TOKYO — Nebraska locked up its second straight trip to the Orange Bowl, defeating Kansas State 38-24 in the Coca-Cola Bowl at the Tokyo Dome.
I-back Calvin Jones helped lead the way, rushing for 186 yards on 30 carries. With 2,110 career yards, he joined former Oklahoma State back Thurman Thomas as the only players in Big Eight history to rush for more than 2,000 by their sophomore years.
Freshman quarterback Tommie Frazier ran for three touchdowns and passed for another. He finished 11 of 15 passing for 129 yards and rushed 13 times for 52 yards.
The 11th- and 10th-ranked Huskers finished 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the Big Eight and will play either Florida State or Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Night in Miami.
K-State finished 5-6 and 2-4 in the game played before a sellout crowd of 50,000 at the Tokyo Dome.
The Huskers earned their second straight Big Eight championship, third in five years and ninth under Coach Tom Osborne. Nebraska tied Colorado for the title last season.
A Kansas State win would have given Colorado the Big Eight title and sent the Huskers to the Blockbuster Bowl.
Nebraska will learn its Orange Bowl opponent today when the Associated Press football poll is released.
The victory gave the Huskers, 9-2 and 6-1 in the Big Eight, their 24th consecutive nine-win season, a continuing NCAA record, and put them in their 24th straight bowl game. The streak for consecutive bowl appearances is the longest in college football and one shy of Alabama’s NCAA record of 25.
Nebraska will make its 13th Orange Bowl appearance and eighth under Osborne.
Nebraska took a 21-10 halftime lead by scoring on three of its first four series.
Jones picked up 18 yards on a shovel pass from Frazier to highlight an eight-play, 61-yard march that ended when Frazier hit a leaping Corey Dixon with an 18-yard pass in the middle of the end zone with 6:35 to play in the first quarter.
K-State went out 1-2-3-punt on its ensuing series, and the Huskers then rolled 68 yards in 10 plays to go up 14-0. Fullback Lance Lewis and Jones got the Huskers rolling with a pair of 12-yard runs, then Frazier connected with Jones on a 14-yard pass.
Seven plays after that, Frazier ran in from 19 yards with 1:14 left in the quarter. On the play, he pumped once to his right, saw open field to his left and took off running.
NU chewed 6:01 off the clock and ran 14 plays en route to its third score, a 4-yard run by Frazier.
Jones carried the load on the series, catching a 10-yard screen pass and breaking off runs of 10 and 12 yards.
Frazier faked a handoff to Jones, then rolled left and into the end zone to put NU up 21-0 with 8:53 to play in the first half.
K-State, limited to 37 yards at that point, then got its offense going to cut NU’s margin to 14 points.
Quarterback Matt Garber and tight end Brad Selb teamed up for a 23-yard pass on first down. Garber later hit wide receiver Andre Coleman with an 11-yarder.
Three plays later, on third and eight, Coleman beat cornerback John Reece to pull in a 52-yard pass from Garber, who was under a heavy rush from outside linebacker Travis Hill.
The Garber-to-Coleman connection struck again two plays later for a 10-yard touchdown with 6:41 to play.
The Huskers and Wildcats then traded turnovers on consecutive plays.
Wildcats end Reggie Blackwell pounced on Frazier’s bad pitch to Jones to set up KSU on the NU 40. But on the Wildcats’ first play, I-back Eric Gallon fumbled and safety Steve Carmer recovered.
The Huskers went nowhere in three plays and punted, giving KSU possession at its 44. The Wildcats moved 33 yards in six plays before place-kicker Tate Wright drilled a 40-yard field goal with 2:27 left in the half.
The Huskers started the second half with a bad break — a holding penalty that nullified Tyrone Hughes’ 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Nebraska overcame the penalty to score on the possession. Byron Bennett kicked a 42-yard field goal to make it 24-10 with 8:46 left in the third quarter.
Kansas State threatened on its next possession, reaching the Huskers’ 29-yard line. Garber was called for intentional grounding and sacked for a big loss by Trev Alberts to kill the drive.
After a KSU punt, Nebraska boosted its lead to 31-10 on a 38-yard touchdown run by Jones.
Kansas State kept Nebraska from putting the game away early with a score early in the fourth quarter.
Garber ran 8 yards for a touchdown to make it 31-17 with 12:36 left.
Nebraska struck on its next possession to regain its three-touchdown lead. Frazier scored on a 1-yard run with 9:19 remaining.
Kansas State ended scoring in the final two minutes on a touchdown pass from Garber to tight end Brad Seib.
Jones’ performance compensated for the loss of Derek Brown, his fellow “We-back.” Brown separated his shoulder in the Oklahoma game. He is expected to be available for the Orange Bowl.
|Yards per carry||2.1||4.9|
Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.
|Middle Tennessee State||Sept. 12|
|Arizona State||Sept. 26|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 10|
|Iowa State||Nov. 14|
|Kansas State||Dec. 5|
|Florida State||Jan. 1|
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