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Huskers Improve to 3-0 with 24-3 Victory over Cal
Berkeley, Calif.--
Behind steady quarterback performances by Eric Crouch and Monte Christo and a stingy defensive performance from the Husker Blackshirts, Nebraska improved to 3-0 on the season with a 24-3 victory over California in Berkeley.

Crouch, who earned his second straight starting assignment replacing an injured Bobby Newcombe, led the Huskers on an seven-play, 67-yard drive, capped by a one-yard run by the Husker QB to give NU a 7-0 advantage just 2:52 into the contest.

Nebraska extended the lead to 14-0 midway through the second quarter after driving 64 yards on five plays, highlighted by a Makovicka 23-yard run and a Crouch keeper for 30 yards before the redshirt freshman scored two plays later to the delight of the more than 35,000 red-clad fans in attendance.

Crouch rushed for 59 yards on 16 carries, and completed 6-of-16 passes for 74 yards before leaving the contest with a hamstring injury.

Christo came in for Crouch and played the entire second half, completing 9-of-12 passes for 106 yards, including a five-yard touchdown pass to wingback Shevin Wiggins to cap a nine-play, 70-yard drive. Wiggins caught a career-high seven receptions for 97 yards. Senior fullback Joel Makovicka rushed 13 times for 77 yards, while I-back Correll Buckhalter had 12 carries for 71 yards in the win.

Defensively, the Blackshirts held California to just 12 yards rushing and kept the Golden Bears out of the end zone. The Huskers recorded five sacks, including a pair by Eric Johnson, while linebacker Jay Foreman led NU with seven tackles.

Husker Game Notes
Berkley, Calif.
-- The No. 4/3 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska Cornhuskers improved to 3-0 on the season with a 24-3 win over California in Berkeley, Calif. Nebraska led 14-0 at halftime after two short scores on seven- and five-play drives by starting quarterback Eric Crouch. The Huskers extended their nation-winning winning streak to 17 games and won their 63rd game in the last 66 tries (including their ninth straight on the road). NU improves to 2-0 vs. California.

Five Husker starters missed today’s game with injuries including QB Bobby Newcombe, IB DeAngelo Evans, FS Clint Finley, WB Lance Brown, and DT Jason Wiltz. In addition, starting right rush end Mike Rucker started but played just the first series of the first Cal drive (three plays), then one series in the third quarter. Despite being depleted by injuries, Nebraska totaled 434 yards to Cal’s 236. NU had 254 on the ground, but held the Bears to just 12.

* Quarterback Eric Crouch...earned second straight start as Bobby Newcombe sat out for second week with a PCL knee injury...Crouch rushed a career-high 16 times for a 59 yards and tied his career best with two rushing TDs, a 1-yard run to put NU up 7-0 and a 3-yard TD to put NU up 14-0 (also had two rushing TDs in first start vs. UAB). Crouch completed 6 of 16 passes for 74 yards. He threw his first career interception on a last -second long attempt just before time ran out in the first half (:06). Nursing a hamstring pull, senior walk-on Monte Christo started the second half.

* Quarterback Monte Christo...third-string quarterback and senior walk-on Monte Christo again had an excellent game in relief. Starting the second half for Crouch, Christo had a career best 9-12 passing for 106 yards, including one TD (to Wiggins). He also rushed a career-high 12 times for a career-best 26 yards.

* Fullback Joel Makovicka...rushed a career-high 14 times for 83 yards. He had three long runs of 18 yards, 23 yards and 16 yards. Makovicka passed Jerry Brown to move into fifth on the Nebraska career fullback rushing chart. (Brown rushed for 1,088 yards in 1955-57). Makovicka now has 1,146 career rushing yards and 12 career TDs.

* Wingback Shevin Wiggins...caught a career-best seven passes for a career-best 97 yards, including a 5-yard TD with 3:54 in the fourth to put NU up 21-3. He had 4-62 at halftime. The TD reception is the first in his career, but he has had one punt return TD and one rushing TD. Split End Matt Davison caught a career-high five passes for 44 yards.

* Place-Kicker Kris Brown extended his school record of consecutive PATs to 95, but his school-record streak of 17 consecutive field goals made (dating back to game three of the 1997 season vs. Washington) ended when he missed a 40-yard attempt with 11:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. Brown was successful on a 41-yard field goal with :23 remaining in the game for the final 24-3 margin. Brown is 45-59 in his career on field goal attempts and owns the school record for career points with 321.

* Cornerback Ralph Brown...had two breakups in the game. He now has 27 in his career and six on the season.

* Pickoffs...Free Safety Mike Brown had an interception today, his first this season and fourth in his career...Linebacker Carlos Polk recorded his first career interception on a pass broken up by Steve Warren at the line.

* On Defense...The Husker defense held California to 12 yards rushing (season low is minus 21 by La Tech). Nebraska has held its opponents out of the end zone for six straight quarters (since UAB second-quarter rushing TD). Cal was 1-2 on field goals missing a 38 yarder but Timi Wolleck hit on a 40 yarder with 6:42 in the fourth quarter for the Bears’ only score. Nebraska extended its streak of games with at least one sack to 15. Against Cal, Tony Ortiz had 1-3, Chad Kelsay and Loran Kaiser split another, Steve Warren had 1-5 and Eric Johnson had 2-6. In the game, NU had a season-high five sacks.

* Offensively...today’s game marked the third-straight game that NU has totaled 150 yards passing (173 vs. La Tech, 206 vs. UAB, 180 vs. California). Nebraska is 12-12 in the red zone this season (1 TDs). It is also the third straight game this season with at least 230 yards rushing.

* Points...The three points scored by California is the least vs. the Husker Blackshirts this season, and lowest since back to back shutouts in the 1997 season. Nebraska’s 24 points is the least in a victory since a 17-12 win over Colorado in 1996.

* Next Week...The Huskers are idle, then host Washington on Sept. 26 (ABC, 2:30 p.m., Central)

Nebraska Head Coach Frank Solich on the Game
It certainly was a tough ball game. Cal played very well on both sides of the ball. We came out hard and initially put some points on the board. To their credit, they came back and played hard. I was pleased with our players. To go 3-0, I really appreciate their effort. We didn't move the ball with consistency, but we did show we could move the ball early. All in all, I was pleased with the victory. I thought there were a lot of opportunities for both teams to make something happen that could change the outcome of the game. Both defensive units played outstanding, and I think our defense was the difference in the game.

On kicking a field goal at the end of the game
If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have done it. Both teams played really hard on both sides of the ball. I just went after those three points. But if I had to do it again, we wouldn't do it.

On playing through Nebraska's injuries
When you look at it from the standpoint of being banged up, we have some depth on our team and it could make us a stronger team later on. All in all, I am really pleased with the effort our players have given considering all of the injuries.

On Cal
We knew they probably would be a very good defensive team. They are a very aggressive unit. You need to take your hats off to the whole football team. They could have got to a point where they gave up and quit, but they didn't. We expected them to be an aggressive defense that ran well and they were. They really crowded the line of scrimmage and made it more difficult to run the ball and made us go to the passing game. When you have a lead, you don't want to put it up too much. There were times when Cal made some plays and our defense responded. We didn't think it would be a game of running up and down the field the entire game.

On the Nebraska fans
We have had tremendous turnouts. It's amazing how the fans have supported us on the road. They've been amazing for a number of years.

On Cal linebacker Sekou Sanyika
He's a great player. I think in terms of their rush ends and backers, they played our option extremely well.

On Cal receiver Dameane Douglas

He certainly is a great receiver. With him, they were able to get a few things going. But our kids were in tune with what they had to do. We didn't do anything special to stop any one receiver. We knew they were a good passing team in general.

Nebraska Players on the California Game
Jay Foreman (MLB) -
Overall impression of the game:
Overall, I think it was a good effort, but I still think we can get better. To hold an offensive team like Cal to three points, in their home stadium, is pretty good. We knew we were in for a challenge. We knew that it was going to be a physical game, but that is what we like, and we can out on top today.

On the noise from Cal's fans:
It was louder than I thought it was going to be. It was a really loud crowd, and I think that is what kept them in the game. That is a big factor, when you have big crowd that is really behind you and there for you when you really need them. That was pretty awesome.

On Nebraska's strong fan showing:
When you look down at the north end zone and see all that red, it's almost like a home game. We owe this victory just as much to us as to them. I don't know if they are crazy, but something is wrong with them if they are going to fly all the way out to California for a football game, but that is just Nebraska fans; they are the best in the nation.

Ralph Brown (RCB)
On coming home:
It felt good coming back to California and playing in front of my family and friends.

On being ready to face a top-25 team:
I think this was a game we were waiting for to get that chemistry together on our defense. I know we have some offensive players out, but I think we will be ready when it's time to play Washington.

On extra effort from Kelsay:
Chad Kelsay stepped up really big today. He was making a lot of big plays. He was really hustling to the ball the whole game.

Josh Heskew (C):
On the 11 point fourth quarter spread:
We had a gut check today, coming 14-3 in the fourth quarter, and I think we responded well coming down the field and putting the ball in the end zone.

On Cal's performance:
It was a long day. They have a tough defense. We worked hard, and they worked hard, and it was just a battle in the trenches. They are tough. They scrapped us as well as we did them. I have great appreciation for them because they played their heart out today. They ran a style of defense we had trouble with against Arizona State, but we can and moved the ball a little bit on them. I think they are a great team and I wish them the best throughout the season.

Head Coach Tom Homoe on the Nebraska Game
It's a hard loss for our guys because they wanted that game bad. They prepared extremely hard for that game. It was tough because so many people were telling them to just keep it close, that it was preposterous for us to schedule a team like that. They played to win, but in the end, Nebraska was a better team than us.

On when Cal had the ball on the Nebraska 11 yard line and failed to score:
When you play a team like Nebraska, who executes very well and who makes few mistakes, and you get the ball first and ten anywhere inside the twenty, you've got to score. Period. That's why they're good, because they prohibited us from scoring. The teams that are really good somehow, some way get the points on the board. It's hard to win games when you don't score on those opportunities.

On the Cal rushing game:
Our rushing game was pretty good. The stats are deceiving. I thought we ran the ball OK. When you add in however many sacks there were and that yardage, against them, the positive rushes were good. They offset the sacks and allowed us to throw the ball around, but not anywhere near where we need to be to be champions, and that's what these guys want. They want to win ballgames, and we won't win until we can protect the quarterback and run the ball substantially against teams.

On the Cal defense:
The defense fought very courageously. They were on the field for a long time. Our defense was cramping and fatigued, and we were switching guys in and out. They wore down, but they didn't give up, they didn't break. A great indication of that was at the end of the game when Nebraska had two chances to score and didn't. Our guys had a strong will.

On what Cal will take away from this game:
We'll look at the one-on-one players and see who fought, and who had a strong street-like desire to win. The guys that didn't play to that standard will either have to step it up, or will be replaced. Hopefully, we made some improvement. But there were a lot of sacks, and a lot of hurries, and Justin (Vedder) got hit a lot. Until we can really examine it and see why it happened, we can't say if we've made any improvement or not.

On Cal's special teams:
They did a much better job. That was one area that we worked a ton on this last week, and that really helped a lot. Nebraska is a very good special teams team, and they did not make a really big impact. We may have even had the edge in that category, and I am proud of that.

Cal Players on the Nebraska Game
Marcus Fields:
On Nebraska's fan support:
I expected them to have a lot of fans out here, but I couldn't really worry about that. I just had to tune in to what I had to do, but it was hard because at times it got real loud.

On Nebraska:
Coming into the game I knew that we could play them. I have a lot of confidence in our team; we've got a lot of heart. I knew it was going to be a game. They're just another team.

On game:
It's just a loss. It doesn't matter who the other team is, it's just a loss.

Langston Walker:
On level of game play:
The game is a lot quicker than practice. Usually the only people are your teammates, but here there were 70,000 people screaming in the stands. On natural development: it's just a game under my belt. It makes no difference if the other team was Nebraska. It is some experience, now I know what the speed is for a game.

Sekou Sanyika:
On defending the wishbone:

It's the most confusing offense you can play against. When there are three options on whose getting the ball, it's really tough to defend. On second half: We thought we had it in the first half. We were confident going into the second half that if we stuck with what we were running we would be successful.

Learn from game:
It's confidence building in a way, but its hard to take a loss like this because if we'd have executed on four or five different plays we easily could have won.

Marquis Smith:
On Nebraska's long plays: Our execution at times just broke down. They caught us right where we made our little mistakes, but they didn't do anything that we didn't expect.

On Execution:
This game came down to execution. They didn't out-muscle us. I thought they were going to be playing a lot harder. It wasn't something that I expected from a defending national championship team, but they beat us.

Albert Dorsey:
On missing Beck: Keith {Miller} and {Justin} Flagg did a heck of a job, but we still need Matt {Beck}. Hopefully next week he can play.

Confidence building:
I thought it did. We were wearing them down. You could see in their eyes that they were afraid of us. At first they wouldn't talk to us, but by the second-half they began talking to us like they wanted to be our friends.