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Lincoln Journal Star from Lincoln, Nebraska • Page 10
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Lincoln Journal Star from Lincoln, Nebraska • Page 10

Lincoln, Nebraska
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12 L3 Lincoln Journal Star Sunday, October 5. 1997 HUSKER EXTRA Page design: Karl Vogel oaich disappointed in Wildcats running game looked like we might have had him. That's a great tribute to Frost He's a very fine quarterback." Snyder wasn't as glowing in his assessment of Bishop, although he did qualify his remarks. "I would say this was a very average game for Michael, but he's very competitive and I like that in a quarterback," Snyder said. "He's still learning our system and he makes mistakes.

But he also makes plays. We knew that when we went with him and that may take some time. He was in the whole way because he needs reps and Jonathan (Beasley, the second-string quarterback) couldn't go tonight" The decision to play Bishop throughout the game was part of Snyder's approach to the final quarter. "In the fourth quarter, it was not fected us. In the third quarter, we knew what we had to do, but we had a couple of false starts and our confidence went down.

I think it was nerves, not panic." The Wildcats were forced to punt the first three times they had the ball in the second half. A motion penalty stymied the first drive, Hickson was tackled for a 9-yard loss by Jason Peter on the second, and two false-start penalties put an end to the third. Nebraska answered each of those punts with a touchdown drive to take a 41-6 lead. "I knew we were playing an awfully good football team, but I thought we had a chance to get into the game in the third quarter, but we didn't" said Snyder. "Our inability to move the ball early in the third quarter, we had a couple of turnovers and we got a little soft on defense over a period of time.

In the early stages of the third quarter, we just stopped playing our defense. "The defense played very well the first 18 to 20 minutes, but to be down two touchdowns is not my idea of the appropriate place to be, but I guess we were fortunate to be there." Snyder said Ahman Green, who rushed for 193 yards, and Scott Frost who rushed for 98 and threw for 94, caused problems for the Wildcats. "Green is a fantastic football player. But a good portion of the time, we would have one guy mis-play in the gaps and when that happens, it opens something up. I can't tell you it was that way all the time, but we didn't tackle very well or have the containment on Frost "He got some big plays after it BY RYLY JANE HAMBLETON Lincoln Journal Sty Bill Snyder didn't have delusions of grandeur, but he did expect a bit more Saturday when his Kansas State Wildcats came to Lincoln.

first two weeks of the season "may not have been an indication that they would play as well as they did (Saturday)," Snyder said of the Huskers' wins against Akron and Central Florida. "They're an awfully good football team. But obviously, they got up for Washington and they certainly didn't have any trouble getting up for us. They are capable of-being a national championship football team." But that doesn't mean Snyder ex- Ipected his 17th-ranked Wildcats to fall 56-26 to the No. 3 Huskers.

"The running game was a disap Freshman earns, turns heads in 7 J'. pointment I didn't think we'd come up here and run up and down the field all day. I'm smarter than that, he said. "But I did think we would be able to do better. We were very inconsistent In the first half, we really didn't have a running game.

We got a few plays off in the second half." Kansas State rushed 18 times in the first half for 20 yards. Six times, Wildcats were caught for losses. Overall, Kansas State rushed for 98 yards on 40 carries. Quarterback Michael Bishop gained just 14 yards on 17 attempts, while Eric Hickson led KSU with 83 yards on 21 carries. "It wasn't much different than what we saw on film.

They made a lot of key plays and stopped us in our offensive backfield," said Bishop. "We just didn't execute like we had to. I don't think the crowd noise af cornerhack with the first-team defense. "That's when I figured I might be seeing a lot of playing time," he said. The 6-foot-l, 180-pounder has impressed Nebraska second-ary coach George Dar SWINEY lington since two-a-day practices began in early August After the Washington game, Darlington said he talked to all the cornerbacks and told them whoever performed the best in practice during the two weeks leading up to the Kansas State game would see the most playing time.

"I saw him do some good things and make some big plays in practice," Darlington said. "He shows a lot of confidence for a player who only played two years of high school baR" It took some time for Swiney and the rest of the secondary to settle in. Swiney was beaten on a 19-yard pass Hi BV.A. i I us BY RON POWELL JJocoln Journal Star Freshman Erwin Swiney starting at' cornerback for third-ranked Ne-bfaska in its Big 12 Conference football opener with No. 17 Kansas State the best-kept secret at Memorial Stadium Saturday night.

was so well-concealed that Je--'fbme Peterson was announced as the. starter to the crowd of 75,856. -But for Swiney, a Super-Stater at Lincoln Northeast a year ago, the lack of publicity about the change didn't bother him. "I wanted to see my face and name on the (HuskerVision) screen, 'but' I still have to earn it," said Swi-'- fley, who had three unassisted tack-''lesand one assist. "That was a good call by the coaches to keep it quiet.

I l.kept it quiet myself. Someday, I'll "earn it and everyone will know I'm Swiney found out at midweek he would be starting against the Wild-1-cats as Peterson has been nursing a hamstring injury. During the off week following the win at Washing- ton, Swiney spent time practicing '4 -xS RANDY HAMPTONUncom Journal Star Nebraska linebackers Eric Johnson (1) and Tony Ortiz combine to bring down Kansas State running back Eric Hickson (24) in the second quarter. Linebacker Johnson makes cMling debut Defense renders K-State non-functional important to score, but it was important to compete," he said. "When you're getting hammered, you have to find the character of your team.

I saw that the kids rose up and tried to compete." Although the running game, or lack of it grabbed most of the attention, Snyder said the passing game and special-teams play were not up to standard, either. "We had a couple of big passes, we had a couple that got tipped and we dropped a couple," he said. "Our special teams were not very good to us. That's been as big a nemesis in playing Nebraska the last few years as anything. We had a blocked punt early, we laid the ball on the carpet on a punt return and they got some big returns.

"All in all, it was a pretty shoddy performance." NUHuskers crush KSU again Continued from Page 1B Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder said he didn't have any questions about the strength of Nebraska, which has ended K-State unbeaten strings the last five years. "I think this game goes to prove that Nebraska has an extremely fine football team offensively and defensively," he said. Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop kept the Wildcats alive with 162 yards passing that included one touchdown pass. But he was sacked twice, intercepted twice and thrown for 38 yards of losses. "With two interceptions and a few sacks, I don't think they had a great passing day," said Osborne.

As Warfield explained, "They are a good team, they will score some. It's nothing to panic about. We'll get better." The same goes for the Nebraska offense, which gained 473 yards against a team that gave up 56 to Bowling Green a week ago. Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost, who rushed for 98 yards and threw for 94 yards, said the Huskers were simply enjoying themselves. "We were having fun," Frost said.

"I think we're a good team. I'm not afraid to say that I think we're as good a team as there is out there." The Black Shirts also celebrated, with a safety and a 71-yard interception return by freshman Joe Walker. Nebraska raced to a 20-6 halftime lead behind the touchdowns by Green and Frost and two field goals by Kris Brown. In the first half alone, the Huskers rolled up a total of 212 yards of offense against the Wildcats. Kansas State answered Nebraska's first scoring drive with a 61-yard, eight-play scoring drive of its own.

Bishop, a junior college transfer, hit Everett Burnett on a 46-yard pass to set up a 1-yard touchdown dive by Eric Hickson. But the Wildcats missed the extra-point kick for the third time in four years against Nebraska and trailed 7-6 with 6 16 left in the first quarter. Nebraska, running at will drove 66 yards in 12 plays, including a 27-yard run by Frost, to set up a 31-yard field goal by Brown to pad the lead to 104 with 15 seconds left in the first quarter. Brown, the all-time career leading field goal kicker for Nebraska, tacked on a 32-yarder after Warfield intercepted a pass tipped by teammate Ralph Brown and returned the ball to the Kansas State 16-yard line. Nebraska's defense, which was tagged for 65 yards passing in the first quarter, stopped Kansas State in the second quarter, allowing just 17 yards of offense by the Wildcats.

"I'm glad we came through this as well as we did," said Osborne. "I don't know if these were our two toughest games (Washington and KSU) but this is nice to have this hurdle behind us." Nebraska cleared the hurdle early. After Brown's field goals, Nebraska counted on a 28-yard punt return by freshman Bobby Newcombe to set up a short touchdown drive. Six plays later, Frost dived and flipped over the goal line from; 4 yards out to boost Nebraska's lead to 204. The Huskers gave up a total of 85 yards of offense in the first half.

All but 20 of those were gained on KSU's first two passes. Bishop was 0-for-5 with one interception and another almost-interception after the first quarter until midway through the third quarter. Nebraska's starting defense included freshman Erwin Swiney of Lincoln Northeast in place of Jerome Peterson and Eric Johnson started at weakside linebacker in place of Octavious McFarlin. Nebraska only got better In the second half. Green scored on.

a 7-yard run on Nebraska's first possession of the third quarter. He scored on a 59-yard pitch play to the right and skated along the sideline most of the way to the end zone. Five minutes later, after Kansas State had its initial first down and first completed pass since early in the game, Green scored again on a fake reverse. Newcombe picked up 25 yards on a reverse run after taking a handoff from Green. On the next play, Green faked a handoff for a reverse with teammate Shevin Wiggins, and the junior from Omaha Central followed tackle Eric Anderson on his 50-yard touchdown run.

Nebraska led 41-6 with 5:30 left in the third quarter. Swiney first start from Michael Bishop to Everett Burnett. Later in the first series, Bishop and Burnett connected on a 46-yard pass that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Eric Hickson. Bishop, however, finished just 8-of-24 for 162 yards and was intercepted twice. Another freshman, Joe Walker, returned one of those interceptions 71 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

"I wouldn't be surprised at all if Erwin grades high on film," Darlington said. "We blitzed both times when they completed those long passes. You're all by yourself in front of 76,000 in coverage when we blitz. The receiver-made a nice move and the throw was there. They didn't get much after that." Swiney suspected Kansas State might throw his way to test him early.

"But I wasn't worried about them completing those passes," he said. "I was a little nervous, but as soon as I got some plays in I got in a groove. "I'm not all the way to where I wanted to be (as a freshman), but I'm getting there," he added. "I knew I was going to get an opportunity because we're short of DBs, and I want to take advantage of that" f- -'1 "We basically knew what they were going to do," said rush end Grant Wistrom. "The tough thing about a game like this, when they've got a quarterback (who runs) like that, it's hard to get a pass rush on.

"They thought they were going to be able to run the ball pretty easily on us, (but) we played pretty darn solid after the first drive." Added Peter, "I think once we got up on 'em, they still didn't know if they can beat us." Stopping the running game is "one thing we really take pride in. We know if we shut their running game down, you make 'em one-dimensional. Which, in this case, led to nonfunctional "The reason I was scared was the week off, said McBride. "Too many byes, not enough rhythm. But I thought we looked ready to play tonight." KSU running back Eric Hickson, who rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns, said poor execution was the reason for the Wildcats' woes in the running game.

"We just make mistakes. It's all about execution. If you don't execute, bad things happen," he said. "We just didn't do too good. It wasn't Nebraska they didn't force too many of our mistakes." BFor the fourth straight year, Kansas State was undefeated and ranked when it met the Huskers and lost It was the third time in four years that the Wildcats botched the extra point on their first touchdown only to trail 7-6.

Ahman Green's 193-yard rushing performance against Kansas State was the most allowed by the Wildcat defense since the Huskers' DeAngelo Evans rushed for 168 yards last year. 1 fr pretty good since it was my first time starting. This has been a dream of mine since I came here." Johnson said he sought advice from McFarlin throughout the game. McFarlin made a brief appearance in the second half, but for most of the game he tutored Johnson. "He helped me out a lot" Johnson said.

"I asked if he saw anything I did wrong to let me know. He told me what I could do to improve." Johnson E. JOHNSON was a part of an inspired first-team effort. Kansas State finished with only 260 total offensive yards and just 98 on the ground. A lot of those yards came late against Nebraska's reserves.

The Wildcats came into the game with the llth-best rushing offense in the country, averaging 268 yards a game. "The game went as well as we hoped it would," Johnson said. "You have to become a student of the game. That's what the coach always stresses, and that's what we did." Johnson said he wasn't sure if his performance will mean more playing time. He's leaving that up to the coaches, but said he would welcome the chance.

Last season, he played in nine games after making the switch from cornerback to Will linebacker and totaled 12 tackles. "If it does I will be grateful" Johnson said. "I have a lot of patience." sack Baylor 14-0 with 4:50 left in the quarter by returning a punt 47 yards for another touchdown. Baylor got within 14-7 three plays later when Jerod Douglas took a screen pass from Jeff Watson and raced 66 yards downfield for his first career receiving touchdown. But three plays later, Tech answered with a long touchdown of its own.

Lethridge heaved the ball down the right sideline to Hart, who beat double coverage then easily ran into the end zone to put the Red Raiders up 21-7 with 2:34 still remaining in the second quarter. Red Raiders backup quarterback Rob Peters sealed the victory with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm McKenzie with 7 18 to play. The Red Raiders gave the ball back at the 8 with two seconds left and Watson threw a touchdown pass to Morris Anderson as time expired. 1 RANDY HAMPTONUncdn Journal Stw Nebraska rush end Grant Wistrom (98) drags down Kansas State running back Eric Hickson (24) from behind in the first half. BY CURT McKEEVER Lincoln Journal Star Nebraska's first team defense "pushed Kansas State from one-di-Crmensional to almost non-functional Saturday night.

Try as they might and they tried 40 times, the Wildcats gained just 98 yards rushing. "I think that's probably one of our great strengths. We don't think very ''many people can run it on us," Ne-'' braska Coach Tom Osborne said. Kansas State had trouble throwing the ball, too. Quarterback Michael Bishop did complete key third-down passes of 19 and 46 yards to receiver Everett Burnett to help get K-State into the end zone on its first drive.

But he finished the 'game just 8-for-24 for 162 yards, and threw two interceptions that led to 10 points by the Cornhuskers. "You can't say they had a great day throwing the ball," Osborne said. thought our defense played pretty well, other than that one drive where they completed a couple long passes on third down. "I think we probably took a step forward defensively." -r "None of Nebraska's first three I opponents had rushed for 100 yards. But in the previous two games against Washington and Central Florida, the Cornhuskers had allow-' ed 299 and 318 yards through the air.

1 Saturday with freshman Er-; win Swiney making his first start at cornerback, and Eric Johnson filling in for the injured Octavious McFar-land NU looked in mid-season form. "I really think this is one of our better games," Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride said. 1 "Our secondary started to come of 1 age. "We made mistakes, but our sec-' ondary guys were playing with confidence." Kansas State notes Kansas State quarterback Mi-1 chael Bishop hadn't been on the los-- ing side of a football game since starting junior college, and he didn't like it one bit. "I 'just have to keep my head up, work hard and bounce back next I week," Bishop said, shaking his head rin.a postgame press conference, i "Plus, it was the first time we had 'been behind at halftime.

We tried to iight back and get back into the game. they are a great team. They had a key win last week and they got a key win this week. They did what they needed to do to win the ball game." The Huskers beat then-No. 2 Washington 27-14 two weeks ago and pummeled Kansas State 56-26 Satur-, day.

Kansas State, which was ranked No. 17 coming into the game, BY JEFF KORBEUK Lincoln Journal Star The air was warm Saturday in Memorial Stadium, but Eric Johnson still shivered. The 6-foot, 200-pound junior linebacker from Phoenix was making his first start for Nebraska, so the goosebumps were natural. Johnson was one of two defensive players making their first starts as the No. 3 Cornhuskers throttled No.

17 Kansas State 56-26. The other was true freshman Erwin Swiney at cornerback. "It felt good coming out with the Black Shirts," Johnson said. "It gave me a chill down my spine when I made my first tackle with the Black Shirts. It made me feel real good." Johnson had played in Nebraska's previous three games, backing up senior Octavious McFarlin at Will linebacker.

He drew the starting assignment after McFarlin sprained an ankle during the Washington game two weeks ago. McFarlin returned to practice Tuesday, but wasn't well enough to start Saturday. So Johnson got his chance. "I was ready to go," said Johnson, who shares jersey No. 1 with backup quarterback Frankie London.

"The coaches did a great job preparing for the game and getting me ready for my first time starting. So did all the other linebackers." Johnson excelled in his first start. He led the Black Shirts with seven tackles two unassisted. "I think it went pretty good, but there's a couple more things I have to work on executing (on coverages)," he said. "Still, it felt Red Raiders WACO, Texas (AP) Zebbie Lethridge ran for a yard for a touchdown and threw touchdown passes of 68 and 24 yards to Donnie Hart, leading Texas Tech past Baylor 35-14 Saturday night The Red Raiders (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) broke open a sluggish game with three touchdowns in a span of 4 minutes, 43 seconds in the second quarter.

The Bears (1-3, 0-1) also scored in that stretch, but didn't score again until the final play. The victory was a big lift for Tech, which lost 30-27 at home to North Texas two weeks ago. It also ended a streak of five straight victories by the home team in the series. Lethridge started the second-quarter scoring burst with his short touchdown plunge, capping an 80-yard drive and putting Tech up 7-0 with 7:15 to go before halftime. Dane Johnson then upped the lead to Kansas State was ranked 11th nationally in rushing and 17th in total offense, but was held 170 and 180 yards below those totals.

"Any questions asked defensive tackle Jason Peter when posed with the same question. "We're happy with where we are, but we have to get better. When we come down to a game where it's close, we need guys who want to get after it in the fourth quarter. We might have to go back to last year and send guys up the stairs (in practice)." Peter was referring to Nebraska's lower-unit defensive teams. Kansas State scored its second touchdown against a unit mixed of first- and second-team players, then added two others against reserves.

But from the end of the first quarter until Ahman Green's 50-yard touchdown run that made it 41-6 with 5:30 remaining in the third period, Kansas State managed just 15 yards of offense. was led by Bishop, who came to the Wildcats this year from Blinn (Texas) Junior College with a 24-0 record. Bishop had passed for 407 yards in three KSU wins and rushed for another 117. But the Husker defense limited him to 14 yards on the ground and 162 yards passing, while intercepting two passes. "He looked pretty mobile out there.

He is a great athlete who has a tremendous future," said Husker defensive tackle Jason Peter. "He can run as well as any quarterback we've seen this season and we're just happy that we contained him as well as we did." K-State offensive tackle Todd Weiner said the team looks to Bishop. "He's a great leader out there. As embarrassing as this was, we didn't give up," Weiner said. "We Just didn't play good enough to win." '1.

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