Postgame notes: 2001 Nebraska vs. Kansas football
Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics
No. 2/2/1 Nebraska (AP/Coaches/BCS) defeated Kansas at Lawrence, 51-7, in front of a sellout crowd of 50,750 (first sellout since 1992), the fourth-largest crowd ever in KU’s Memorial Stadium. This is the 108th meeting between Nebraska and Kansas and the 96th consecutive, making the series the longest continuous series in Division I-A.
The win for the Huskers was Nebraska’s 12th straight overall. It gave NU a 10-0 record for the first time under Solich, the fifth time since 90 and the 11th time overall. It guaranteed Nebraska’s third consecutive 10-win season; marked Nebraska’s 33rd straight win over Kansas, 17th straight win over KU in Lawrence; and gave Coach Solich 41 career wins in four years (ranking him tied for fourth among Division I-A Coaches for wins in first four years. It also was Nebraska’s seventh straight Big 12 Conference win, third straight on the road and improved NU’s record to 1-1 when ranked No. 1 in the BCS.
Nebraska got on the board for the first time on its third drive, which began on the NU 40. Nebraska did not score on its first two drives, despite starting on the KU 43 and 29. It marked the second straight game and the third time this season that the Huskers did not get on the board in the first quarter. The defense held Kansas scoreless and to four total offense yards, however, with KU’s only first down coming on penalty. It was the sixth time this season that the Blackshirts held its opponent scoreless in the first quarter. Nebraska quickly scored in the second quarter on its third drive of the game, with a 10-yard Dahrran Diedrick 10-yard run with 14:12 left. Nebraska increased its lead to 10-0 on a Josh Brown 32-yard field goal with 8:27 left in the second quarter and increased that lead to 17-0, after Keyuo Craver gave the Huskers the ball on the KU 21 with a career-long 50-yard punt return and I-back Thunder Collins scored on the next play on a 21-yard run to give NU a 17-0 lead with 6:47 remaining in the second quarter. Brown gave the Huskers a 20-0 halftime lead with a season-best 43-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. NU tacked on 31 second-half points for the final 51-7 margin as quarterback Eric Crouch scored on a one-yard run; Brown hit on a 32-yard field goal (his third of the game), Ben Cornelsen scored on a 71-yard punt return; Diedrick scored on a 33-yard run; and QB Jammal Lord scored on a 33-yard run.
In the game, the Huskers totaled 448 yards, including 284 by rush, while the Husker Blackshirts held the Jayhawks to just 203 total-offense yards and 124 by rush (-12 rushing and six total-offense yards at halftime). NU held the shutout until 5:50 remaining in the game, when KU drove 80 yards in 10 plays to pull within 44-7.
• Senior quarterback Eric Crouch is 34-5 as a starter, becoming just the 10th quarterback in Division I-A history to record 34 wins as a starter and passing 1995 Heisman Trophy runner-up Tommie Frazier for the Nebraska school record. He is five wins away from the NCAA record. Frazier had 33 wins against three losses from 1992 to 1995. Against Kansas, Crouch carried 13 times for 49 yards and one TD (a one-yard run in the third quarter which put NU up 27-0). He completed 14-of-24 passes for 164 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns. Crouch now has 3,166 career rushing yards and moved from fourth to third on NU’s all-time rushing list, passing Calvin Jones, who had 3,153 rushing yards from 1991 to 1993. Crouch also has 4,223 passing yards to rank third at NU and moved up from 11th to eighth on the Big 12 passing chart.
• Junior I-back Dahrran Diedrick carried 21 times for 136 yards vs. the Jayhawks with two touchdowns. He scored on a 10-yard run to put the Huskers on board with 14:12 left in the second quarter. He also scored on a 38-yard run which put him over the 100-yard rushing mark. The 38-yard score was his longest TD run and tied his longest run of the season. Diedrick became the 24th Husker to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and now has 1,097 on 193 carries and 12 TDs. Diedrick has had 100 rushing yards in four of the last five games and in six of the nine games he played in this year. Diedrick has 1,612 career rushing yards to rank 26th all time at NU.
• Senior tight end Tracey Wistrom’s streak of at least one catch in the last 12 games came to an end this season, although one catch was called back.
• Split end Wilson Thomas had a team-best six catches for 65 yards vs. Kansas. The six catches ties his career best of six set last week vs. Oklahoma (6-48). He has now caught at least one pass in each of the last seven games and in all but one this season. He has made at least two catches in eight games this season and at least three catches in seven games. Thomas has had at least four catches in the last three games. Thomas now has 34 catches for 507 yards and three TDs. His 34 catches on the season is tied for the eighth highest single-season total in school history, while the yardage is the 11th most.
• Place-Kicker Josh Brown missed on a 38-yard field goal attempt early on Nebraska’s second drive, breaking a streak of four straight field goals this season. Brown hit on a 32-yarder with 8?27 remaining in the second quarter to put the Huskers up 10-0. As time expired in the first half, Brown hit on a season-best 43-yard field goal to give NU a 20-0 halftime lead. He also hit on a 32-yarder with 14:08 remaining in the game, marking the third straight game he has hit two-or-more field goals in a game and the ninth time in his career. The three field goals ties his career best as he was also three of four vs. Texas A&M in 1999. Brown is now 8-of-11 in field goals on the year. Brown moved from 12th into the Husker top 10 in scoring with 14 points vs. Kansas (career high for points in a game). He now has 216 to rank ninth, passing No. 11 Rich Sanger, PK (203, 1971-73), Gregg Barrios, PK (205, 1986-90) and Bobby Reynolds, HB/PK (1950-52). Brown is now 27-of-41 on field goals in his career. The 27 field goals ranks tied for second most in school history with Dale Klein (27-of-41) and passing Gregg Barrios’ 26 (of 35).
• Defense…Sacks…Nebraska has now had at least one sack in every game this season and in 21 straight games (counting the Alamo Bowl). NU had two sacks for 25 yards against Kansas, with 1-11 by rush end Demoine Adams (Adams leads the team with five on the season) and 1-14 by LB Scott Shanle. NU has had at least two sacks in each of the last four games. RE Chris Kelsay leads the team in tackles for loss (17-58) and had 5-21 vs. Kansas, leading the team with seven tackles. Shanle had four tackles in the game, including one sack and two tackles for loss. In the game, Nebraska had 13 tackles for loss, marking the sixth time this season that NU has had at least 10 tackles for loss. Senior left cornerback Keyuo Craver had a solid game on defense with two tackles. Craver also had a career-best and team season-best 50-yard punt return in the second quarter, which set up Collins’ 21-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. He had four punt returns for a career-best 63 yards.
• Turnovers…Nebraska (None)…Kansas 3 (1 fumble, two interceptions)…In the first quarter, NU rush end Justin Smith caused Mario Kinsey to fumble on a devastating hit, and fellow rush end J.P. Wichmann recovered. Nebraska did not convert as Josh Brown missed on a 38-yard field goal. Kansas QB Kinsey also turned the ball over on an interception on KU’s first drive of the second half when Lornell McPherson recorded his second interception of the year (-6 on return). NU drove 52 yards on five plays and scored on a Crouch two-yard run to go up 27-0. Junior CB DeJuan Groce recorded his third interception of the season and fourth of his career when he picked off Kinsey with 4:55 remaining in the third quarter. NU did not convert. NU has intercepted 15 passes this season and has had at least one in eight of 10 games this season. On the year, Nebraska has turned 13 of 23 turnovers into 82 points.
• Firsts and Bests…TE Kyle Ringenberg caught a career-long 20-yard pass from Crouch on NU’s second scoring drive that resulted in a 32-yard field goal. It is the second straight game he has had a reception and just the second in his career (1-19 vs. OU). He also had a 10-yard catch in the second half, giving him a career-best two catches for 30 yards. Wingback Ben Cornelsen returned a punt 71 yards for a TD with 12:19 remaining in the game. It was his career long and NU’s first punt return for a TD this season, and the first since Bobby Newcombe had a school-record long 94-yard return vs. Missouri in 2000. NU had two long punt returns on the night (also Craver). Ben Zajicek partially blocked Chris Tyrrell’s punt, the third blocked kick this year (second punt). No. 2 quarterback Jammal Lord recorded a 33-yard TD run with five minutes remaining in the game to give NU a 51-7 lead. It was Lord’s longest run of his career and his sixth rushing TD.
• Other…Injuries…Fullback Judd Davies did not make the trip (sprained ankle).
• Next Week…Nebraska host Kansas State in a 2:30 p.m. ABC regional kickoff. Kansas is at Texas.