The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 06, 1996, Page 7, Image 7

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    Scott Bruhn/DN
ist Friday. Evans will start Saturday in the Big 12 championship game.
Longhorns believe
NU can be beaten
- * *
By Sam McKewon
Staff Reporter
In a word: nasty.
That’s how Texas All-America of
fensive guard Dan Neil described the
Nebraska football
team, which he
will compete
against Saturday
in the Big 12
championship in
St Louis. ex
“They are
big and really fast
on both sides of
- the ball,” said
Neil Neil, a 6-foot-2,
285-pound senior,
who is a finalist fen* die Outland Tro
phy, “especially the defense.” - *
Neil and the rest of the Longhorn
offense will have a tall order to over
come against the Blackshirts. NU leads
the Big 12 in the four major defensive
categories: rushing defense, pass-effi
ciency defense, scoring defense and
total defense.
The Texas offense has played well,
with its two best offensive outputs of
the season coming in the last month.
The Longhorns had 575 total yards
against Texas Tech and 594 against
Texas A&M. n!
“We’re playing like we wanted to
all along this year on offense and de
fense,” Neil said. “Our team is where
we thought it would be at the begin
ning of die season.”
Much of the 1996 season was not a
smooth ride for the Longhorns. After
opening with two wins, Texas squan
dered a seven-point lead to lose to
Notre Dame, 27-24 on Sept. 21 in Aus
tin, Texas.
What came next is what Neil calls
the “Notre Dame hangover.” Texas
was pounded by Virginia 37-13 the
next week and lost to rival and winless
Oklahoma 30-27 two weeks later. ’
“The Notre Dame loss affected us
a lot,” Neil said. “It was our big chance
to get back into the national spotlight,
and we blew it We were in funk for a
couple weeks.”
- The turning point, Neil said, was a
28-24 loss to Colorado in Boulder on
Nebraska has all
They're the favorite
and the national
title contender."
Mike Adams
Texas wide receiver
Oct. 26. Despite losing, Texas played
well enough to win, he said, and the
Longhorns haven’t lost since.
“The Colorado game made it fun
to play football again,” Texas line
baeker Tyson King sad. “We should
have won it, blit it got us focused on
what we had to do.”
King led a defensive revival, cul
minating with UT’s best performance
of die year last Friday" in its 51-15 win
ova: A&M, a game in which UT al
lowed only 227 yards, the Aggies’ low
est total of die year.
King said he thinks the Longhorns
can continue their hot play Saturday.
“We’ve got to take away the run
and force them to throw the football,”
King said. “Nebraska has to be put in
uncomfortable situations for us to
The game may ultimately come
down to big plays. Texas goes by way
of the offense, led by quarterback
James Brown, who is dangerous
throwing and running. Running back
Ricky Williams average* 6.4 yards per
attempt, the second-best average in the
Big 12.
But NU’s defense has scored eight
touchdowns and the Huskers have also
come up big on special teams this sea
“Whoever makes the big plays is
going to win,” senior wide receiver
Mike Adams said. “We can’t let their
defense get a big score on us.
“Nebraska has all the pressure.
They’re the favorite and national title
contender. We’re going to la it all hang
out and crash the party.”
Longhorn QB
is not to blame
for arrogance
Having lived in Texas four
years, I’m not surprised to hear
James Brown proclaim that Texas
is going to beat Nebraska by three
touchdowns Saturday.
Growing up in the Lone Star
State, kids are taught that God made
Texas first, and then as a gift to
Texas, he gave it football. It doesn’t
matter what part of the state you live
in — everyone is taUght football.
When y^u- go to get your
driver’s license, there’s also a foot
ball test. If Jfou don’t know the dif
ference^ Between a wing T ami a
' Red River, which separates Texas
and Oklahoma, is considered a Yan
kee by all Texans.
So when Brown says he s not
worried about the NU defense, all
he really means is that nobody out
side Texas can play football.
Brown’s arrogance shouldn’t
surprise anybody.
Ever since the Big 12 was cre
ated in February 1994, haven’t
Texas and the other three teams
from the Longhorn State dictated
the way things are going to go. in
this conference?
First it was the Big 12 Confer
ence offices. Nebraska wanted them
in Kansas City, Mo., or Colorado
Springs, Colo., or even Oklahoma
City. Anywhere but Texas.
But to UT’s ayail, Texas won
out, and now the Big 12 meetings
are held in Dallas.
Don’t forget, Steve Hatchell,
former head of the Southwestern
Conference — of which Texas was
a member until the league collapsed
— is now in charge of the Big 12.
And probably the most .teated
of all die debates is j^f^j§p|||^
tween Texas and Neliv^^pl^^
- ing the the recruitmlat of athletegi
who do notfully meet NCAA aca
demic requirements. ,',
Although Nebraska worked a
compromise, Texas basically got Its
way, and because of it, high schoql
students who don’t hilly meet die
requirements can’t play in the Big
It that rule had been in place a
few years ago, Jared Tomich^
Michael Booker and Jamel Will
iams would probably be watching
the Big 12 championship game on
' television instead of starting for the
The latest debate—and the one
that takes precedence on Saturday
— is the championship game itself.
Nebraska didn’t want it; Texas did.
You know the rest of the story.
Now Nebraska, which is cruis
ing toward a chance to win its third
straight national championship,
could be derailed by a 7-4 Texas
* team that has nothing to lose.
If the Longhorns lose, they drive
40 miles to San Antonio for the
Alamo Bowl. With a win they go
’ to Miami to play in the Orange
Bowl. f
Once again Texas has a chance
to get its way.
So when Nebraska fans hear
Brown’s comments, don’t get up
set. It’s been pounded into his heal
Kluck is a graduate student in
journalism and a Dally Nebras
kan senior reporter.
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