Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 9, 1996)
Five true freshmen and sophomore
Will linebacker Eric Johnson made
their first appearances in Nebraska uni
forms Saturday, eliminating the pos
sibility of a redshirt year.
Ralph Brown of Hacienda Heights,
Calif., started at right comerback; Lin
coln Southeast graduate J.R. Edwards,
a split end, caught one pass for 10
yards; DeAngelo Evans, an I-back
from Wichita, Kan., had one carry for
two yards; left cornerback Mike
Brown, from Scottsdale, Ariz., had one
tackle playing both special teams and
defense; and defensive tackle Steve
Warren of Springfield, Mo., had one
stop for a three-yard loss.
Johnson, who was academically
ineligible last season, backed up Ryan
Ralph Brown, whose parents Debra
and Ralph, sister and girlfriend were
in the stands, said starting in his first
game at NU was something he will
“I didn’t know what it would feel
like,” he said. “It’s an unexplainable
experience with all those people and
Only four Comhuskers suffered
injuries of note in Saturday’s game,
Coach Tom Osborne said. Octavious
McFarlin, a rover, suffered a back
strain; tight end T.J. DeBates had a
. strained knee; fullback Josh Cobb
sprained an ankle; and guard Jeff Lake
bruised his thigh.
After not allowing a'sack last sea
son, the Nebcjjska offeasjye line gave
Itgrone in its first .game this year. With
six minutes fcjpln the third quarter,
Scbtt Frost was sandwiched by Michi
gan State’s Chris Smith and Dimitrius
Underwood on a third down and 14
from the Nebraska 46-yard line.
The Nebraska offense did not haye
a touchdown drive longer than 50
yards against the Spartans. NU’s long
est drive of the game came at the end
of the first quarter and the beginning
of the second quarter, when the Husk
ers marched 63 yards in 14 plays. The
drive, which ended With a 35-yard Kris
Brown field goal, took 6 minutes and
19 seconds off die clock.
NU rushed for its lowest total (184
yards) since a 136-yard performance
against Oklahoma in 1994. Nebraska’s
298 yards of total offense was the first
time since the 1995 Kansas game that
the Huskers finished with less than 300
With the 55-14 win, Nebraska ex
they won a nation’s best 26th consecu
tive game and they won for the 31st
straight time at home.
; the crowd of75,590 was the 208tii
straight sellout at Memorial Stadium
. and it was the 11th straight successful
season opener for Nebraska. NU last
lost an opener to Florida State in 1985.
Michigan State Coach Nick Saban
said he has only seen one team better
than the one the Spartans played on
“Maybe their team last year,”
Saban said. ‘It’s hard to make com
parisons, but they have so much team
speed and depth. It’s hard to believe.”
Gameday notebook compiled by
senior reporters TVevor Parks and
Mike Klock. 4MRI
By Trevor Parks
Nebraska’s 55-14 win over Michi
gan State Saturday afternoon went ex
acdy as the top-ranked Comhuskers
had said things
fense, great spe
cial tearhs, but a
Much to the
delight & tta|
75,590 fans at
dium, the de
fense and special Mlntpr i '
teams were more
than enough to beat the Spartans (1
1), getting the two-time defending na
tional champfbn Huskers .over then
first hurdle on the road*to a third
“Our defense is real focused on
making things happen,” said Mike
linebacker Jon Hesse, who had a team
high nine tackles. “The nature of our
defense is to try to dictate the pace.”
Most of the afternoon that was ap
Of NU’s 55 points, the defense
scored 14 — on interception returns
by rover Mike Minter and rush end
If we keep improving each week, we’ll be
pretty dam good at the end of the season.”
^ . *" ’ * * ” - -
"f\ NU rudi end .
Grant Wistrom -r— and the Blackshirts
set up the first offensive touchdown of
the day. 4
The special teamsscored a touch
down on a 62-yard return by Mike
Fullman and set up a 16-yard drive
when Eric Warfield blocked a Paul
Edinger punt early in the third quarter.
Good returns also set the table
Nebraska’s two second half touch
down drives of 49 and 34 yards.
The Huskers finished with 1S2 punt
return yards on eight kicks.
Minter gave Nebraska great field
position to score its first touchdown
of the season by stepping in front of
Derrick Mason to intercept a Todd
Schultz pass at the Michigan State 22
yard Une.with 8 minutes and 32 sec
onds remaining in the first quarter.
On itfae play, Schultz was hit by Ja
son Peter and Wistrom and missed the
rest of the game with a sprained left
One play later, Stanford transfer
Scott Frqst scored on an 11-yard op
tion-keeper around the right side.
Special teams stepped up for
Nebraska’s next score.
On fourth down and 7 from the
Michigan State 23-yard line, Edinger
punted to Fullman at the NU 38.
Despite having only nine team
mates on the field for the return,
Fullman did his best Johnny Rodgers’
impersonation, avoiding two defend
ers and beating three Spartans around
the left comer before a Warfield block
sprung him for a 62-yard touchdown
to give the Huskers a 17-0 lead.
Frost said the special teams and the
defense made his job easier.
v^There is no sense in taking
chances when you have a defense and
special teams that are playing like
that,” he said. “That’s kind of a luxury
for me as a quarterback.”
Frost ran for 58 yards on 10 at
tempts and completed 5 of 11 passes
for 74 yards and one touchdown in his
first game since November 1994.
After Fullman’s score, it was the
defense’s turn to put up points.
Michigan State was driving when
Minter stepped in-front of a third-and
15 pass by Spartan quarterback Gus
Omstein intended for Nigea Carter.
Minter raced untouched 84 yards with
the ball he said was “up in die air like
a gift from heaven,” making the score
24-0 with 3:06 left in the half.
Hesse said that play may have bro
ken the Spartans’ backs.
“It was 17-0, and it’s looking like
they are going to score a touchdown,
or maybe a field goal,” Hesse said.
“That’s huge. It kind of takes the wind
out of their sails.”
A Kris Brown field goal gave NU
a 27-0 halftime lead.
Defensive Coordinator Charlie
McBride said his defense graded well
in its first game.
“If Ihad a grade to give our kids,”
McBride said, “it would be a B-plus
or A-minus for the effort, even though
we did have quite a few errors.”
NU had seven sacks for 47 yards,
keeping Michigan State quarterbacks
on the run all game. The Spartans fin
ished the game with 246 total yards.
Please see MSU on page 10
Powered by Open ONI