Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on October 9, 2011 · Page 3-6
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · Page 3-6

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Sunday, October 9, 2011
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LINCOLN, Neb. — A peculiar mix of courtesy and concern filled the air in and around Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. The Midwestern, how- are-you-doing hospitality prevalent in the crowded bars on O Street and tailgating on Stadium Drive ultimately gave way to how- are-we-doing hand-wringing for Nebraska’s firstBig Ten home game against Ohio State. That’s what happens when last weekend’s sky-is- falling road loss to Wisconsin lingers for a week in this football-mad state. The dark clouds that produced intermittent rain throughout the night almost seemed like overkill. But in the end, Nebraska’s forecast brightened with a stunning, come-from-behind 34-27 victory before a crowd of 85,426, the 315th straight sellout at this venerable stadium. The Buckeyes (3-3), who have won at least ashare of the last six Big Ten championships, dropped to 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2004. Trailing 27-6 with 10 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Nebraska scored 28 unanswered points to post the largest comeback in school history, which merely covers 1,228 games. “I’m proud of the character on our team,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “We have a lot to fix. But they just kept fighting.” Maligned quarterback Taylor Martinez overcame apoor first half to pass for two touchdowns and rush for a third as Nebraska (5-1, 1-1) saved its season. The rally started when Lavonte David forced and recovered a fumble from freshman quarterback Braxton Miller just past midway through the third. “That was the game- changing play,” Pelini said. Miller had repeatedly burned the Cornhuskers with his feet and arm in the first half. That’s when Ohio State scored on its first three possessions, including a 63-yard scoring jaunt from Carlos Hyde and a 32-yard scoring strike from Miller to Jake Stoneburner. Martinez cashed in David’s forced fumble when he scampered 18 yards for a score. Nebraska’s rally then picked up steam when Miller left on the ensuing drive with a right ankle injury, bringing in erratic senior Joe Bauserman. Martinez, who drew wide-ranging criticism from media, alumni and even classmates for his three-interception outing against Wisconsin, found a streaking Quincy Enunwa on a 36-yard strike to pull Nebraska within a touchdown. After another three-and- out Ohio State possession, Martinez found Rex Burkhead for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 7:35 remaining. “It meant a lot how much support I had throughout my family and team,” Martinez said. “They had my back and I had theirs.” On Ohio State’s next possession, Bauserman overthrew his target, and Stanley Jean-Baptiste recorded his first interception. Nebraska cashed in that turnover for the go-ahead score, using an 18-yard scramble from Martinez and a 15- yard face-mask penalty to get in position. Burkhead, who rushed for 119 yards, scored the winning touchdown with 5:10 left on a 17-yard rush. “That was something else,” Burkhead said. “I’ve never been a part of a game like that.” And now, the Big Red is on the board in the Big Ten. kcjohnson@tribune.com Twitter @kcjhoop 6 Chicago Tribune | ChicagoSports | Section3 | Sunday,October9,2011 D AP Top 25 HEISMAN WATCH Matt Murschel’s top contenders 1 LSU (6-0) Won 41-11 vs. No. 17 Florida Spencer Ware rushed for 109 yds, 2 TDs; Tigers have trailed for only 6:33 all season. Next: at Tennessee, Saturday. 2 ALABAMA (6-0) Won 34-0 vs. Vanderbilt A.J. McCarron threw for career-high 237 yds, 4 TDs, no picks vs. nation’s INT leaders (14). Next: at Mississippi, Saturday. 3 OKLAHOMA (5-0) Won 55-17 vs. No. 11 Texas in Dallas Landry Jones threw for 367 yds, 3 TDs; defense scored 3 TDs, had 5 TOs, 8 sacks. Next: at Kansas, Saturday. 4 WISCONSIN (5-0) Did not play Badgers lead nation in scoring margin (38.2 ppg); Montee Ball 27 TDs in last 10 games. Next: vs. Indiana, Saturday. 5 BOISE STATE(5-0) Won 57-7 at Fresno State, Friday Geraldo Boldewijn 2 TD catches in 1st game back; 8 TDs to only 9 1st downs for Bulldogs. Next: at Colorado State, Saturday. 6 OKLAHOMA STATE(5-0) Won 70-28 vs. Kansas Brandon Weeden threw for 288 yds, 5 TDs in 1st half; Cowboys scored 35 in 1st quarter. Next: at No. 11 Texas, Saturday. 7 STANFORD (5-0) Won 48-7 vs. Colorado Max Bergen’s blocked FG, 75-yd TD return got Cardinal started in 13th straight win. Next: at Washington State, Saturday. 8 CLEMSON (6-0) Won 36-14 vs. Boston College Tajh Boyd threw, ran for TDs before being carted off in 3rd quarter with left hip injury. Next: at Maryland, Saturday. 9 OREGON(4-1) Won 43-15 vs. California, Thursday LaMichael James (239 yds) says he’ll return from dislocated right elbow this season. Next: vs. No. 22 Arizona State, Saturday. 10 ARKANSAS (5-1) Won 38-14 vs. No. 15 Auburn WR Joe Adams’ 92-yd TD run helped Razorbacks pull away after trailing 14-7. Next: at Mississippi, Oct. 22. 11 TEXAS(4-1) Lost 55-17 vs. No. 3 Okla.in Dallas QBs Case McCoy, David Ash totaled 4 TOs; only TDs on KO return, pass in final minutes. Next: vs. No. 6 Oklahoma State, Saturday. 12 MICHIGAN(6-0) Won 42-24 at Northwestern Denard Robinson totaled 407 yds, 4 TDs; Wolverines scored 28 straight in 2nd half. Next: at Michigan State, Saturday. 13 GEORGIA TECH (6-0) Won 21-16 vs. Maryland Tevin Washington ran for 109 yds, 2 TDs; Jackets’ best start since 1990 national title. Next: at Virginia, Saturday. 14 NEBRASKA (5-1) Won 34-27 vs. Ohio State Cornhuskers erased 21-pt 3rd-quarter deficit in 1st Big Ten home game. Next: at Minnesota, Oct. 22. 15 AUBURN (4-2) Lost 38-14 at No. 10 Arkansas QBs Barrett Trotter, Kiehl Frazier combined for 99 yds on 8 of 23 passing with 3 INTs. Next: vs. No. 17 Florida, Saturday. 16 WEST VIRGINIA(5-1) Won 43-16 vs. Connecticut Geno Smith threw for 450 yds, 4 TDs — 2 on consecutive plays from scrimmage in 3rd Q. Next: at Syracuse, Oct. 21. 17 FLORIDA (4-2) Lost 41-11 at No. 1 LSU Freshman QB Jacoby Brissett threw 2 INTs in 1st college game; Gators outgained 453-213. Next: at No. 15 Auburn, Saturday. 18 SOUTH CAROLINA (5-1) Won 54-3 vs. Kentucky Connor Shaw threw for 4 TDs, 2 to Alshon Jeffery, in 1st gm replacing Stephen Garcia. Next: at Mississippi State, Saturday. 19 ILLINOIS (6-0) Won 41-20 at Indiana Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 210 yds, 3 TDs, ran for 88, TD; Illini last were 6-0 in 1951. Next: vs. Ohio State, Saturday. 20 KANSAS STATE (5-0) Won 24-17 vs. Missouri QB Collin Klein ran for 3 TDs as Wildcats snapped 5-game losing streak vs. Tigers. Next: at Texas Tech, Saturday. 21 VIRGINIA TECH (5-1) Won 38-35 vs. Miami Logan Thomas threw for 310 yds, 3 TDs, ran for 2 TDs, including winner with :56 left. Next: at Wake Forest, Saturday. 22 ARIZONA STATE (5-1) Won 35-14 at Utah Sun Devils forced 5 TOs (18 on season); Brock Osweiler threw for 310 yds, 3 TDs. Next: at No. 9 Oregon, Saturday. 23 FLORIDA STATE (2-3) Lost 35-30 at Wake Forest Seminoles committed 5 TOs in 3rd straight loss; Deacons are 3-0 in ACC for 1st time. Next: at Duke, Saturday. 24 TEXAS A&M (3-2) Won 45-40 at Texas Tech Ryan Tannehill ran for 2 TDs, threw for 1; Aggies returned blocked FG 65 yds for TD. Next: vs. No. 25 Baylor, Saturday. 25 BAYLOR (4-1) Won 49-26 vs. Iowa State Terrance Ganaway ran for 200 yds, 3 TDs; Robert Griffin had 319 of Bears’ 614 total yds. Next: at No. 24 Texas A&M, Saturday. n Andrew Luck, Stanford QB: 26 of 33 for 370 yds, 3 TDs, set school record with 25th win as starter. n Russell Wilson, Wisconsin QB: No. 2 in nation in passing efficiency (216.89); 13 TDs, 1 INT in 111 attempts. n Trent Richardson, Alabama RB: 19 carries for 107 yds — 5th straight 100-yd game — and TD vs. Vandy. n Kellen Moore, Boise State QB: 23 of 31 for 254 yds, 3 TDs vs. Fresno; moved into 2nd all-time with 43rd win. COLLEGE FOOTBALL SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Late in the going Saturday, with the ruthless on-field jack-hammering dulled for polite conversation, Jonas Graytugged at his coach. The senior tailback glanced at a scoreboard that ultimately read 59-33in favor of Notre Dame and, after some torturous years, he barely believed his eyes. So Gray felt compelled to let Irish coach Brian Kelly know: That was the most points he ever had seen on that scoreboard. “He looked at me and said, ‘We’re just getting started,’” Gray said. The demolition of Air Force again dared everyone to reinvest their full-blown faith in what Kelly is building because Notre Dame (4-2) won its fourth straight game by looking like what you would expect Notre Dame to look like in Kelly’s sweetest dreams. OK, allowing Air Force (3-2) to accrue 565yards — including 363rushing — is no one’s defensive Valhalla. But the Falcons scored just two touchdowns when it mattered. And 560yards of Irish offense, including seven players scoring eight touchdowns on 10 possessions with zero turnovers? It was like watching a pack of starving mutant termites voraciously and meticulously devour all in its path. “We’re getting closer,” Kelly said. “We have not arrived. The pieces are starting to come together for us. We’re getting there.” With consecutive complete outings, Notre Dame’s gait has hastened. The Irish scored touchdowns on all six first-half possessions Saturday, including four Tommy Reestouchdown passes to four receivers — none of the drives requiring more than 3 1 ⁄ 2 minutes to hit pay dirt. The 42first-half points were the most in any half since 1990. The final tally eclipsed the 50-point barrier for the first time since 2003and represented the most prolific output since a 62-point showing in 1996. Offense was like going through a turnstile, every click a milestone. “When things are going good,” tight end Tyler Eifert said, “this is what we expect to see.” The defense was pierced too much for comfort. Still, the Irish forced two turnovers — both by safety Jamoris Slaughter— to nudge Air Force off kilter. And surrendering two touchdowns on the first 10 drives is manageable. “You never say, we’re going to give up a lot of yards and keep them out of the end zone,” safety Harri- son Smithsaid. “That’s kind of how it played out. But if you keep a team off the board, they’re not going to beat you.” Notre Dame no longer is beating itself with forehead-slapping mistakes, and teams can’t solve the defense enough to keep pace. It’s a Kelly-approved formula. It can explode. It hasn’t lately. On Saturday, the Irish jogged into an off week serenaded by chants of “Beat S-C!” The Trojans arrive in two weeks, and Notre Dame has reason to believe it can comply with the request. bchamilton@tribune.com Twitter @ChiTribHamilton On the offensive: QB Tommy Rees manned a video-game offense, going 23-for-32 for 261yards and four touchdowns. Getting defensive: Safety Jamoris Slaughterforced a fumble on the first series and tipped a ball to himself for an interception, both leading to touchdowns. The number: 92.Combined points Saturday, the most in Notre Dame Stadium history. They’re still talking about: Sophomore Andrew Hendrix debuted as a change-of-pace quarterback and wound up completing 4 of 4 passes for 33 yards and rushing for a game- high 111yards — including a 78-yard fourth-quarter dash. Looking ahead: An off week gives Notre Dame two weeks to prepare for USC on Oct. 22. —Brian Hamilton Irish 2-minute drill On the offensive: Quarterback Taylor Martinez responded to a weekof criticism after his three-interception outing at Wisconsin by throwing for two TDs and rushing for a third. Getting defensive: Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who isn’t even listed on the depth chart, posted his first career interception to set up Nebraska’s winning touchdown. They’re still talking about: Nebraska’s comeback. Trailing 27-6 with 10:53 left in the third quarter, the Cornhuskers scored 28 unanswered for the biggest rally in school history. The previous mark was 17 points, last done in 2002. Looking ahead: After an off week, Nebraska visits Minnesota on Oct. 22. Ohio State visits undefeated Illinois on Saturday. —K.C. Johnson Nebraska-Ohio State 2-minute drill NEBRASKA 34, OHIO STATE 27 Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez overcame a rough first half to lead the Cornhuskers’ rally from a 27-6 deficit. ERIC FRANCIS/GETTY PHOTO Welcome comeback Furious rally gives Huskers 1st Big Ten win By K.C. Johnson Tribune reporter NOTRE DAME 59, AIR FORCE 33 Smooth takeoff for Irish offense By Brian Hamilton Tribune reporter Michael Floyd outleaps Air Force’s Jon Davis to make a touchdown catch Saturday in Notre Dame’s 59-33 victory. MATT CASHORE/US PRESSWIRE PHOTO Product: CTBroadsheet PubDate: 10-09-2011 Zone: ALL Edition: SHD Page: SPORTS3-6 User: jsbowen Time: 10-09-201100:00 Color: C M Y K

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