2001 Nebraska-TCU football, postgame notes & quotes
Huskers Open 2001 Season with 14th Straight Home Win: The No. 4/4 Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated TCU, 21-7, today in Lincoln in the NACDA Pigskin Classic. The Huskers scored first on Nebraska’s first drive when first-time starter Thunder Collins scored on a six-yard run. All of Nebraska’s 70 yards were by rush and NU’s TD was set up by quarterback Eric Crouch’s 33-yard run. First-time starter and redshirt freshman Sandro DeAngelis added the PAT. TCU answered the Huskers with a six-play drive of its own, scoring on a 67-yard pass from Casey Printers to Matt Schobel. With 1:27 remaining in the first quarter, Crouch scored on a one-yard run after Crouch hit wingback John Gibson on a 41-yard pass. It was a career long for Gibson as his previous best was an 11-yard catch vs. Southern Miss last year. After John Garrison’s first bad snap of his career, the score sat 13-7 in favor of the Huskers through halftime. In the third quarter, Collins scored his second TD on a 26-yard run, after Crouch had a 42-yard rush, the longest run of the game. NU went for two after the 98-yard drive and Crouch successfully ran it in for a two-point conversion which gave NU a 21-7 lead with 0:25 remaining in the third quarter. The Husker defense held TCU to 34 total yards in the fourth quarter. Nebraska had 159 yards rushing in the game and 310 total, while TCU had 56 yards rushing and 186 total.
The Husker Win Was …
Nebraska’s 14th straight win at home; NU’s fifth straight win in a preseason game; extended the Huskers season opening winning streak to 16 games; Nebraska’s sixth straight win against TCU; and was NU’s third straight win overall.
NU First-Time Starters (9)
OFFENSE (5)…Center-John Garrison, junior; Right Guard-Jon Rutherford, senior; Right Tackle-Dan Waldrop, sophomore; Fullback-Judd Davies, sophomore (2-1-0 rushing); I-back-Thunder Collins (14-71-2 rushing and 1-12-0 receiving), junior; DEFENSE (2)…MLB-Jamie Burrow, senior (eight tackles, two for losses); Free Safety-Willie Amos, sophomore (two tackles); KICKERS (2)…PK/Kickoffs-Sandro DeAngelis, freshman (1-1 PAT); Punter-Kyle Larson, sophomore (8 punts, 48.6 ypp, five inside the 20).
True Freshmen Playing (3)
Three true freshmen played for the Huskers today, including rover Philip Bland, MLB Barrett Ruud (five tackles) and wingback Mike Stuntz. Ruud and Bland saw action on special teams as well as on the defensive side of the ball in both halves.
Charting the Huskers
• Senior quarterback Eric Crouch is 25-5 as a starter and broke the school’s total offense record today. When Crouch completed a 28-yard pass to Tracey Wistrom in the fourth quarter, Crouch went over the 200-yard total offense mark in the game and broke the record. Entering the game today, Crouch needed just 187 total offense yards to take over the career mark. Crouch now has 5,510 total offense yards, passing Tommie Frazier’s 5,476 total offense yards from 1992 to 1995. Crouch had 69 yards rushing (on 24 carries) and was 10-18 passing for 151 yards. He had one rushing touchdown (one-yard run), no passing touchdowns and was intercepted once (by Jason Goss in the first half, was not converted to points). Crouch had more than 20 carries for the sixth time in his career; more than 50 yards rushing for the 25th time in his career (NU is 23-2 in those games); and more 150 yards passing for the sixth time in his career.
• Senior tight end Tracey Wistrom had three catches for 38 yards in the game. He now has 40 career catches for 865 yards. Wistrom ranks as the Huskers’ third-best tight end in receptions and yards.
• Senior left cornerback Keyuo Craver is second on the NU career pass breakups list with 29, followed by fellow corner Erwin Swiney’s 26. Craver is 21 pass breakups behind All-American Ralph Brown, who had 50 from 1996 to 1999. Craver had one PBU vs. TCU and four tackles.
• Junior split end Wilson Thomas caught three passes for 53 yards for a new career high. All three of his catches bettered his previous career best (eight yards vs. Kansas in 2000). His catches were for 11, 20 and 22 yards.
• First-time starter Kyle Larson, punted eight times and averaged 48.6 yards per punt. Each of his first five punts pinned TCU inside the 20 yard line, with the line of scrimmage beginning at the 15, 9, 1, 15, 18. TCU had just 21 yards on five punt returns.
• MISC…Sacks…Two Huskers had sacks, Demoine Adams had 1-11 and fellow rush end Justin Smith had 1-8. NU had 12 tackles for loss, two each by Jamie Burrow, Chris Kelsay and Justin Smith. Turnovers…Nebraska had two, an interception and a fumble, and TCU had one fumble lost, but neither team converted. For Nebraska, rush end Chris Kelsay caused Ricky Madison to fumble and linebacker Scott Shanle recovered. Possession Time…Nebraska 33:58; TCU 26:02. Nebraska was 7 of 17 on third down, while TCU was one for 12. First Downs…16 for NU, 6 for TCU. Long Plays of 25 Yards or More (6)…I-back Josh Davis 35 yard kickoff return; Crouch 41-yard pass to John Gibson (career high for Gibson); Crouch 28-yard pass to Wistrom; Crouch 42-yard run, 33-yard run for Crouch; 26-yard run for Collins. Injuries…Nothing major in the game; nose tackle Jason Lohr sprained an ankle; eight NU players missed the game due to injuries, including first-teamers WLB T.J. Hollowell, OG Jon Dawson and CB Erwin Swiney.
MVPs: QB Eric Crouch of Nebraska and Marvin Godbolt (RFr., SS) were the NACDA Pigskin Most Valuable Players of the Game. Each player will receive a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship from the NACDA Foundation. Godbolt was credited with five tackles for 37 yards lost.
Nebraska Head Coach Frank Solich
“They (TCU) are a very physical football team. They were a very good defensive team last season and statistically they were the best. We had too many plays that went for minus yardage. Our defense played extremely well, they read things well. They kept us in the ballgame. I think we will be a better special teams team than we were last year.”
“We didn’t pick things up well inside, but we did get back to where the option played a very big part in the second half. Our power game struggled. We just need better protection. I think it showed today that we are capable to be a pretty good passing team.”
“Both teams saw second and long a lot for a good share of the afternoon and we weren’t picking up much in the power game. There was no consistency. If you’re not careful you can be taken out of a game quickly.”
“As the season goes on we’ll be able to tell where we’re at offensively and defensively. They were not able to establish a running game and certainly we’ll see that on down the line.”
ON THE PLAY OF ERIC CROUCH:
“Eric did well. He was probably frustrated at the situation with as long of yardage we were in. He did not panic. He hung in there and pieced together some drives to get some points on the board.”
ON WHAT NEBRASKA GOT OUT OF TODAY’S GAME:
“We got a lot out of it. We were in a tough football game and responded. Our young players played well. Certainly we’ll be a better football team because of today’s game.”
ON TRUE FRESHMAN LINEBACKER BARRET RUUD:
“He can cover the field. I think he will be a great addition to our team.”
ON THE RETURN GAME:
“Three different people returned for us today. A time or two we came close to getting something broke. Those guys are excellent athletes.”
ON CROUCH’S SHOULDER:
“He threw the ball very well today. His shoulder seemed to be no problem. The ball seemed to be where it needed to be and I think he threw the deep ball well.”
ON THE SECONDARY:
”The secondary played well. Printer is an excellent throwing quarterback. He can also scramble as evidenced by his pass in the first quarter.”
ON SOPHOMORE PUNTER KYLE LARSON:
“I thought he had a great game. He got the ball off really well. It had good hang time and good depth.”
Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch:
“For the most part we are able to get the job done. We were ready to go out and do the best job we could. Overall, things could have been better, when we watch the game tapes and break it down, we will probably see better what adjustments we should have made. There were some things we could do better, picking up blitzes and such, but that’s something we have to do as a team.”
“I don’t think we were confused. You have to give TCU some credit, they did things late (in the snap count). For the most part they did what we saw in the game film, but there were some things that we didn’t see on film that they were able to execute.”
Nebraska rush end Chris Kelsay:
“As a defense, I think we always plan on following the “One play, one game” motto. I think we look forward to each game as they come, so this week we will concentrate only on Troy State. We will not put anyone ahead of any other team.”
“It was a great thrill coming out today. We were serious and focused on playing a good-looking TCU team. They showed they can play ball, but it was nice to come out and hit someone other than from your own team. We were able to make some plays at key times and show that we have some real potential on defense.”
Nebraska I-back Thunder Collins:
“I was a little nervous at first this week, but I was able to get some sleep last night and didn’t feel too bad today. And when we took the field, I really started to get pumped.”
“Obviously I didn’t get 200 yards rushing today, but that is okay because I want to be a team player. I want to just help the team any way I can. There were about three plays that were just right there, that were so close. But that lets you know there are 11 guys on the field who all have to click and work together because just one defender can throw the whole thing off and disrupt the flow.”
“It feels good to win the first game of the season. It never is something where you like to lose, but it definitely helps to win. And it is good when you can be a part of that, which was all I wanted, to just help the team however we needed.”
Head Coach Gary Patterson
“I thought our kids fought hard. I thought with a younger football team, we came in and after the initial shock of being in front 78,000 and playing a team like Nebraska, I thought they settled down, especially on defense we played hard. I am really excited about the group that we have. I think even offensively, we will keep growing up and the offensive line will give ourselves a chance.”
“We lost a really good player today, Bo Schobel, for the season to anterior cruciate injury. We’ll have to move on. We have always done that as a football team. We have got to find a way to win 11 more ball games. Our goal, now that this is done, is to be 11-1. Just take one game at a time. The next most important game is North Texas.”
“I will give Nebraska a lot of credit. They play hard and play really well on defense. There is a lot of talk about the way they play and they came out and did a really nice job. Offensively, (Eric) Crouch is the real deal. When he had to, he made plays, made a difference. That’s what winners do and that’s what teams that win championships do.”
ON STOPPING THE OPTION
“We practice against the same kind of offense. We had a couple freshman mistakes from our strong safety early. Once we got our option responsibilities down, we felt like that one of the things people are scared to do against the option is they are scared to blitz it. Because we play against it everyday in practice, we understand a little bit more about it. So we were able to take some chances and got fortunate on some plays and got some lost yardage. You have to play Nebraska. You can’t just sit there in zone and play a base front all of the time. You have to create some lost yardage plays and for most of the game we were able to do that.”
ON TCU’S DEFENSE
“We just blew a couple coverages. Everything we do coverage wise, sets up how we are going to play the option on the perimeter. We were having a little trouble with their personnel groups. They were holding them on the sidelines and doing a good job. We kind of got a feel for what they were later on in the game. We were a new staff together. One of the things you forget about is that you gain chemistry not only as a team, but also as a staff. Really we came together later on as a staff too. We started to get a feel for personnel and who was talking and what was going on, especially defensively.”
Linebacker Chad Bayer
“I’m somewhat disappointed. I mean you really can’t feel good after losing a game. I think the defense played OK, but not to the best of our ability. We have some things to work on. Nebraska found a lot of our weak spots. After today’s game, the young player should be grown up. Guys like Marvin Godbolt and Devon Davis came through and really stepped it up today”
ON THE DIFFERENCE AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER
“With a lot of young guys it takes time to get use to the speed, especially Nebraska, they are fast. Once we picked it up, we started playing pretty decent.”
Tight End Matt Schobel
ON THE TOUCHDOWN PASS
“I was blocking that play and my guy didn’t rush, so I piled out and Casey (Printers) found me. I really wasn’t surprised to see the ball thrown to me. Casey usually looks to one of the deeper guys down field. Casey is the type of quarterback that you always need to know what he is doing. He can always find the open receiver.”
Freshman Marvin Godbolt
ON HIS PERFORMANCE
“The first couple of series I had to get use to the speed of the game. After that, it just felt good. I had a lot of confidence in myself today. It was an advantage to sit out last year and watch our upperclassmen.”
ON TCU’S PERFORMANCE
“Today’s game was a measuring stick. We knew as a team we had it in us. We just had to come up here and play our game.”