12-point vanishes as Huskies take charge late
Fourth-rated (AP) and eventual co-national champion Washington exploded for four touchdowns in the final 16 minutes to erase ninth-rated Nebraska’s 21-9 lead and post a 36-21 win before 76,304 fans in Memorial Stadium and millions more on ABC-TV.
The Huskers struck first, scoring on a six-play, 76-yard drive on their second possession. Quarterback Keithen McCant started the drive by scrambling 16 yards to the NU 40 on third-and-10 and, after an 11-yard gain by I-back Derek Brown, hit split end Tyrone Hughes for a 22-yard pickup to the Washington 27.
On the next play, Brown took a pitchout around left end and sprinted into the end zone. The sophomore went on to carry 21 times for two touchdowns and 100 yards, the best individual effort against the Huskies in 1991.
Washington quarterback Billy Joe Hobert pulled the Huskies within 7-6 with a 9-yard TD run early in the second quarter, but UW failed to tie because of a bad snap on the PAT. Nebraska took a 14-6 lead with 3:40 left until halftime on McCant’s 42-yard TD pass to split end Jon Bostick, who grew up in Bellevue, Wash., across Lake Washington from the UW campus.
The Huskies drove 51 yards to the NU 26 on their first possession of the second half and closed to 14-9 on Travis Hanson’s 43-yard field goal with 12:27 left in the third.
Six-and-a-half minutes later, Washington’s Beno Bryant fumbled a Mike Stigge punt at the UW 4-yard-line and NU’s Mike Anderson recovered at the 2. On the first play, Brown pounded up the middle for his second TD and Nebraska had a 21-9 lead with 5:32 left in the third.
But that was it for the Huskers. Washington scored on its next four possessions to take the game away, going ahead for good at 22-21 on Hobert’s 8-yard TD pass to Orlando McKay with 11:20 left, then applying the coup de grace on Jay Barry’s 81-yard run for the final score of the game with 5:38 to go.
After Brown’s second TD, Washington steamrolled to 292 yards and four scores, while the Huskie defense limited Nebraska to eight plays, 2 yards and no first downs on its next three possessions, and forced a McCant fumble which it recovered to set up the touchdown that made it 29-21. The Huskies finished with 618 total-offense yards, the third-most on record vs. Nebraska, behind 656 by Oklahoma in 1956 and 620 by Notre Dame in 1948.
Notes: It was Nebraska’s 178th-straight home sellout since 1962 … Washington’s win ended the Huskers’ 20-game home-field win string against nonconference opponents … The Huskies went on to finish 12-0 and split the national title with Miami (Fla.), the team that was to beat Nebraska in the 1992 Orange Bowl.
Quote of the game: “This has got to be the best comeback I’ve ever been a part of. Coming back against a great team like Nebraska is really something.” – Washington defensive tackle Steve Emtman, 1991 Outland/ Lombardi winner, and No. 1 1992 NFL draft pick.