Daily News from New York, New York on August 29, 1994 · 39
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Daily News from New York, New York · 39

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Monday, August 29, 1994
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CO X X I r " niT K 7 i ! r i i f 1 ift lop Mountaineers fv- to kick oflrniri tar 1 J?1 S x , ofSw' s.4 FS-oS C if J I h - K '-J J4 i i. :':ew9RJ((crt'fc', Daily News Sports Wnter Last season, the Kickoff Classic served as Charlie Ward's Heisman Trophy campaign coming-out party and Florida State began its championship run at Giants Stadium. j i ji - - 1 , y lilt I v WWA' UNOA CATAFFO DAILY NEWS untouched for 27-yard TD. Nebraska QB finished with 3 TDs and threw for 1. SaiisrIinEn's day a tomlng success By DICK WEISS and P.L CUMMINCS Daly News Sports WritefS West Virginia punter Todd Sauerbrun, who grew up in Setauket, L.I., has dreamed about playing in the NFL ever since ninth grade. Sauerbrun took a giant step toward that goal yesterday when he boomed a record 90-yard punt and a 70-yarder and averaged 60.1 yards on nine attempts in the Mountaineers' 31-0 loss to fourth-ranked Nebraska in the Kick-off Classic at Giants Stadium. "Did you eat anything special for breakfast today?" one writer asked. "If that was the case, I'd be eating it every day," Sauerbrun said. "Actually, I couldn't eat anything for breakfast, I was so nervous. If we won this game, we would have been top five in the country." Sauerbrun, an All-Big East punter, had the biggest day of his career in front of 30 relatives, who made the short trip from Long Island. "I wanted to make a statement for kickers and punters," he said. Not impressed: Not everyone on West Virginia was blown away by Nebraska. "We thought we could beat them before the game," West Virginia nose guard Keith Morris said. "They're not the greatest team in the country. We just screwed up today." Trend-setter: For the Big East, West Virginia's showing continued a recent trend. In the last three games involving Big East teams, opponents have outscored them, 101-7. Arizona beat Miami, 29-0, in the Fiesta Bowl; Florida beat West Virginia, 41-7, in the Sugar Bowl and Nebraska beat the Mountaineers. 31-0, yesterday. . . . Nebraska's defense held West Virginia running back Robert Walker to 46 yards rushing, Walker's lowest total since Virginia Tech held him to 41 last Oct 2 West Virginia's 89 yards of total offense was the lowest total in Don Neh-len's 16 years. . . . Nebraska hadn't had a shutout since a 55-0 victory over Oklahoma State on Oct 10, 1992. The blanking was Nebraska's first in an opener since a 13-0 victory over Baylor Sept 1, 1990. The way Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier and the Cornhuskers played yesterday in the 12th annual game, the same scenario could develop this season. Frazier, a 6-2, 205-pound junior, ran and passed the No. 4-ranked Cornhuskers to a 31-0 victory over West Virginia in front of 58,233 fans. It was a game Frazier and Nebraska dominated in every facet, except punting. The Cornhuskers outgained the Mountaineers 468-89 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per play to West Virginia's 1.6. Nebraska's defense had eight sacks, held West Virginia to eight yards rushing and only gave up nine first downs. West Virginia punter Todd Sauerbrun was the only highlight for the Mountaineers. The senior averaged 60.1 yards per punt and got off one for 90 yards. "That's the farthest I ever saw a ball kicked," said Frazier, who rushed 12 times for 130 yards and touchdowns of 25, 27 and 42 yards, and completed 8-of-16 passes for 100 yards and another score, establishing himself as a Heisman candidate. "I think Tommie realized last year in the Orange Bowl game against Florida State how good he can be," Nebraska split end Reggie Baul said. "Now I think he's going to show he can do it consistently." Although the game turned out to be the blowout many predicted, West Virginia players talked about how glad they were to have the chance to face a team like Nebraska, figuring it would give them a chance to show the type of program they have in Morgan-town. Instead, the Mountaineers were left trying to figure out what happened. "I don't know what to say," West Virginia running back Robert Walker said. "I'm embarrassed. I don't know about the rest of the team, but I'm really embarrassed. It seemed like we were not ready to play against a team like Nebraska." Or a quarterback like Frazier. Although he was intercepted twice, Frazier was the most dominant player on the field. After Nebraska took a 3-0 lead on Tom Sieler's 32-yard field goal with 34 seconds left in the first quarter, Frazier took over. He scored on a 25-yard run with 10:49 left in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead, and 1:29 later he hit Baul in the middle of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown and 17-0 lead. A questionable call by referee Dick Honig led to Nebraska's next score. Honig whistled the Mountaineers for roughing Nebras- ka punter Darin Erstad after a NEBRASKA 31 W. VIRGINIA 0 kick. However, it appeared Erstad's punt was partially blocked by a West Virginia player. Instead of having the ball, West Virginia was playing defense and two plays later, Frazier ran around the right end for a 27-yard touchdown and a 24-0 lead. "They had the ball so much in the first half, our defense got worn out," West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said. "Right at the end of the first quarter and the entire second quarter, we knew we had them," said Nebraska I-back Lawrence Phillips, who had 24 carries for 126 yards. "We could see they were tired because they were bending over, -holding their breath. That's when we started lining up real quick and running our plays fast" The Cornhuskers were running plays so quick West Virginia couldn't get its defen sive calls in from the sideline. "A lot of our younger guys didn't know what to do," said Mountaineers linebacker Matt Taffbni. "They were on top of the ball so fast we were lost on defense." Even if the Mountaineers' defense had been respectable, it wouldn't have mat-' . tered. "They were a lot quicker than I thought" said Walker, who was held to 46 yards on 12 carries by the Cornhuskers. "It seemed like our offense just couldn't do anything. I don't know what to say." e o 3 Q. m a CO c a CO

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