Friday, December 13, 2002
Crouch, Alexander lead No. 1 Huskers
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Eric Crouch ran for three touchdowns and
passed for another as top-ranked Nebraska overcame 100-degree heat
and a sloppy defensive start to beat San Jose State 49-13 on
Dan Alexander rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns and
Correll Buckhalter had 117 yards on 13 carries for the Huskers, who
scored on their first four possessions in the season opener and
didn't punt until the fourth quarter.
Nebraska wore down the smaller Spartans on an afternoon when it
reached 100 degrees by the beginning of the fourth quarter and the
temperature on the artificial turf was 120.
The Huskers had 596 yards of offense while winning their 15th
Crouch, who had surgery on his throwing shoulder in January, was
just 4-of-10 for 67 yards with two interceptions. But Crouch had no
trouble leading the option attack and finished with 57 yards on
While the offense backed up the Nebraska's No. 1 ranking, the
defense did not. Nebraska has six new starters on defense and it
showed early Saturday.
The Spartans gained 346 yards and had three apparent touchdowns
nullified because of penalties. Nebraska had trouble stopping
Deonce Whitaker, a speedy 5-foot-6 senior, who rushed for 147
yards, 121 in the first half.
Marcus Arroyo was 10-for-23 with two touchdowns for San Jose
Nebraska was never threatened, but didn't put the game away
until the second half when Alexander broke free on an option for a
56-yard run. Crouch added a 9-yard touchdown run late in the third
for a 42-13 lead and the starting backfield was done for the day.
Crouch accounted for Nebraska's first three touchdowns with a
6-yard scoring run, a 27-yard TD pass to Tracey Wistrom and a
4-yard bootleg with about five minutes left in the second quarter.
Each scoring play capped an 80-yard drive.
The Huskers' longest drive of the first half, 97 yards, opened
with Buckhalter's 26-yard run and ended on a 1-yard dive by
Alexander that gave the Huskers a 28-6 halftime lead.
Whitaker opened San Jose State's first possession with a 6-yard
run, then sprung free for 69 yards to set up a first-and-goal from
the 7, but the Huskers were able to avoid giving up a touchdown.
Two penalties pushed the Spartans back, then Nick Gilliam's 29-yard
field-goal attempt bounced off the right upright.
The Spartans got to the Nebraska 8 on their next possession and
scored on a pass in the flat from Arroyo to An Truong that cut
Nebraska's lead to 14-6 when the extra-point try was blocked.
Arroyo brought San Jose State within 35-13 on a 19-yard pass to
Rashied Davis after Josh Parry's interception gave the Spartans the
ball at the Nebraska 21.
|Nebraska's Dan Alexander pushes aside San Jose State's Willie Adams on his way to one of two touchdowns Saturday.|