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Nebraska scored 28 unanswered points to pull away from a 31-20 third-quarter lead and put away Utah State, 59-28, in one of the craziest days ever in Memorial Stadium.
Despite a day that saw 14th-ranked (AP) Nebraska break its own NCAA record with 44 first downs, while the Huskers and Aggies were combining for 1,208 total-offense yards, the scene that may be remembered the longest was the hundreds of Nebraska students frolicking on the soaked stadium turf when officials sent the teams to the locker rooms during a 19-minute lightning and rain delay in the third quarter. It was the first time in anyone's memory that a Husker home game was interrupted by weather.
But that was not all that the 76,115 on hand saw.
They also watched the teams battle in the rain in the first quarter — while the sun was shining.
They saw senior quarterback Keithen McCant (career totals, eight rushes, three passes) replace starter Mickey Joseph in the second quarter. Despite Nebraska's 17-0 lead and 200 total-offense yards at the time, Joseph had personally struggled, completing just one of his first seven passes and losing a fumble. McCant, playing for the first time when a game was in doubt, guided the Huskers to four touchdowns and a field goal in six possessions, while running for 87 yards and a TD and completing six of 10 passes for 101 yards an a score himself. (McCant started the rest of the season and became the All-Big Eight quarterback as well as the league's offensive player-of-the-year).
They saw starting I-back Scott Baldwin run for 47 yards on three carries in the game's first series, then suffer a severe ankle sprain while scoring on a 29-yard run with 11:22 left in the first quarter. Sophomore backup I-back Derek Brown came in to rush for a career-high 175 yards on 23 carries to begin his run to All-Big Eight honors. Redshirt freshman I-back Calvin Jones ran for 81 yards and his first two career TDs as he started his run to Big Eight newcomer-of-the-year honors.
They witnessed Nebraska's offense pile up 787 total-offense yards (the most for the Huskers since 790 at Minnesota in 1983) with 617 of the yards coming on the ground (NU's second-most ever, behind the school-record 677 against New Mexico State 1982, when the Huskers set the old NCAA first-down record with 43).
And they also watched quarterback Ron Lopez of 0-2 Utah State pass for 373 yards — the most ever against Nebraska in a regular-season game and third all-time behind Florida State's 422- and 375-yard efforts in the 1990 and 1988 Fiesta Bowls.
Notes: The crowd marked Nebraska's 176th-consecutive sellout
the Huskers won their 19th-straight at home vs. nonconference opponents
for the third time on record, NU did not punt
the lightning delay came after Jones scored with 13:35 left in the fourth quarter.
Quote of the game: "Get this guys. We threw it 21 times today, so we're throwing the heck out of it." — Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne.
SEASON STATS | NU ROSTER
Utah State 28
Sept. 7, 1991
Utah State 7 7 6 8 — 28
Nebraska 17 7 16 19 — 59
NEB — Scott Baldwin 29 run (Byron Bennett
kick), 11:22 remaining.
NEB — Vincent Hawkins 22 pass from Mickey Joseph
(Bennett kick), 8:24.
NEB — FG Bennett 32, 3:27.
USU — Chad Tigert 1 run (Doug Beach kick), 0:31.
NEB — Johnny Mitchell 27 pass from Keithen McCant
(Bennett kick), 7:15.
USU — Rod Moore 44 pass from Ron Lopez (Beach kick), 5:16.
NEB — McCant 12 run (Bennett kick), 12:45.
USU — Moore 12 pass from Lopez (Beach kick failed), 9:56.
NEB — FG Bennett 37, 6:00.
NEB — Calvin Jones 3 run (Bennett kick failed), 2:10.
NEB — Jones 2 run (Jones run failed), 13:35.
NEB — Joseph 10 run (Tom Sieler kick failed), 7:58.
NEB — Billy Wade 1 pass from Todd Gragnano
(Sieler kick), 1:22.
USU — Moore 51 pass from Lopez (Sean Hampton
pass from Lopez), 0:38.
Weather: most cloudy, intermittent showers, 89 degrees,
wind S 18 mph at kickoff; heavy rains began in second half,
with severe lightning which forced 19-minute delay as teams
went to locker rooms.
First downs 22 44*
Rushes-yards 23-48 77-617
Passing yards 373 170
Returns-yards 1-12 6-111
Passes 23-41-2 11-21-1
Sacks by 1-8 0-0
Punts-average 7-42 0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-yards 6-50 8-51
Time of poss. 23:42 36:18
Rushing: Utah State, Roger Grant 9-26.
Nebraska, Derek Brown 23-175, McCant 9-87, Omar Soto 7-86, Jones 14-81, George Achola 8-52, Baldwin 3-47.
Passing: Utah State, Lopez 23-41-2-373.
Nebraska, McCant 6-10-1-101, Joseph 4-10-0-68.
Receiving: Utah State, Moore 12-220, Jenkins 4-54.
Nebraska, Mitchell 2-37, Jon Bostick 2-20.
Missed field goals: none.
Interceptions: Utah State, Ron Edwards 1-12.
Nebraska, Kenny Wilhite 1-0, Steve Carmer 1-0.
Tackles (UT-AT-TT): Utah State, Edwards 8-1-9, Del Lyles 5-3-8, Willie Jackson 3-5-8, Matt Martinez 3-5-8.
Nebraska, Tyrone Byrd 5-2-7, Mike Petko 4-3-7, Travis Hill 5-1-6.
Sacks: Utah State, Rob VanDePol 1. Nebraska, none.