The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska on November 24, 1985 · 35
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The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska · 35

Lincoln, Nebraska
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 24, 1985
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y m "r'M ' l'lt m ft1 ' If USECERS C 37D SUNDAY J0URNAL-8TAfl & old times rsoKMAN, Okia.1 - On the first play from feBmmage Saturday afternoon, In what was sup-ym& to be an evenly matched football lame, Oklahoma quarterback Jamelle Holleway kept fei-an option ant beaded right, where be was feathered by Nebraska defensive tackle Chris fjsshman for a I-yard loss. ; darkness settled over Owen Field later In IWday, the irony of that opening play was re-Clcted ta the bright lights on the scoreboard: Cfclahoma 27, Nebraska?. . Oklahoma's first play, even its opening series, which went three-downs-and-punt, was a poor in-ifccaUon of what was about to happen. The Soon-eisrand Cornhuskert. might have been evenly rjached, but you wouldn't have guessed that watching Saturday's game, 241 seemed like old times, like the Comhuskers' (trite-game winning streak over Oklahoma from 1981 to 1983 had never happened. AH those years t of frustration came flooding back on Saturday afternoon. Once again, the Sooners had their way. Prior to the game, they talked about beating Nebraska as if they knew what would happen. And after that aborted first series, they backed up every irritating word. Oklahoma caught the Comhuskers out of position, like the time Keith Jackson, a tight end, raced 88 yards on a reverse to score. And even when Nebraska's defense was in position, it didnt seem to matter to Holleway, who broke at least three tackles on the first of his two touchdown runs. ' - : : At times, it looked like the Comhuskers bad forgotten how to tackle, which, of course, wasnt the case. ' The problem was Oklahoma, and there was nothing Nebraska could da ' Mike Babcock ' ' v. V- Cotumnlit AH week, NU Coach Tom Osborne said he couldnt worry about Oklahoma because he had no control over the way the Sooners would play. His concern was that the Comhuskers play as wen as they could play. So what happened? . "I'm not too proud of the way we played today, but we tried bard," Osborne sail "We tried as hard as we could, but we weren't able to domi nate the way we have a lot of others." Talent, rather than effort, was the difference in Saturday's game. Oklahoma was too quick. The Sooners had too much speed for the Comhuskers, on both offense and defense. Nebraska could make all the half-time adjustments it wanted, but the Comhuskers couldnt get any faster. For the first time in 73 games, Nebraska wasnt favored, and as one writer suggested afterward, the Cornhuskers shouldn't have been. If the 20-point loss wasnt disappointing enough, consider this: much of Oklahoma's team returns next season. In fact, most of the key Sooner players are sophomores and freshmen Holleway, of course, Is a freshman, and so are several of Oklahoma's running backs, including Anthony Stafford and Leon Perry. Jackson, linebacker Brian Bosworth, defensive end Damn Seed and fullback LydeU Carr are sophomores. TheyTl only get better. . ... For the time being, however, Nebraska's disappointment Is coming so close to a chance at the national championship and seeing it disappear at the hands of Oklahoma. This Comhusker team was good enough to dream. Now, instead of playing Penn State for the national title hi the Orange Bowl, it win spcMv. Year's Day in Tempe,&i4 Nebraska win play Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl, which may be the. only consolation in Saturday's loss to Oklahoma. ; The Orange Bowl's hospitality has left something to be desired in recent seasons. But the-Fiesta Bowl doesnt get the Big Eight champion and it doesnt offer a chance to win the national title. - , . The Comhuskers had to lose to get there. And '; .they did, convincingly. etter athletes gave OU tep on JtiusKer defense By Ryly Jane Hambleton IORMAN, Okla. There was a pretty obvious difference en Oklahoma and Nebraska In Charlie McBride a esu- ; Athletically, we werent in the park with them," said the tilers' defensive coordinator. "They have much better ath-tetf than we have. y Syfl besides, our tackling was atrocious." Execution was the key In Oklahoma's 27-7 victory over Ne-bra: a at the Sooners1 Memorial Stadium Saturday in a natron ly televised game. . ley executed their offense very well," McBride said. "The ran their offense, except for those two trick plays, and they lidnt really do anything that was unexpected. We got beat i an three phases of the game kicking, offense and de-fens' Jac son made difference Thj first of those trick plays McBride mentioned was a tight ind reverse on Oklahoma's second series of the game, a play tkat resulted in Keith Jackson's 88-yard touchdown run. . - '"Wthout Jackson, Oklahoma would be a good team, but he's the diference." McBride said. "He can get on you in so many ways 4- blocking, running, catching the baU and do things welk: "I dnt think the reverse affected us mentally because vveVe bten in those situations with Oklahoma before." Both McBride and head Coach Tom Osborne said they hadn't seen the reverse in earlier Sooner games and it caught the Huskersofl-guard. - '"That should have been in their offense an along," McBride said. "I guess they saved it for us. You kiow, we usually are the ones with the trick plays, but theirs was more productive than any of ours have been." Big play downed NU sThe Huskers" defense which entered the game ranked third in the nation in both total defense and rushing defense -gave up 42 yards on the ground, with Jackson contributing 136 yards on three carries while freshman quarterback Jamelle Holieway had 110 yards on 25 rushes. jSaid McBride: "The big play killed us. That's something we warned the team about all week. It does every year with Oklahoma.. t "Against Colorado, they had two 19-play drives, and that's the. first time I've ever seen that happen. They usually have some play stuck In there that they rip off." t McBride offered some observations on the defensive problems. ; ' XI thought on the perimeter, which is our outside guys, we hid them locked "up a couple of times and we did.a wen, you can. say poor or you can say lousy job of tackling," he said. "We seemed kind of hesitant on defense. Overall, except for the big plays, we were so sporadic. It's hard to figure out, but I ' knowwedidntdoagoodjobfundamentaUy." McBride said there Is a special talent for defensing the wishbone off ense, and speed is a big factor. "We didnt have the athletic ability to match up with their speed. We were a shade slow in the secondary, but it's more than that," he said. "It takes time to learn to read the wishbone and play it It takes a person not only of great athletic ability, but also intelligence. . .... "If you're thinking about things off the field and not studying the films enough, you win make mistakes. "We could have had a better week of practice. The weather hurt us, but ln.a game like this, that doesnt make a big difference. The players know what to expect But I think we were about a day behind in preparing for the wishbone." The Sooners' speed created problems for Nebraska, but that wasnt the only hurdle for the Huskers, according to defensive tackle Jim Skow; "Holieway is kind of like a field mouse really quick and he Jumps around a lot," be said. "We thought we bad him contained a few times and he just got away. He has a lot of talent "But I dont think speed was the only difference. We had problems of missed assignments and having to deal with the blocking schemes of the wishbone." Wishbone inherently tough to defense Nebraska middle guard Danny Noonan agreed, and said the Sooner offensive linemen "werent the best we've played. . against but the offensive backs made up for it" However, linebacker Kevin Parsons, who led the Huskers with 10 unassisted tackles and three assists, said the wishbone offense Oklahoma uses was as much a factor as the players who run that offense. . "Oklahoma is not necessarily the best offense we've played But there are some inherent qualities In the wishbone that make it explosive," he said. "There could be a series where they dont gain a yard and then there can be a series where they break one for 80 yards. ."That's not to take anything away Trom their players, because they are great" Parsons said the defense didnt panic or become discouraged after the first quarter, when Oklahoma took a 14-0 lead The second Sooner touchdown was a 43-yard run by Holieway, and the drive was kept alive by a 38-yard pass from Holieway to Jackson. Both plays came on third down. "I didnt feel like we werent doing anything right" Parsons said. "The big plays they had were plays that if they were playing against the Chicago Bears could have been big plays. "Sometimes you just over-pursue a reverse and that can do anything. Sometimes you get dropped for 20 yards or go for 80 yards." 45 li- Ik X 1 1 , . : f it rl 1 I "' A j ; ;.f -j I ,' I -4 ' i I r.y f it 1 f:j: ...... ;;::::s:-;:;i:;--::: NU's Danny Noonan wraps up Sooner quarterback Jamelle Holieway Hi ill J W "Nebraska-Michigan game just what Fiesta Bowl ordered By Virgil Parker v NORMAN, Okla. - Fiesta Bowl official Alex i Crutchfield emphasized, he wasnt wishing Nebraska any bad luck here Saturday. Tm sorry Nebraska had such a bad day," Crutchfield said after the Huskers absored a 27-7 beating by Oklahoma, "tut, we got the matchup we wanted By far, it (Nebraska versus Michigan) will lie the best matchup in the history of our bowl" . , Crutchfield said Saturday's game could have been a lot closer, "but when you lose two scores like Nebraska did after gaining the other guy's five-yard line, it makes it doubly tough to take. Oklahoma played very well, while Nebraska just couldnt seem to get it going." Crutchfield said the Fiesta Bowl committee has had "a warm spot for Nebraska ever since they came to Phoenix in 1975. They were our first major team. Their appearance that year is what gave our game national credibility. We've been trying to get them back for 10 years. ' J "But we put together our 'dream' game," Crutchfield insisted, again. "From the very outset we wanted Nebraska and Michigan. And we got them." Nebraska and Michigan will each get 11,700 tickets for the Fiesta Bowl, Crutchfield said. "And, I was just informed this afternoon," he added, "that all of our tickets have been sold So we're sure well have a sellout crowd of 72,000." The Arizona State stadium seated 54,000 when the Huskers lost a 17-14 decision to ASU in the 1975 game. The Nebraska athletic department announced that ticket requests for the Fiesta Bowl game will be accepted immediately by maiL They are priced at $25.00 each. Checks should be made payable to the University of Nebraska. Those placing orders should include $2 extra per order to cover mailing and handling charges. If ticket requests exceed the Nebraska allotment, a priority system will , be used to fill the orders. Early postmarks win not matter as long as the request is dated Dec. 2 or before. No telephone orders win be accepted Requests should be mailed to: Athletic Ticket Office, PO Box 82848. Lincoln, NE, 68501. t3Sit?:5!ffTWrSWSW '' 'J.' J 111 - '- " ' ' 1 I f f I'm ? i f ,(v4 ' ' . o M i - ,. v. . . ( k 1 " - f $" . ' v I'.'-i1-; - OU defense offers NU backs nothing: Von Sheppard (2) dashes to the Oklahoma 6-yard-line on this 52-yard run In the second quarter. But the Huskers failed to score. By Ryly Jane Hambleton NORMAN, Okla. - When the No. 1 rushing offense meets the No. 1 rushing defense, something has to give. But Oklahoma didnt give Nebraska, anything in the Sooners1 27-7 victory over Nebraska Saturday. "Oklahoma has a really fine defense and we really didn't get anything accomplished against them," said senior fullback Tom Rathman, who had 28 yards rushing on eight carries. "Their defensive line does a fine job of keeping the linebackers free and the linebackers make a lot of plays - at least they did today." The Sooners held Nebraska to 161 yards on the ground, allowing just 38 yards in the second half after taking a 17-0 lead Combined speed, toughness "We couldnt change our game plan. We ntew we'd have to try them inside and Outside to see what they were giving . us, but they gave us nothing," said sopho- "-; more quarterback McCalhorn Clayton. ' "When we went outside, their speed pre- ' vented us from getting going and Inside they were tough. . "If we could have established our running game, it would have helped the pass. But when they stopped our running " game, the defense knows you're going to have to pass the ball" Clayton said he thought the Huskers could come back after Keith Jackson's -88-yard reverse for a Sooner touchdown, ' "But you can't make mistakes and you have to be consistent Everything was going right for their defense," he said "But Oklahoma is the toughest team we've played with their overall speed and you cant take anything away from them." NU couldn't intimidate Rathman said he thought the HusKers didnt do the damage to the Sooners that they did last year in a 17-7 loss. "Last year, I thought we physicauy abused them. This year, I thought we' were hitting them pretty good in the first half but things just werent going right" he said "They almost shut us out today and we have a better offense than that " , .1 "But then again, they have a good defense and we really didn't have too many breaks today." The Huskers started the game with a 'first down oh a pass from Clayton to Robb Schnitzler, but the Husker offense .stalled " '" "I felt at the start of the game that we-could take it and drive down the field on them," said Rathman. "We wanted to try hard and win the game because there was a lot at stake a good chance to win the national championship. ; "Oklahoma has a reaJly fine defense, but we stopped ourselves some of the time."

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