Kenny Walker created havoc, sacking Oregon State’s quarterback four times.
It wasn’t supposed to be this tough. Eighth-ranked (AP) Nebraska was a prohibitive favorite to demolish winless Oregon State, a team which had been outscored 142-50 by four previous opponents, none of which were top-25 candidates.
However, the Beavers, starting to get healthy after a rash of preseason injuries, held Nebraska to a field goal in the first half as they took a shocking 7-3 halftime lead and extended the Cornhuskers to the limit before finally falling, 31-7. NU upped its record to 4-0 and dropped OSU to 0-5.
Playing before the 172nd-consecutive sellout crowd in Memorial Stadium (76,061), OSU took advantage of a fumbled punt to drive 18 yards to the game’s first score, a 4-yard Matt Booher-to-Dwayne Owens pass with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
Later in the first period Nebraska drove to a first down at the OSU 11, helped by a 43-yard run by fullback Omar Soto, but the drive stalled on the five and the Huskers had to settle for a 22-yard Gregg Barrios field goal, then didn’t manage another first down until the final two minutes of the half.
“So much for 51-point spreads,” NU coach Tom Osborne said. “I told the team at halftime they were on the verge of the biggest embarrassment in the history of the school and possibly the biggest upset of the year if they didn’t get with it.”
The Huskers got with it in a hurry in the second half, taking the opening kickoff and driving 82 yards in three plays to take the lead for good.