fiesta Bowl).
* Firsts and Misc....First-Time Starters...On offense, sophomore Toniu Fonoti at left guard; on defense, junior Jason Lohr at nose tackle, sophomore Scott Shanle at SLB, sophomore LRE Demoine Adams and junior Randy Stella at WLB. Senior walk-on Chace Long was a starter on kickoffs and also had recorded his second career PAT (on two attempts) in the fourth quarter. True Freshmen playing...True freshman SLB T.J. Hollowell saw action today and had two solo tackles on kickoff coverage; free safety Willie Amos had an unassisted tackle on punt coverage; and LCB Terrell Butler also saw action. In his first game as a Husker, WLB redshirt freshman Blanchard Johnson blocked Nick Gilliam?s 44-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. Sophomore transfer Thunder Collins had two carries for two yards in his first game as a Husker.
* On defense...MLB Carlos Polk unofficially led the team with five tackles and blocked a Gilliam PAT after SJSU?s first TD. Erwin Swiney had two pass breakups in his first start since 1998, to give him 19 in his career (tied for fourth). In addition to DeJuan Groce?s first career interception, Groce led the team with career-best three of NU?s eight PBUs.
* Deonce Whitaker for San Jose State...rushed for 113 yards in the first quarter (same as team?s 113 total), had 121 at halftime and 15-147-0 at the end of the game. The last time an opponent had an individual rush for more than 100 yards against Nebraska was Cortlen Johnson of Colorado when he rushed for 135 on Nov. 26, 1999 at Boulder. The last time an opposing back rushed for more than 100 yards in Memorial Stadium was Iowa State?s Darren Davis on Oct. 9, 1999 (107 yards). Whitaker?s total was aided by a 69-yard run on San Jose State?s first drive of the game. That marked the longest run against Nebraska since Ja?Mar Toombs of Texas A&M had a 71-yard run vs. NU on Oct. 10, 1998. That run took SJSU to the 7-yard line, but the defense and two penalties led to a missed Nick Gilliam 29-yard field goal attempt (hit right upright, no good). The 147 yards by Whitaker is just six yards short of the top 10 list (No. 10 is 153 yards). SJSU had 193 rushing yards total and 346 total-offense yards.
* Kicking Notes...Although Nebraska?s No. 1 punter Dan Hadenfeldt sat out of the game (NCAA ruling to sit out first game after playing in Hula Bowl while waiting for fifth-year exempt ruling) NU only punted once vs. San Jose State (28 yards by Josh Brown). Josh Brown was perfect on 6-of-6 PATs to extend his streak to 45.