Postgame notes & quotes: 2001 Nebraska vs. Baylor football
Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics
The No. 4/4 Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-0, 3-0) continued conference action at Baylor (2-3, 0-3), defeating the Bears, 48-7, in a driving rainstorm in Waco which included a 36-minute lightning delay with 7:34 remaining in the first half. Prior to the delay, the Huskers jumped to a 14-0 lead, on a Judd Davies 42-yard touchdown run and a nine-yard run by Eric Crouch. On Nebraska’s second possession of the day, the Huskers marched 63 yards on five plays, capped by Davies 42-yard touchdown run to give the Huskers a 7-0 lead just 8:08 into the contest. The Huskers capitalized on Keyuo Craver’s second interception of the season and 16-yard return to the BU 22 before Crouch cashed in the Bears’ turnover just 1:01 later, going the final nine yards to give the visitors a 14-0 advantage.
Following the delay, Baylor cut the NU lead to 14-7 as Crouch fumbled in the end zone which Stephen Sepulveva recovered for a Bear touchdown, marking only the second time this year an opponent has converted a Husker turnover. NU outrushed Baylor, 267-(-2) in the first half, but fumbled four times, losing three of them. Nebraska went up 21-7 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter as Crouch scored on a one-yard run and improved the lead to 21 points when Dahrran Diedrick scored on a eight-yard run with 9:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. NU tacked on two more rushing TDs in the fourth quarter, a 22-yard run by Judd Davies and a 13-yard run by Josh Davis, his career first.
The win extended Nebraska’s consecutive winning season streak to a nation-leading 40 years, a figure that ranks second all time behind Notre Dame’s NCAA record 42 consecutive winning seasons from 1889 to 1932. The win for Nebraska was NU’s ninth straight overall; marked NU’s sixth consecutive over Baylor; was Coach Frank Solich’s second straight over Baylor in two tries; and marked Nebraska’s second straight Big 12 Conference road win.
Today’s victory marks the 20th time in school history that the Huskers have started a season 7-0, the 16th time in the Devaney-Osborne-Solich era (since 1962) and seventh time in the last 12 seasons. The seven wins also makes Nebraska the second team nationally and first Big 12 team (after 6-0 Maryland) to be officially bowl eligible, as NU will attend its NCAA-record 33rd consecutive bowl and 40th bowl appearance following the season.
• Senior quarterback Eric Crouch improves to 31-5 as a starter, becoming just the 23rd quarterback in Division I-A history to record 31 wins as a starter and ranks two wins behind Tommie Frazier on the Nebraska school-record list. Frazier went 33-3 from 1992 to 1995. In the Baylor game, Crouch carried 18 times for 132 yards and three TDs. In the rain, Crouch completed 4-of-9 passes for 47 yards. Crouch scored Nebraska’s second touchdown of the day on a nine-yard run, to give NU a 14-0 lead with 12:03 left in the second quarter. He scored his second on a one-yard run with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. His third touchdown run of four yards broke Tommie Frazier’s school record of 79 total-offense TDs, set from 1992 to 1995, as Crouch now has 80, including an NCAA-record (by a Division I-A quarterback) 54 by rush. He has scored at least one touchdown in the Huskers’ last four games and in six of seven games this season. With a 44-yard run in the fourth quarter, Crouch went over the 100-yard rushing mark with 10:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, marking the third straight game this season Crouch has rushed for 100 or more (191 vs. Missouri, 104 vs. Iowa State). Crouch has rushed for 100 yards or more 13 times in his career and has had multiple rushing TDs 17 times in his career.
• Junior I-back Dahrran Diedrick finished the afternoon with 137 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown, posting his fourth 100-yard game of the season (also vs. Troy State, Notre Dame and Iowa State). The junior leads the Huskers with 714 yards this season and now has 1,229 in his career. Diedrick’s backup, Thunder Collins, recorded his first 100-yard rushing game with a team-best 165 yards on 13 carries, bettering his previous best of 71 yards vs. TCU, including career-long runs of 44 and 50 yards. Sophomore fullback Judd Davies enjoyed his best game of the season, carrying 12 times for a career-best 119 yards and two touchdowns, nearly doubling his season total (62 coming into today’s game). The Millard North product raced 42 yards on his first carry of the day to give NU a 7-0 advantage. His run was a season long, topping his season high of 11 versus Notre Dame, and also a career long score, as both of his previous two touchdowns were three-yard runs (vs. Kansas, 2000; vs. Rice, 2001). He added a second touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 22-yard run. Sophomore I-back/kick returner Josh Davis provided a spark on special teams, returning three kicks for 85 yards, setting career bests in both categories. He started the game with a 32-yard return and added a 29-yard return in the second quarter. He now has seven returns of 25-yards or better this season. Davis also rushed two times for 25 yards, including his first career rushing TD, a 13-yard run to end the scoring in the fourth quarter.
• Four 100-yard rushers…Diedrick (137), Crouch (132), Collins (165) and Davies (119) all finished with 100 yards or more rushing. This marks the second time this season that NU has had multiple 100-yard rushers as Diedrick (107) and Crouch (104) accomplished the feat vs. Iowa State last week, and marks the 54th time in NU history that has happened. When Crouch hit the 100-yard mark with a 44 yard run in the fourth quarter with 10:45 remaining and Davies hit the mark with his 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter with 2:41 remaining, Nebraska tied an NCAA record for most 100-yard rushers in a game by one team, tying the four by Arizona State in 1951; Texas in 1969; Alabama in 1973 and Army in 1984. NU’s previous school. record was three rushers with 100-plus yards set vs. Arizona State in 1988 and Kansas in 2000. As a team, NU had a team season-best and Solich-best 641 rushing yards, the first time NU has had 600 rushing yards since rushing for 624 vs. Iowa State in 1995. NU has totaled 500 or more twice under Solich (505 vs. San Jose State in 2000, previous Solich best). The 641 rushing yards is the second best all-time by Nebraska, behind the school-record 677 vs. New Mexico State on Sept. 18, 1982 The 688 yards of total offense is a season best, the best under Solich, but is eight yards off the NU top 10 list. Baylor was held to just 29 yards rushing and 187 total.
• Long Runs: Nebraska had a season best six rushes for 25 yards or more, including runs of 42 by FB Judd Davies; 46 and 50 by IB Thunder Collins; 36 by WB Ben Cornelsen; and 36 and 44 by QB Eric Crouch.
* Senior defensive back Keyuo Craver continued his climb up the Husker charts this afternoon. Craver, who ranks second on NU’s career breakup charts with 40, finished the afternoon with three PBUs and picked off his second pass of the season off BU quarterback Greg Cicero in the second quarter leading to a Husker TD. He now has six career interceptions, including one in each of NU’s last two games. The Thorpe Award candidate is 11 pass breakups behind All-American Ralph Brown’s school record of 50 between 1996 to 1999. Craver also had two punt returns for 51 yards, including a career-best 31 yarder. Craver’s fellow corner, DeJuan Groce, made the trip but did not play with bruised ribs. In his place, cornerback Erwin Swiney started his second game of the season and had a career-best five pass breakups (tying NU season best), bettering his previous career high of three at Texas A&M in the 1998 season. Swiney is third on the NU career pass breakup list with 35.
• Firsts, Bests and Misc.…The 36-minute lightning delay was the first time since the Utah State game on Sept. 7, 1991 (19-minute delay), that a Husker game was delayed by inclement weather and the first delay of any kind since lighting problems delayed the Kansas game in Lawrence on Oct. 25, 1997…Today’s crowd of 38,102 is the smallest to watch a Husker game since a crowd of 32,768 saw NU’s victory at Texas Tech in the 1994 season (a crowd of 38,175 saw NU’s win in Baylor in 1997, also in a rainstorm)…Josh Brown’s 50-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half was the longest attempt by a Husker kicker this season and his first attempt at 50 yards or more. The previous long was Josh Brown’s 38-yard field goal at Missouri. Brown is 1-3 on field goal attempts this season. Bobby Hart’s 26-yard kickoff return in the second quarter marked the first long retun (25 yards or more) against the Huskers all season. In the fourth quarter, Hart recorded the longest punt return (17 yards) vs. the Huskers this season.
• Sacks…Nebraska recorded four sacks on the day, an eight-yard by Justin Smith/J.P. Wichmann; a 10-yarder by Scott Shanle/Ryon Bingham/Demoine Adams; a five-yarder by Adams and a 10-yarder by Adams. With 2.5 sacks in the game, Adams tied for the Husker season best (Jason Lohr also had 2.5 sacks vs. Troy State). NU has at least one sack in every game this season and four-or-more sacks on three occasions.
• Points off turnovers…Nebraska set season highs in both fumbles with seven (previous high was three on four occasions) and fumbles lost with five (two on two occiasions). BU did not convent on the first three turnovers, but converted the fourth, when Crouch fumbled in the end zone in the second quarter to pull within 14-7 (second time this season an opponent has converted a turnover, 14 points total). NU converted on BU’s first turnover (Craver’s interception from Greg Cicero), as Crouch scored three plays later from the nine-yard line. Nebraska also converted a Bobby Hart kickoff return fumble into a touchdown when Aaron Terpening forced the fumble, and Pat Ricketts recovered. Crouch scored four plays later on a four-yard run with 8:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. NU has 65 points off opponent turnovers. NU converted Lornell McPherson’s first career interception, driving 90 yards and scoring on Judd Davies 22-yard run with 2:41 remaining. NU did not convert Wes Woodward’s first career interception with no time remaining in the game.
Nebraska Head Coach Frank Solich
On Overall Game:
“It was a game that in the first half, if you look at the two fumbles, the game could have easily gone into the fourth quarter, but we were able to come back.”
“Our running game took care of things and opened up the game. Our line did an excellent job in the 2nd half. We moved the ball extremely well on the ground with a number of players with over 100 yards.”
“I was not necessarily pleased with the fumbles. We were not throwing the ball very well, and with the poor field conditions we pretty much abandoned the passing game.”
“As the game went on and it was on the line the players responded very well and worked their way through it.”
Eric Crouch, Nebraska Quarterback
“There were a few mistakes in the first half. There were a lot of things to oversome, especially the fumbles and the weather, but we were able to overcome them and take care of things.”
“We came out with a lot of energy and plays, but we put them in good position with fumbles to take advantage of things. They are a much more talented and physical team than they were last year and played hard.”
“Our offense is a power run game, it’s what were best at. I’m not afraid to run the ball.”
Dahrran Diedrick, Nebraska Running Back
“The offensive line did a great job on blocking, but we get all the credit. So I really give all the credit to the guys in the line.”
“The weather was really bad and we just had to get used to running on a wet surface.”