McCant nearly flawless at QB as Huskers roll
Nebraska was almost picture-perfect in handing Oklahoma State a 49-15 loss in the Big Eight opener for both and remaining unbeaten against the Cowboys since 1962.
Start with senior quarterback Keithen McCant, who completed 17 of 19 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns. His .895 completion percentage was second-best in school history (for a minimum of 10 attempts), his 233.2 passing efficiency was third on the NU charts, and his 17 completions were the most for a Husker passer in 152 games since Tom Sorley in the 1979 Orange Bowl.
“I wouldn’t say he was flawless, but, boy, he audibled a lot and was right 95 percent of the time,” Coach Tom Osborne said. “Keithen played very well.”
Then go to sophomore I-back Derek Brown, who ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, to become the first Husker to start a season with five-straight 100-yard games since Hall of Famer Bobby Reynolds in 1950.
Then check out the Huskers’ Blackshirt defensive unit, which gave up just 354 total yards, including 127 by the reserves in the fourth quarter, when 0-5 Oklahoma State scored its only touchdown.
“When we put our top 11 out there, we’re pretty good,” Osborne said of the defense.
For the fourth time in five games, Nebraska, 4-1, scored on its first offensive possession, this time on a 34-yard pass from McCant to split end Tyrone Hughes.
The 14th-rated (AP) Huskers scored two more TDs to take a 21-0 lead midway in the second quarter before the Cowboys got on the board with a late first-half field goal. Then, after Nebraska went up 28-3 on an 8-yard McCant-to-tight end Johnny Mitchell TD pass early in the second half, OSU added a safety and another field goal to make it 28-8. Nebraska responded with 21 points in the first 1:59 of the fourth quarter and removed any doubts.
Osborne said Nebraska used its one-back offense extensively in order to neutralize Oklahoma State’s blitzing defense. “You can’t send the strong safety and linebacker consistently against the one-back,” he explained. “You’ve got to pull the strong safety out because of four quick receivers. We were able to throw well out of it.”
Notes: The Huskers were ranked by the Associated Press for the 161st-straight week, breaking the old poll record for consecutivity of 160 weeks set by Michigan from 1968-80 … it was Nebraska’s 16th-straight win in a conference opener … the Huskers beat the Cowboys for the 18th-straight year … free safety Tyrone Byrd had his ninth career pass interception to move into a tie for sixth on the Nebraska charts … Mitchell had his 10th career TD reception and the sophomore moved into 10th on that Nebraska chart.
Quote of the game: “He (Derek Brown) knocked the breath completely out of me today. He might be the best back in this league.” – Oklahoma State Coach Pat Jones.