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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.