The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska on September 25, 1988 · 32
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The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska · 32

Lincoln, Nebraska
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 25, 1988
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W4 -J ItUOktLlUO Osborne's 'sternness' stimulates NU defense --. .. . Jr. - T I A Qu.: it-; Vvr ' .X" f X By Mike Babcock Tom Osborne didnt yen, really. -At least, cornerback Lorenzo Hicks didnt bear the Nebraska football coach yelling at halftone of the Comhuskers 47,-16 victory over Arizona State. There was "a Coach Osborne sternness to what happened in the locker ropm at intermission, though, said Hicks. The players knew be wasnt happy. But then. Hicks didn't hear everything Osborne said because George Darlington, the Nebraska defensive backs coach, took him aside briefly. 'Jon Marco, an outside linebacker, had a different version of what occurred, ' (."Whew, rve Jiever seen Coach Osborne shake like that before," Marco said. "He told us we needed to start popping people. And be was right" Effective defense requires emotion, jwiicb was in short supply for a while Saturday night That was the studied opinion of Comhusker defensive coordinator Charlie McBride, anyway. "It was the same old thing," said MdBride. The fans sat on their hands, and the kids weren't emotional" j . iThey weren't, that is, until the final play of the first half, when on a sec-ond-and-10 from the Comhusker 41-yard line Nebraska middle guard Lawrence Pete sacked Sun Devil quarterback Daniel Ford for a 12-yard loss. . Pete's sack gave Nebraska an emotional lift, McBride said, but Marco made the play "that really turned it around," early in the fourth quarter. On a first-and-10, barely the length of a football from its own goal line, Arizona State attempted an isolation play with tailback Bruce Perkins, who was just looking to get some breathing room. What Perkins got, instead, was tackled in his own end zone by Marco, with an assist for middle guard Mike Murray. Safety. Two points After making a goal line stand, the way the Sun Devils' defense had, "that has to take the wind out of your sail," said Maim Nebraska's defense slanted on the play. "We ran the pressure of the defense right into it," McBride said. "Wejustgothicky." Luck or not, Marco was happy. "It was the perfect can for me," he said. "Right when I got in the gap, I knew he was coming toward me. "I just had to do my job." Which was? "I took his legs out from under him," said Marco. "It was nice. Those were my first college points." .Although Nebraska led 30-16 at the time, Marco's two points were important, according to McBride. The Comhuskers failed to score during the third quarter, which "worried me a little," he said. "We had about four chances (in the fourth quarter) to score, and we couldn't get it in." That concern was based, in part, on the rapidity with which Arizona State scored its first 13 points. The Sun Devils' first touchdown came on a 54-yard pass, and the second, which came less than four minutes later, was set up by a 46-yard pass. Arizona State's quarterbacks finished with nine completions in 22 attempts for 186 yards.. However, only four of the completions and 43 of the yards came in the second half. That was a result of half time adjustments, McBride said. , The Comhuskers blitzed more often and played with more emotioa Their lethargy disappeared. "I dont think our kids came out of it until the end of the first half," said McBride. Pete's sack was a sign. Marco's safety was the capper. ' Osborne's halftime speech was a sig-. nificant factor, too. "He let the players know he wasn't happy," Hicks sail Try yxv fit. x-- , x-: x WxXXX XXX X ' 1 'iV'X't'---' . - X ...tXy- f j i ' 'A :L ftx plllisfm s :xx i tmmmMvmm ': sxmxxm xxmmsx y I J " X v 7 4 tir tCK mm a ... x - TED KIRKSUNOAY JOURNAL-STAR Nebraska middle guard Lawrence Pete (96) celebrates after sacking ASU quarterback Daniel Ford (7) on the last play of the first half. Baekfield trio 1 OO-yard drought TEO KIRKSUNOAY JOURNAL-STAR Husker l-back Terry Rodgers tries to get outside Sun Devil defensive end Saute Sapolu (right) and inside linebacker Drew Metcalf. By Mike Babcock Not one. Not two. But three. . Count 'em. Three Nebraska ball carriers rushed for 100 yards in the Comhusker football team's 47-16 victory over Arizona State Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Know the last time Nebraska accomplished that? Maybe never. For sure it hasn't happened since 1946, as far back as records have been kept But the best part was, the Comhuskers hadnt had even one ban carrier rush for 100 yards in a game this season. . I-back Ken Clark, who led the way with 122 yards on 22 carries, was tired of hearing about it "We know we've got 100-yard backs," he said. Clark had never done it, though, and neither had Terry ' Rodgers, who became the third back to do so Saturday, thanks to a 16-yard run with 1 :35 remaining in the game Rodgers finished with 113 yards on 13 carries. "I told Terry after the game, 'You've got to stop doing that It puts too much pressure on me,' " Clark said. Clark and Rodgers roomed together on Friday night and "we talked about it (gaining 100 yards)," said Clark. Despite a sore ankle, quarterback Steve Taylor also ran for more than 100 yards, gaining 116 on 17 carries. Each of the three ran for touchdowns, too, Taylor's coming first an U-yarder with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter. Clark scored on a 31-yard run, his longest of the season, early in the second quarter, and Rodgers got his, apparently much to the delight of the Memorial Stadium crowd of 76,312, from 3 yards out with 11 :11 remaining in the game. Rodgers, who weighs in at no more than 170 pounds, ap-preciated-the support "It's nice to know you have the confidence of the fans," he said. "I'm aware of it That really picks me up." . According to Rodgers, the lack of 100-yard rushing efforts this season is understandable to some extent Nebraska hasnt been in situations where the I-backs nave gotten a lot of carries. . In the 41-28 loss to UCLA, for example, the Comhuskers had to play catch-up and were forced to pass. And passing just isnt Nebraska football, said center Jake Young. Early last week, Coach Tom Osborne "told us we were -going to run straight at 'em. That's what we want to do. That's what we do the best" Young said. "This gave us the opportunity to say, 'Hey, this is the real Nebraska footbaU team.'" - The Comhuskers finished with 470 total yards, 441 on the ground. "You like to see that in the paper. It makes you feel good," said Young. ' The offensive linemen deserved to feel good, according to Rodgers. "They blocked excenently," he sail x , ' Rodgers felt good, too. "I hope I proved it's not a matter of size or weight It's desire and ability," said the sophomore from San Diego. "God hasnt told me I can't play running back yet and I'm not going to give it up until he does." Clark credited Frank Solich, the Nebraska running backs coach, with his performance against the Sun Devils. "Coach Solich really got on me this week," said Clark, who watched videotapes of Mike Rozier, the Comhusker Heisman Trophy winner to whom he's often been compared. k Studying the tapes enabled Clark to see some things he needed to do differently, "but more than anything, I think they got me fired up," he said. , That and all the talk about no 100-yard rushing performances this season. "I think we got tired of hearing about it," said the junior", from Omaha. . Three backs with 100 yards? . , X. . "We can have more," Clark said, suggesting that senior Ty-: reese Knox, who saw considerable action at fullback Saturday, -might be a fourth. .. ., '' r ,, , :t Knox carried only four times for 26 yards. More important-", ly, though, he blocked weU. At least, "I felt I did pretty good," .'. said Knox. "It can get better." v . , He did make a good block on Clark's run. He knows that for " sure. "It should look pretty good on the films," Knox said, smiling "I'm looking forward to seeing it It's not the same as scoring a touchdown, but I guess that's how (offensive) linemen have to reward themselves." Everyone on the offense has to do his job in order for a play -to work properly, according to Rodgers. And more often than not that happened Saturday. "We wanted to establish that we could run the ball," said Rodgers. "I think we did today." I X-y , x m illlliilPM t v ; till "X '1 Ml t . ' I k ' ...:'.v: ::: B Husker s I .- ::xxx; :-, n x " s - x t . g ( X x V " ; HAMLD OREtMANlS8UNOAY JOURNALSTAR ASU tailback Bruce Perkins (43) is swarmed by Nebraska defenders, including Jeff Mills (42) and LeRoyEUMine(back). , x 73-yard drive and put NU ahead for good with 13:04 left in the first half. Thomas pressured Ford three straight plays during the Sun Devils' next possession, forcing ASU to punt Nebraska's Dana Brinson caught the punt and broke through a hole behind a key block by Tim Jackson and raced 75 yards to score. It was Nebraska first punt return for a touchdown this season. . "It seemed like that punt return was long, long overdue," Brinson said. "I didnt see anything but open field on the return and a lot of smiling faces when Z turned around in the end zone." Arizona scored its final points of the game on its next possession, but the field goal was a concession after the Sun Devils had driven to' the Nebraska 3-yardline. Once again, back-to-back standout plays by a hard-charging Thomas, along with Jeff Mills and LeRoy Etienne, stymied the Sun Devils' offense. Offense faltered The NU offense slowed down in the third quarter, giving the ban over on downs at the ASU 23- and 29-yard lines. And even though the offense fen short at the Sun Devil 1-yard Une at the start of the fourth quarter, the Comhusker defense kept the team flying high. NU outside linebacker Jon Marco and middle guard Mike Murray caught Bruce Perkins in the ASU end zone for a safety. . Arizona State's two sustained drives in the third quarter ended in turnovers. The first drive was halted when Ford fumbled at the end of a 40-yard run and Reggie Cooper recovered for the Comhuskers. The second ASU drive of any consequence in the third quarter ended when NU safety Tim Jackson grabbed bis second interception of the game. - "We blitzed more than ever before and it put a lot of pressure on Arizona State. Pressure we didnt get on them early," Cooper said. "He (Ford) was . checking off the plays and second-guessing himself even when we faked blitzes." i But it was out of respect for Ford that Nebraska blitzed more than ever before this season, NU defensive back coach George Darlington sail "Ford made two great passes to get - 4h 1 .... , : i xxXxixi--, i 1 , 1 .; M l m ST m i . I li & ::-xX::- -X:;- TED KIRKSUNOAY JOURNAL-STAR Husker cornerback Charles Fryar (10) breaks up a pass intended for ASU flanker Lynn James (82). them the lead and the only way we could be effective against him was to put all the pressure on him we could," he said. Matter of survival - Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said it was a matter of survival, to pressure Ford with blitzes from the safeties and linebackers. , - "Defensively, I was not happy with a lot of the first half," he said. "Ford is a good quarterback and if you give him time, hel put the ban where it has to be. "He was our main problem in the first half. At halftime, I honestly didnt know who would win the game," Osborne said. It was that old feeling again, he said. "We werent stopping them and that's a nervous feeling" But Nebraska closed down the ASU running pme after Alan Zendejas kicked a 22-yard field goal to cut the score to 23-16 with 4:13 left in the first half. After the field goal the Sun Devils were limited to minus 20 yards on 11 carries, not including Ford's 40-yard run that ended in a fumble. Nebraska's defense had been given the word to get emotional in the second half, Cooper said. "Coach Osborne was so fired up at halftime. He was mad and yet bfi was pumping us up to play better," he said. "He was so excited that we figured if we didnt play better he'd put the pads on and get out there for us." Although he was smiling after the game, Osborne was more cautious in talking to the press. "We're not there yeC Osborne said.,, "We won the rushing game. We won the ' kicking game and we won the line of -scrimmage. But we've got a ways to go. "It's a funny season. I dont think any-1 body has this locked up. Oklahoma lost and they're a fine team. I watched the Stanford-USC game (last week) and Stanford should have won that And Is was surprised with the ease with which USC beat Oklahoma today "he said.' v

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