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Huskers Rebound to Down Cyclones

Ames, Iowa -- Behind the punishing running of reserve I-back Dan Alexander, the No. 14/15 Huskers rebounded to defeat Iowa State, 42-7, in Ames.

Alexander, making his first career start, rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries as the Huskers churned out 359 rushing yards in snowy conditions.

Iowa State nearly got an early break when the Cyclones partially blocked a Bill Lafleur punt, but ISU fumbled on the return and reserve linebacker Josh Kohl recovered at the Iowa State 42-yard line. The Huskers capitalized five plays later as Alexander scored on a nine-yard run to take a 7-0 lead.

The Cyclones drove deep into NU territory before Husker free safety Clint Finley intercepted a Todd Bandhauer pass at the goal line and returned it to the 21. The interception was the first of Finley’s career and one of four ISU miscues on the afternoon. Finley’s interception set up a 79-yard, 13-play drive that Alexander capped with a three-yard run to make it 14-0.

Finley added a second interception on the next series, but NU was unable to capitalize. Late in the first half, the Huskers extended their lead to 21-0 as I-back Correll Buckhalter scored from one yard to cap a seven-play, 47-yard drive with 44 seconds remaining in the half.

After Alexander’s third touchdown of the day increased the Husker lead to 28-0, NU added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, a 16-yard run by senior quarterback Monte Christo and a 65-yard interception return by Joe Walker. With that return, Walker became only the fifth player in NCAA history to return an interception, punt and kickoff return for a touchdown in the same season.

While the Huskers converted Cyclone mistakes into scores, the NU defense held ISU to zero yards rushing after three quarters and allowed 227 yards of total offense. The Cyclones scored a late touchdown to avoid a shutout.

Erwin Swiney led NU with eight tackles, while Tony Ortiz added five, including four tackles for loss.

Postgame Notes
Ames, Iowa -The No. 14/15 Nebraska Cornhuskers improved to 8-2 on the season (4-2 in Big 12 Conference play) with a 42-7 win over Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. Snow fell throughout the game, with some accumulation in the second half. The Huskers jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead converting two of three ISU first-half turnovers (NU converted three ISU turnovers to 21 points in the game). Nebraska has now won six straight against the Cyclones and have now won at least eight games on the season and eight regular-season games for 30 straight years (every year since 1968). The Huskers have rebounded well after losses this season, shutting out Kansas (41-0) after a 28-21 loss to A&M and winning 42-7 today after losing 20-16 last week to Texas (ISU did not get on the board until 4:47 remained in the game and Husker reserves were in the game).

* Three First-Time Starters...Three Huskers earned their first start of the year/career. Dan Alexander started at I-back, Russ Hochstein started at right guard and Tracey Wistrom started at tight end as NU opened in a two-tight end set.

* I-back Dan Alexander...In his first career start, I-back Dan Alexander, who began the year No. 3 on the depth chart, rushed a career-high 22 times for a career-best 110 yards and a career-high three TDs. It is his first 100-yard rushing day and NU’s fourth consecutive game with a 100-yard rusher. Dan entered the game with 45 carries for 237 yards and one TD on the season. He scored the Huskers’ first touchdown with a 9-yard run to give NU a 7-0 lead with :28 in the first quarter. On that five-play drive, Alexander had three carries for 19 yards. Alexander scored again on a 3-yard run with 6:50 in the second quarter to put NU up 14-0. Both of those two TDs were set up by ISU turnovers. His third TD was a 1-yard run with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter, which gave the Huskers a 28-0 lead. Alexander’s previous career best was 15-90 vs. Kansas this year. His only other TD before today was in the season-opener vs. Louisiana Tech.

* Quarterback Eric Crouch...In his third start of the season (also started against UAB and California), he performed well. Crouch rushed 15 times for 91 yards. He completed 4-8 passes for 44 yards. Crouch was intercepted once, by Kip King and it was returned 51 yards to the NU 36. That is his second interception of the season (also one vs. California, long pass at end of first half).

* Free Safety Clint Finley...Recorded his first and second career interceptions against Iowa State. The Huskers converted the first to a TD. The first was with 12:51 in the second quarter as ISU was driving. He picked off a short Todd Bandhauer pass in the end zone and returned it 21 yards. NU scored 13 plays later on Alexander’s 3-yard run. His second was a long-pass interception with 6:33 remaining in the second (NU did not convert to a score). The last time an individual Husker had two pickoffs in one game was Mike Minter vs. Michigan State on Sept. 7, 1996 (2-87-1 TD).

* Joe Walker Makes NCAA History. With his 65-yard interception return in the fourth quarter, NU sophomore rover Joe Walker joins four others in NCAA history to score at least one touchdown in each category (punt returns, kickoff returns and interception returns). He joins Joe Crocker, Virginia, 1994; Scott Thomas, Air Force, 1985; Mark Haynes, Arizona State; and Dick Harris, South Carolina, 1970. Walker had a 99-yard kickoff return vs. Louisiana Tech and a 73-yard punt return vs. Oklahoma State this season.

* Place-Kicker Kris Brown...missed his first field goal attempt of the game a 38-yard kick that went wide right with 7:47 in the first quarter. Brown was successful on six PATs, extending his school-record streak to 122. Brown needs just three more PATs and five more PAT attempts to tie the NCAA career record in those categories.

* Fullback Joel Makovicka...rushed six times for 30 yards and is now just 16 yards short of third on the NU career fullback rushing chart (Tom Rathman’s 1,425 in 1981-85). Makovicka now has 1,409 yards and 13 TDs (school career record for fullbacks). He also caught two passes for 25 yards against ISU, giving him 4-67 on the season (his season best is 5-60-1 TD in 1997).

* I-back Correll Buckhalter...scored his first TD of the season since the Kansas game and eighth rushing TD overall with :44 remaining in the first half, on a 2-yard run. In the game, Buckhalter rushed seven times for 33 yards and one TD.

* Split End Matt Davison...has caught at least one pass in every game this season. Today he caught 1-7.

* Turnovers...The Huskers converted three of four Iowa State turnovers into 21 points. ISU did not covert on NU’s only turnover when Crouch was intercepted in the third quarter. In the first quarter, punter Bill Lafleur bobbled the snap, and had his fist punt blocked this season (blocked by Jamarcus Powers), but on the 14-yard punt, Jarrott Lollis fumbled, Josh Kohl recovered for Nebraska, and NU went on to score five plays later on a Dan Alexander 9-yard run. NU also converted Clint Finley’s first interception to a TD, scoring 13 plays later on an Alexander 3-yard run, but punted after three plays on Finley’s second interception. In the fourth quarter NU rover Joe Walker returned a Bandhauer interception 65 yards for a TD, giving NU 21 points on turnovers.

* Sacks...NU applied two sacks on Iowa State, while Husker QBs were not sacked. RE Chad Kelsay had 1-7; DT Jason Wiltz had 1-7 .

* Defensive Notes...The Huskers have posted 87 straight wins when holding its opponents to 10 or less points (since losing 10-7 to Iowa in 1981 season opener). In fact, NU is 195-5-1 since 1962 when holding opponents to 10 or less (5-0 under Coach Solich). NU finished with a 32:?41 to 27:19 edge in possession time, including 11:14 - 03:46 in the first quarter and 21:00 - 09:00 at halftime. The defense held the Cyclones to just 103 yards rushing and 227 total offense yards. NU has held five opponents to less than 100 yards rushing this season (ISU finished with 103). ISU had 20 carries for zero yards after three quarters, and Darren Davis had 14-28 (Davis finished with 18-48). NU tied the season best of most interceptions in a game with three (also had three vs. Washington).


Nebraska Head Coach FRANK SOLICH:
"I thought we played very well today. I was pleased with our defense and offensively we moved the ball much better. All in all, I was pleased with both sides of the ball. (Dan) Alexander ran really well. Hes got great strength and real power. Hes really coming on. Our offensive line blocked well. We did an excellent job of operating our offense. I was pleased with Eric (Crouch). Hes a guy I feel very confident in running every phase of our offense."

Nebraska Center JOSH HESHEW:
"The snow and weather made for a good day for us. We started the game beating them and moving the ball. Our team had fun out there today."

Nebraska Fullback JOEL MAKOVICKA: "We executed a lot better today and that showed in scoring 42 points on a sloppy field. We wanted to come out today and execute well. Today our team showed we were competitive. We have a lot of confidence. We havent lost any pride."

Nebraska Defensive End CHAD KELSAY:
"We came out strong and continued to dominate Iowa State. Our team came out today looking for a shutout. We were also looking for turnovers."

Nebraska Quarterback ERIC CROUCH:
"This game was important to play hard in. We bounced back from last weekend to build confidence against Kansas State. I feel confident playing with the people around me. Our offense can accomplish a lot of things."

Iowa State Head Coach DAN MCCARNEY:

"Nebraska is a real fine football team."

"Our kids were ready to play...we had a few too many penalties on our part."

"I would also like to see some more points on the board."

"They [Nebraska] did real fine on defense as usual...we need to keep improving. Putting a hat on a hat isnt good enough in this league."

"Dan Alexander is a load. He is a real good back. He is a fine Division I back, he had a good day."

Regarding Nebraskas muffed punt which they recovered after ISUs Jarrot Lollis touched:
"The muffed punt hurt our confidence.We started fast.We did some real good things early in the game."

Iowa State Punter CARL GOMEZ:
"Punting was tough today. Bad weather makes the ball tough to control. Im very glad that Coach McCarney is coming back; hes a great coach and I wanted him to be here my entire career."

Iowa State Quarterback TODD BANDHAUER:
"We all try to get pumped up for every game. Today I made some plays that I wish I had back, but we have to move on to Colorado. Nebraska has a great front seven. We couldnt get anything going on offense and we give them credit for that. Penalties hurt us a lot too."

Iowa State Lineman CHARLEY BOGWILL:
"It comes down to fundamentals. Nebraska executed very well today. On the offensive line, no matter what the weather, you still have to block and keep your feet."