Courtesy: NU Media Relations | 09/06/2002

Lincoln – Quarterback Jammal Lord threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for two more as No. 9/8 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska celebrated its 250th consecutive sellout with a 44-13 victory over Utah State Saturday evening.

Jammal Lord
Jammal Lord accounted for four touchdowns in the win over Utah State. | Courtesy: Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations
Jammal Lord
Jammal Lord accounted for four touchdowns in the win over Utah State. | Courtesy: Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations

The junior from Bayonne, N.J., led Nebraska to scores on six of its first eight first-half possessions as the Huskers, who improved to 3-0 on the season, raced out to a 37-7 halftime lead and cruised to the win over the Aggies, who dropped to 0-2 on the year.

Lord rushed for 59 yards on nine carries, scoring on runs of one and 28 yards, while completing 6-of-12 passes for 105 yards, including first-half touchdown tosses to Wilson Thomas and Matt Herian.

While Lord guided the Husker offense with efficiency, the Blackshirts were opportunistic, picking off four passes, including a pair by All-America and Thorpe Award candidate DeJuan Groce. The Blackshirts also recorded six sacks in allowing just one touchdown by the Aggies.

The sellout crowd of 78,176, marked NU’s NCAA record 250th consecutive sellout dating back to Nov. 3, 1962, and broke the previous Memorial Stadium attendance record of 78,118 set against Notre Dame last season.

After holding Utah State to one first down on its opening drive, the Huskers took possession and went 37 yards on eight plays, setting up Josh Brown’s 44-yard field goal 5:42 into the contest. Brown is now a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts this season, including three from beyond 40 yards.

Nebraska extended the lead to 10-0 on its next possession, as the Husker defense forced a three-and-out, while a penalty on the ensuing punt gave NU the ball at the Utah State 22. The Huskers would cash in four plays later, as fullback Judd Davies plunged in from one yard for his second touchdown of the season.

The Huskers forced another punt before striking quickly for their second touchdown of the quarter, as Lord found Thomas for a 23-yard scoring strike on NU’s first play of the series to give the hosts a 17-point advantage.

Utah State quickly came right back, trimming the Husker lead to 17-7 with 3:19 remaining in the first quarter, as Aggie quarterback Jose Fuentes found Kevin Curtis for a 26-yard touchdown to cap a four-play, 80-yard drive. The scoring toss would be one of the few Aggie highlights in the half, as Utah State gained 126 yards in the first half and committed a pair of turnovers.

Curtis finished with 102 yards on six catches, as Utah State threw for 246 yards, including 159 in the second half, in the loss.

Nebraska built the lead back to 24-7, going 66 yards in five plays, as Lord found a wide open Herian for a 33-yard TD pass on the first play of the second quarter. The catch was the first career reception for the true freshman from Pierce, Neb., and gave NU a 17-point advantage.

Groce, who picked off a pair of passes in the win over Troy State last week, snuffed out the Aggies’ next drive with his third interception of the season, setting up another short Husker touchdown drive.

Behind the punishing running of I-back Dahrran Diedrick, who rushed for 62 yards on eight carries in the first half, the Huskers swiftly moved down the field before Lord’s one-yard keeper gave the Huskers a 31-7 cushion.

Diedrick led the Husker ground attack with 93 yards on 16 carries, as the Huskers rushed for 288 yards in the win.

Lord added his second scoring jaunt of the evening on NU’s subsequent possession, running the option to perfection for a 28-yard scoring run to finish a six-play, 67-yard scoring drive. NU’s extra point attempt failed after a mishandled high snap, but the Huskers still took a 37-7 lead into halftime.

Groce’s second interception of the evening set up the Huskers’ next score, a 13-yard run by redshirt freshman I-back Cory Ross, capping a 36-yard scoring drive, as NU extended the lead to 44-7 late in the third quarter.

Utah State made the score respectable with a pair of fourth-quarter field goals by Dane Kidman.

The Huskers hit the road for the first time next Saturday, when they travel to Penn State for a nationally televised contest against the Nittany Lions. Kickoff for the ABC telecast is set for 7 p.m. (Central).

Quick hits: Kyle Larson’s 71-yard punt in the first quarter was a career long, breaking his previous best of 68 against Oklahoma, and averaged 57.3 yards per punt on four attempts … NU is now 7-0 all-time against Utah State … the win was also the 300th for defensive backs coach George Darlington, who is in his 30th year on the Nebraska coaching staff … NU is 5-0 in the milestone games of the sellout streak and 224-26 during the streak … NU has started the season with a 3-0 record for the sixth straight season … Utah State has lost four in a row dating back to last season … freshman cornerback Fabian Washington missed tonight’s game because he was at his grandmother’s funeral in Florida … With his 93 yards tonight, Diedrick went over the 2,000-yard mark for his career, becoming the 21st Husker to reach that plateau. He now has 2,049 career rushing yards.


Postgame notes

The No. 9/8 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska defeated Utah State in Lincoln, 44-13. Nebraska senior All-America candidate DeJuan Groce had two interceptions in the game for the second time this season and the Husker offense scored on five of its first six possessions. NU improves to 3-0, while Utah State drops to 0-2.

The game marked Memorial Stadium’s 250th consecutive sellout and the fans enjoyed a special pregame and halftime ceremony, and fireworks both at halftime and at the end of the game as Nebraska saluted those who died on Sept. 11 and the best fans in America. The win marked Nebraska’s 24th straight home victory (nation’s longest); gave NU a 7-0 edge in the series; and gave Coach Frank Solich his 45th win in five seasons and his 20th win in 22 tries against a non-conference opponent. The win also gave NU secondary coach George Darlington his 300th win as an assistant coach at Nebraska. Darlington joined the Huskers for Tom Osborne’s first year in 1973, assisting Osborne’s teams to 255 wins. With Coach Frank Solich, Darlington has been a part of 45 more wins.

  • DeJuan Groce Key on Defense and Special Teams…Senior cornerback DeJuan Groce continued to make his case for All-America and Jim Thorpe Award honors after intercepting two Jose Fuentes passes. He returned the second interception for 21 yards. He now has four interceptions this season and eight in his career. Groce also had four punt returns for 66 yards, including a long of 27 yards. Groce now ranks sixth on the NU career punt return chart (passing Irving Fryar) with 737 yards. He had one tackle and one pass breakup. Both of Groce’s interceptions led to Husker touchdowns (14 points).
  • I-Back Dahrran Diedrick hits 2,000 career yard rushing mark with his 22-yard carry on NU’s second drive of the second quarter. With that 22-yard run, Diedrick totaled 2,001 yards (on his 362nd attempt), joining 20 other Huskers to hit the 2,000 career rushing mark. Diedrick had 1,956 entering tonight’s game and with 93 yards on 16 carries tonight, now has 2,049 to rank 21st all time at NU.
  • Quarterback Jammal Lord…Lord had another solid rushing game and led the Huskers to their third straight win as NU’s starting quarterback. Lord carried nine times for 59 yards and completed 6-of-12 passes for 105 yards and no interceptions. Lord had a long run of 28 yards for a second-quarter score, and also scored on a one-yard run. Lord also threw two touchdown passes, completing a 23-yarder to Wilson Thomas and a 33-yarder to Matt Herian, all in the first half. This marked the first game that Lord scored more than one rushing or threw more than one passing touchdown. For the second straight game, Lord threw for more than 100 yards (career-high 114 vs. Troy State).
  • Husker Firsts and Bests…Split end Ross Pilkington caught his first career passes as a Husker. The true freshman caught a nine-yard pass from Lord and an 11-yard pass from Mike Stuntz. True freshman tight end Matt Herian made his first career reception memorable as he scored on a 33-yard touchdown from Lord. Split end Wilson Thomas had his first career run on a lateral from Lord for a gain of nine yards. Wingback Ben Cornelsen had a career-long 20-yard reception, his first this season and a career-best 2-34 in the game. Quarterback Mike Stuntz completed his first pass this season, and his first as a quarterback (had 63-yard TD pass to Crouch last season) and was 2-for-3 in the game for 25 yards. Kickoff returner Josh Davis had a season-long 42-yard kickoff return and with the yards moved up from eighth to fifth with 827 in his career, passing Pat Fischer (786, 1958-60), Ron Clark (797, 1949, 50, 54) and Frank Solich (818, 1963-65). Davis rushed for a career-best 51 yards on seven carries. As a team, the Huskers had a season-best 288 yards rushing, with the aid of 10 different rushers.
  • Husker Kickers Have Banner Day…Punter Kyle Larson had a career-long 71-yard punt, bettering his previous best of 68 yards vs. Oklahoma in 2001. Larson averaged a career-best 57.3 yards per punt (4-229 yards), just off the school record (57.6 by Dan Hadenfeldt vs. Colorado, 1999). Josh Brown kicked his third 40-yard field goal of the year with a 44 yarder to lead off the Husker scoring. He is 4-4 this season, and has made nine of his last 10 attempts and six in a row. Brown is now 6-of-12 on 40-yard field goals, 3-for-3 this year. Brown scored eight points in the game and now has 254 in his career to move up from seventh to sixth, passing Calvin Jones’ 252 from 1991-93.
  • Sacks…Nebraska had a season-high six sacks for 40 yards. RE Chris Kelsay had 2-13 (1-6 and 1-7); MLB Barrett Ruud had 1-8, causing a fumble; NT Le Kevin Smith had 1-6 (career first); WLB T.J. Hollowell had 1-5 and NT Titus Adams had 1-8 (career first). USU was held to 70 yards rushing. Three Huskers had two tackles for losses, including Kelsay (2-13), L. Smith (2-7) and Ruud (2-9).
  • Pressure and Turnovers…Ruud also caused an interception when he hurried QB Jose Fuentes to hurry his throw, he was picked off by DeJuan Groce. NU scored seven points Fuente’s second interception of the day (caused by a Lannie Hopkins’ hurry), which Pat Ricketts intercepted (second in career, first this season). It is the second straight week Ricketts has been on the receiving end of a turnover, recovering a fumble vs. Troy State. Ricketts also broke up three passes vs. ASU. Groce recorded his second interception of the game late in the third quarter (fourth this season, eighth in career), marking the second time this season that Groce has had two picks in a game (also Troy State, when he scored on both). Unofficially, WLB Demorrio Williams led the team with six tackles.
  • Next Week…Nebraska travels to Penn State (8 p.m. Central, ABC), while Utah State hosts Idaho State