LINCOLN — Nebraska was ho-humming along with a 14-0 lead in the second quarter Saturday when a blur in a white Kansas State shirt took a pass 87 yards. After the shirt slowed in the end zone, the Cornhuskers learned they had been burned by Eugene Goodlow.
Goodlow’s no-contest race with defender Tim Fischer had an after-shave lotion effect (“Thanks, I needed that”) on the Huskers.
They extended a 14-7 halftime lead to 28-7 in the first 59 seconds of the second half and went on to swamp the Wildcats 48-14.
“We were sluggish at first,” Husker Linebacker Coach John Melton said. “That long pass woke the defense up, and they realized what we’ve been telling them about what one play can do.”
Following the Dan Manucci-to-Goodlow attention-getter and Nebraska’s 14-point response, a Memorial Stadium homecoming turnout of 75,818 settled back to watch the Husker offense crank out 606 total yards — the second time over 600 this season. Meanwhile, the defensive Blackshirts sat back to await Manucci’s inevitable, if futile, flood of passes.
The Wildcat senior completed 12 of 27 for a respectable 267 yards and two touchdowns, but as Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said: “We felt if they couldn’t run the football, they’d have a hard time winning.”
Right, Coach. K-State tried 31 running plays and netted a mere 17 yards.
More Osborne wisdom: “In some ways, Kansas State was fortunate to score. You can’t count on the long pass. There’s some luck involved.
“We emphasized being physical and running the ball. Passing is gravy. When you go down the field 7 and 8 yards a pop and knock people down, that’s a little more sure-fire.”
Nebraska’s sure-fire offense was worth a season-high 183 yards on 26 carries by I-back I.M. Hipp, playing in relief of Tim Wurth, who started the game. Wurth sat out the contest after the first quarter when his sore neck stiffened.
Hipp, showing no evidence of a sprained ankle that bothered him earlier in the week, said he didn’t mind coming off the bench. “Whatever the coach decides. We’re all team oriented,” he said.
While Hipp failed to score, Nebraska’s meat-and-potatoes touchdowns came on runs of 1 yard by quarterback Tom Storley, 4 by Rick Berns, 19 by Andra Franklin, 18 by Kenny Brown and 6 by Jim Kotera.
Sorley mixed in enough passing gravy to account for touchdowns of 54 yards to tight end Junior Miller and 33 to Brown. Sorley completed 11 of 16 passes for 218 yards.
But it was the waterbug antics of Nebraska middle guard Kerry Weinmaster that delighted the Husker homecomers as much as anything.
The Wildcats tried to befuddle the Husker defense with an offense that was spread from wall to wall. It opened with its “Special” set, with no running backs behind Manucci and Mack Green going in motion for the first time this season for a 16-yard handoff on the first play.
The Huskers caught on quickly. Weinmaster logged the first of his five first-half tackles for losses in the initial series and harassed Manucci so badly that his only completion in eight attempts the first half was the cross-country job to Goodlow.
“Pass defense starts with the people up front,” Weinmaster said. “We had to dominate the line of scrimmage. We had a good game against Iowa State, but Coach (Charlie) McBride said you can be heroes one week and dogs the next.”
McBride said, “They were trying to single block Kerry the first half. They changed centers and had two and three on him the second half.”
Can Weinmaster be blocked one-on-one? “Yes, if they hold him,” McBride said.
Although Kansas State trailed by only a touchdown at the half, the Huskers had built a 294-93 edge in total offense. N.U. came up empty in the first half on a Billy Todd 48-yard field-goal attempt and was stopped short on fourth down at the Wildcat 24.
After a scoreless first quarter, Nebraska marched 74 yards to Sorley’s scoring sneak, aided by a 29-yard pass to Miller.
Miller, who finished with five receptions for 124 yards, finally ended a personal touchdown drought when he took a deep pass from Sorley and ran out of the grasp of free safety Sam Owen at the 8 for the 54-yard score that made it 14-0.
“Sure, it was beginning to bother me that I haven’t scored a touchdown,” Miller said. “I’m glad we put in the Iso (isolation) pass this week.” The play that had been scratched since the Alabama game saw Sorley fake to the I-back on a dive before the pass.
Miller was open on the same play later, but Sorley overthrew.
The seemingly comfortable Husker lead became precarious with 2:05 left in the half when Manucci dropped back on third-and-18 from his 13. He fired to Goodlow, cutting in from the left flank. Defensive end George Andrews was short on a five, and Fischer couldn’t keep up in the race with the Wildcat sprinter who has now averaged a phenomenal 66 yards on four touchdown receptions.
“At the half I didn’t know who was going to win,” Osborne said. “It was pretty quiet in the locker room. It was almost like we were behind.”
In the first half, however, Osborne and his staff made some discoveries about the Wildcat defense.
“They’d come up with something different defensively each week. We decided we’d just have to figure it out as we went along,” he said. “They were blitzing their monster and corner and stacking the middle. They had some spacings in the line we weren’t ready for.
“We made some blocking adjustments, and by the middle of the second quarter we knew what we had to do. In the second half, we kind of took them apart.”
It took just five plays and 46 seconds to cover 66 yards at the outset of the second half. Hipp started it with a 32-yard run, and Berns finished it from the 4.
Thirteen seconds later, it was 28-7. Tom Vering smacked Goodlow on the kickoff, and Derrie Nelson recovered the fumble on the Wildcat 33.
From there, the Huskers went to one of their favorite gravy plays, the double handoff from Sorley to Hipp to Sorley and a long pitch to Brown for the touchdown.
Franklin made it 35-7 after three quarters when he broke up the middle, then cut for the flag on his 19-yard touchdown run. Brown scored his fourth touchdown of the season and first on the ground with a sharp wingback counter for 18 yards in the fourth quarter, and Kotera finished off a 72-yard drive by the subs with his third touchdown in the last 48 seconds.
Manucci finally found another crack in the Husker defense early in the fourth quarter when he hit Omahan Charlie Green on consecutive passes of 23 and 41 yards against cornerback Andy Means.
The second one carried to the Husker 2-yard line when the ball was underthrown and Means kept going deep while Green stopped short to make the catch.
“Andy had perfect position, but he didn’t look back,” Husker Defensive Coordinator Lance Van Zandt said.
“Kansas State can beat people if they keep hanging in there” Line Coach McBride said. “That Goodlow (who caught 12 passes for 304 yards in a junior varsity game against Nebraska last year) is as good as you’ll see.”
Kansas State dropped to 2-4 and will return home to play Missouri next week. Nebraska, eighth ranked and riding a five-game winning streak, will travel to Colorado, which Saturday lost to Oklahoma State, which lost to Kansas State.
|Yards per carry||0.5||5.2|
Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.
|Iowa State||Oct. 7|
|Kansas State||Oct. 14|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 28|
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