Eric CrouchEric Crouch ran for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, while the Husker defense held Kansas State quarterbacks to just 7 of 31 passing as No. 7/6 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska defeated No. 5 Kansas State, 41-15, in Lincoln Saturday afternoon.

With the win, NU improves to 9-1 on the season, while ending KSU’s streak of 21 straight Big 12 regular-season wins. It was the Wildcats’ first conference loss since a 56-26 setback to Nebraska in 1997. The win assures NU of its 31st straight nine-win season and puts the Huskers into a first-place tie with KSU in the Big 12 North Division. Nebraska needs to win at Colorado on Nov. 26 to clinch a share of the North Division title and a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Not even a school record 10 fumbles by the Huskers could help the Wildcats, who were looking for their first back-to-back victories over Nebraska since 1958 and 1959.

The Wildcats, who have not won in Lincoln since 1968, had a break on the Huskers’ first possession as I-back Dan Alexander fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and Kansas State’s Lamar Chapman picked up the fumble at the NU 27. The Husker defense stiffened before Kyle Vanden Bosch blocked Jamie Rheem’s 40-yard field goal attempt. The block was Vanden Bosch’s third in the last two games and ended Rheem’s streak of 15 straight field goals.

The Husker special teams made another big play later in the quarter as wingback Bobby Newcombe returned a punt 28 yards to the KSU 44-yard line. Crouch put the Huskers on the scoreboard four plays later, scoring from 30 yards out on a draw to give the Huskers a 7-0 lead nine minutes into the contest.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskers forced a turnover when linebacker Mark Vedral forced a Terence Newman fumble which Ralph Brown recoved at the 27-yard line and returned it to the KSU 1-yard line, but Correll Buckhalter fumbled on the next play, ending the scoring drive.

Randy StellaThe Husker defense held, forcing a punt which was blocked by linebacker Randy Stella and sent out of the endzone for a safety. It was the Huskers’ fifth blocked punt of the season, and first of the day, giving NU a 9-0 advantage.

The Huskers would extend the lead to 16-0, driving 73 yards on 11 plays, capped by Crouch’s second score of the day as the sophomore from Omaha hit paydirt from 18 yards out. The Huskers used a balanced attack in the drive which took almost four minutes, as Crouch connected with sophomore tight end Tracey Wistrom two times for 40 yards.

The Wildcats took advantage of David Allen’s 44-yard return set up their first score of the day, a 1-yard run by Justin Beasley, to cut the lead to 16-6 as the two-point attempt failed. Beasley set up the score with a 32-yard completion to Quincy Morgan to the NU 4-yard line before the junior quarterback scored three plays later.

Nebraska, which has won six straight games against top-10 teams in Lincoln, extended the margin to 24-6 as the Huskers went 62 yards on 14 plays before fullback Willie Miller scored from 4-yards out. Crouch, who had 124 yards on 18 carries in the first half, set up the score, finding Wistrom for 14 yards on a third-and-11 play as Crouch threw while being hit on the play.

Jamie Rheem cut the lead to 24-9 in the final seconds of the half, hitting on a 35-yard field goal with 25 seconds left in the half to cap a nine-play, 62-yard drive. Beasley, who was 3-of-13 for 100 yards in the first half, connected with Morgan on a 55-yard screen pass to the NU 18-yard line, but could not get into the endzone before settling for the field goal.

Beasley was 0-for-6 in the second half, finishing the game 3-for-19 for 100 yards passing before giving way to Adam Helm in the third quarter.

Carlos PolkNebraska took advantage of K-State’s second fumble as Mike Brown forced an Adam Helm fumble at the KSU 44. Nebraska drove 31 yards on seven plays and pushed the margin to 27-9 on Josh Brown’s 30-yard field goal with 12:34 remaining.

On KSU’s next possession, Mike Brown forced his second turnover of the day, intercepting a Helm pass at the KU 46. NU take advantage quickly as I-back Dahrran Diedrick took a handoff and went 46-yards for the TD, giving NU a 34-9 lead.

Helm scored in a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter before Eric Johnson’s 15-yard fumble return with 3:10 remaining provided the final margin.

Source: Nebraska Athletics

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