Recap, notes & quotes: 2002 Nebraska-Kansas football
Nebraska Extends Winning Streak over Kansas to 34 Games
Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics
Nebraska added to one of the nation’s most lopsided college football matchups, defeating Kansas, 45-7, at Memorial Stadium.
The victory was the Huskers’ 34th straight in the series, the second-longest active winning streak against an opponent in college football. In the process, Nebraska also picked up a win on Homecoming for the 34th straight season.
The Huskers wasted little time establishing their dominance. On its first offensive possession, NU drove 81 yards in six plays, capped by Dahrran Diedrick’s 53-yard touchdown run, to take a 7-0 lead.
Kansas struck back quickly with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Jonas Weatherbie to Byron Gasaway to even the game at 7-7. However, Kansas would not score again and the Husker ground game and defense took control of the remainder of the game.
Freshman I-back David Horne put together two straight 30-yard runs on a drive midway through the first quarter to give NU a 14-7 edge. Early in the second quarter, DeJuan Groce put Nebraska in great field position with a 24-yard punt return, and Nebraska drove 47 yards in seven plays to take a two-touchdown advantage. Jammal Lord capped the drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Wilson Thomas.
A breakdown in the Kansas punting game gave the Huskers a short field once again. This time the Huskers drove inside the KU 10-yard line but settled for a 27-yard Josh Brown field goal to give NU a 24-7 lead, an advantage it would carry into halftime
Nebraska opened the second half with a five-play, 80-yard scoring drive to build a 31-7 lead. Lord threw his second TD pass of the afternoon, a 12-yarder to Aaron Golliday, to cap the drive.
Nebraska quickly added to its lead courtesy of the special teams. Lannie Hopkins blocked his second punt of the day, and senior rover Aaron Terpening returned the ball 30 yards for a score for a 38-7 lead.
Reserve quarterback Mike Stuntz guided the Huskers to another third-quarter score, capped by Josh Davis’ four-yard touchdown run to account for the final margin.
Nebraska substituted freely throughout the second half, with a season-high 111 players seeing action.
The Huskers relied on their running game, topping 300 yards for the fifth time in the past six games with 352 rushing yards. Both Horne (122) and Diedrick (107) topped 100 yards on the ground, marking the first time this season a pair of Husker running backs eclipsed the century mark.
After the early touchdown, the Blackshirt defense kept Kansas in check, allowing just 224 total yards, including 71 yards rushing.
- The victory was Nebraska’s 34th straight win in the series, dating back to 1968, and the Huskers’ 16th straight win over Kansas in Lincoln. Nebraska also picked up a win on Homecoming for the 34th straight season.
- Quarterback Jammal Lord became the 18th quarterback in Division I-A history to both rush and pass for more than 1,000 yards in the same season. Lord reached the milestone with a seven-yard pass to Josh Davis in the second quarter. Lord joined former NU quarterbacks Scott Frost (1997) and Eric Crouch (2001) in accomplishing the feat. Lord now has 2,245 yards of total offense this season, the fifth-best mark in school history and upped his season rushing total to 1,229 yards, the 11th-best season in NU history. Lord passed for two touchdowns for the second straight week.
- Nebraska piled up 352 yards rushing against Kansas. It marked the third straight game and fifth time in its last six outings that the NU offense had topped 300 yards on the ground.
- Senior I-back Dahrran Diedrick rushed 12 times for a season-best 107 yards, his first 100-yard game of the season and eighth in his career. Diedrick opened the scoring with a career-long 53-yard run for a score in the first quarter. With his 107 yards, Diedrick moved up to ninth place on NU’s career rushing list with 2,543 yards.
- Freshman I-back David Horne gave the Huskers a pair of backs over the century mark with 122 yards on just nine attempts, an average of 13.6 yards per carry. Horne had three carries of 25 yards or more and picked up his third 100-yard day in the past four games. Horne now has 556 yards rushing, the fifth-best season by an NU frosh.
- Tight end Aaron Golliday caught a 12-yard touchdown pass, his second TD of the year. Nebraska’s tight ends have combined for five TD receptions in 2002.
- Senior split end Wilson Thomas caught two passes for 40 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Thomas now has 63 career receptions, good for ninth place on the NU chart.
- Freshman cornerback Fabian Washington had an outstanding afternoon with a pair of pass breakups and his fourth interception of the season. Washington’s 11 PBU lead the Huskers and the total is just one off the freshman PBU record of 12, held by Ralph Brown (1996).
- Sophomore rover Lannie Hopkins blocked a pair of Kansas punts, giving him three blocks this season. The second block of the day was returned 30 yards by Aaron Terpening for a touchdown. Hopkins was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
- Senior DeJuan Groce returned five punts for 61 yards and moved into second place on the Husker season punt return yards list with 586, just 30 behind Johnny Rodgers’ school record set in his Heisman winning season of 1972.
- Punter Kyle Larson averaged 50.2 yards on six punts and pinned KU inside its own 20 two times, including one on the Jayhawk 1-yard line.
- Senior wingback Troy Hassebroek was named Homecoming king, the first time a Husker football player has been named king since a king has been chosen (since 1975).
Coach Frank Solich
“We’re definitely pleased with the win and the fact that it gave us a chance to play an awful lot of players today, guys who have not seen the field much, if at all, this season. In the end, it gave us a mixture of guys to make some plays with. A lot of things went well today. Obviously, there are some things we need to do better as we go into our last two football games against Kansas State and Colorado. Those are excellent football teams that we’ll be facing. On the offensive side of it, we’ll have to throw the ball and have a better passing game than what maybe we displayed today. That does not come back to any one particular person, it was a combination of things that happened. We were able to run the ball very well. If you look at our I-backs’ average per carry, I think David (Horne) carried nine and had about 13 yards per carry or a little above, and I think Dahrran (Diedrick) had something like 8.9 yards per carry. That’s a lot of productivity from the I-back spot, with not a lot of carries.
Offensively, it was not a real smooth performance all the way through. There was a lot of excellent individual plays, and a lot of great effort again. Defensively, I think we got stronger as the game went on and took control of the game. Special teams I thought played out pretty well for us again today.
If you look at it from the standpoint that going into the game, Kansas was operating with their second-string quarterback, and then ended using their third-string quarterback an awful lot. That puts them behind the eight ball a little bit, and that is not taking away at all from what our defensive did as the game went along. The only reason I mention that is I think Coach Mangino is battling very hard, and I think his players are battling very hard. As a coach you always appreciate that.
On the passing game.
“There were some passes that were batted down, one that Jammal had to throw over some people, and that one went over the end zone. It was a combination of things that didn’t allow the passing game to advance very well. It’s not that we just filled the air with the ball, we had something like 15 passes in the game, some of those were play action some of them were straight drawbacks where they blitzed the line and we tried going to a hot receiver on the side trying with a slant, and some pitches where they were able to get the ball batted down. It’s a combination of those things that kept us probably from throwing the ball well. It’s obvious that we need to have a good game when we go against Kansas State because they have a great defense and can score a lot of points. We’ll need to be operating at full efficiency on both sides of the ball.
On Jammal Lord
There were a few passes that weren’t perfect spirals and maybe he floated a little bit on them. But, I think that all-in-all he came through with a very good game again. We’re very pleased with where he’s at. He shows signs as you go through the year and take plays out, you have the ability to see an excellent thrower. His throwing game comes down to a lot of things: it comes down to protection, the routes that the receivers run. We had a couple of breakdowns which didn’t help. The bottom line is we’re going to have to throw it better, but it’s not anyone in particular’s fault.
I-back Dahrran Diedrick
Did it feel good to break the 100-yard rushing mark?
I just think it feels regular, I don’t feel anything special about it. I’m glad it happened, and I’ll try to let it happen next week and every other game we play. I’m just so glad we were able to get back out there and get on the winning scene. We’re bowl-eligible now, and now I want to win the next two games more than anything.
On your career-long 53-yard run for a TD, did the lane just open up perfectly for you?
The offensive line did a great job. As soon as I got the ball, I saw a big cut-back lane and ran after it. Then we just went after it the rest of the day.
Rover Lannie Hopkins
Talk about NU’s special teams play against Kansas.
We work hard on special teams throughout the week and it showed today. I just found a crease on a couple of (the punt blocks) and was able to get to the punter. It’s nice to get the two blocked punts, but I want to just do whatever I can to help the team.
How good was the defensive performance today?
We did an excellent job today. We could have stopped them a little more at the end, but they started moving the ball in different ways. But either way, it was a good day.
Rush End Trevor Johnson
Talk about the defensive line production today and the push everyone was getting.
We really got after the quarterback and we were getting a lot of pressure on him. That was one the things we wanted to do coming into the game. One of our biggest goals was to stop the rush and I think we did that today.
Did it feel good to get back on the winning track?
I does. Kansas is a good team, but we wanted to play well today and show people that we could bounce back because things didn’t work out as we wanted them to last week.
Center John Garrison
Talk about the offensive line performance, helping the rushing game get going.
We really did have a good game. The point we are at right now, things are starting to come together. They have been coming together for the past couple weeks. There were a few mistakes we made out there, but it’s a week-by-week thing. Now we need to focus on preparing and getting ready for Kansas State.
Did it feel good to get Diedrick a 100-yard rushing game?
Yes it did. I found out Dahrran was out for the game, and the first thing I did was go over and ask if he got to 100 yards. It’s been somewhat disappointing to him in terms of reaching 100 yards this year, so it’s good to see that.