AMES, Iowa — As expected Saturday, Iowa State’s Troy Davis ran for 100 yards but Nebraska ran away with the football game.
The fifth-ranked Huskers got a career-high 214 yards rushing in three quarters from I-back Ahman Green in rolling to a 49-14 victory. A rain-soaked crowd of 47,850 watched at sold-out Cyclone Stadium.
“There was nothing real remarkable about the game,” NU Coach Tom Osborne said. “We played about the way I thought we would.
“Iowa State has a very good offensive team, and we held them down pretty well until we started substituting in the fourth quarter.”
Davis, the nation’s leading rusher with a 202.4-yard average, gained 138 yards in 34 carries to break the NCAA record for most yards in back-to-back seasons with 3,970. His 2,010 yards last year and 1,960 this year top the old mark of 3,906 by Southern Cal’s Marcus Allen in 1980 and 1981.
But 14 of Davis’ attempts for 55 yards Saturday came in the fourth quarter with Nebraska — leading 42-7 — using its backup defense. And Davis, first nationally in scoring at 12.7 points a game, failed to score for the second straight year against Nebraska.
“He’s a great back,” Husker middle linebacker Jon Hesse said. “We just wanted to contain him and not let him gash us. Other than one long run, we did that.”
What Davis thought of NU’s defense, ranked seventh nationally, isn’t known. He didn’t show up for postgame interviews.
Green did talk after carrying 11 times for 77 yards in the first quarter, five times for 61 yards in the second and 13 times for 76 yards in the third. He said he was still pooped, even after sitting out the fourth quarter.
“I had to work hard for every yard today,” Green said. “We just kept going right at them.”
Nebraska had two reasons for wanting to pound the ball at Iowa State on the ground.
The first was that ISU was ranked second-to-last nationally in total defense.
The second was the wet weather. Ames received one inch of rain in the 24 hours before game time, and more moisture fell intermittently throughout the game. Snow had been forecast, but a warm front that passed through pushed the temperature at kickoff to 54 degrees.
Osborne said he was worried about the conditions at Cyclone Stadium, which has a new grass surface.
“The thing I didn’t want to do was come over here and play in a game where the elements took you out of your ability to do what you can,” he said. “It can be a great equalizer if you play in a 14-inch snow or a 3-inch rain.
“The field was wet. It was kind of hard to cut. But overall it wasn’t too bad. The elements were about as good as we could hope for with the forecast we had.”
With the win, Nebraska secured its 28th straight nine-win season, an ongoing NCAA record. The Huskers are 9-1 overall and 7-0 in the Big 12’s North Di-vision. Iowa State fell to 2-8 and 1-6.
Nebraska went ahead 20-0 after the first quarter, then stretched a 28-0 halftime lead with third-quarter touchdown drives of 80 yards in 12 plays and 80 yards in 17 plays.
“There have been some questions about our offense recently,” said NU quarterback Scott Frost, who ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more. “We talked all week about getting more physical and playing Nebraska football.
“We haven’t done that as much as Nebraska teams of the past. But we did to-day. When you line up and make 4, 5, 6 or 7 yards on first down, it makes a big difference.”
Nebraska finished with 491 yards of total offense (388 rushing, 103 passing).
“But you’ve got to look at the fact that Iowa State has been pushed around a little on defense,” Osborne said. “We played pretty well offensively.
“We only punted one time. And I was pleased with the fact that we had no turnovers.”
Iowa State turned the ball over three times. One was on the game’s first pos-session.
Darren Davis, Troy’s brother, returned the opening kickoff 35 yards to the ISU 45. Six yards from Troy Davis and an offside penalty on Nebraska moved the Cyclones to the NU 44.
But two penalties shoved the Cyclones back to their own 44. Then Davis fumbled a handoff and Hesse recovered at the ISU 39.
Hesse said the recovery lifted the defense, but didn’t crush Iowa State.
“I don’t think it was a deal where they thought, ‘Uh, oh,”’ he said. “They came back strong and kept coming at us. They played us tough.”
Green did the heavy work from there, carrying six consecutive times to the ISU 9. On third-and-goal from the 6, Frost found tight end Vershan Jackson in the back of the end zone. Kris Brown’s extra-point kick put NU ahead 7-0 with 8:13 to go in the first quarter.
After one first down, Iowa State punted to the Nebraska 46. Three plays later, the Huskers led 14-0. Green ran for 11 and 8 yards, then Frost hit Jackson with a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Nebraska forced Iowa State to punt after three plays, then scored again in 10 plays.
Green had runs of 11 and 10 yards and Frost hit split end Brendan Holbein with a 12-yard pass to set up I-back Damon Benning’s 6-yard touchdown run. A bobbled snap on the extra point kept the score 20-0 with 41 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Frost, 3 of 4 passing in the first quarter for 53 yards, completed just 5 of 13 after that for another 50 yards.
The main reason for the passing dropoff, Osborne said, was the struggle to find a dry ball. Teams bring their own brand of ball to play with, and Nebraska supplied its usual half-dozen.
But Osborne and Frost said all the balls were saturated by the third quarter.
In the second quarter, Iowa State moved inside the Nebraska 40-yard line twice.
The first threat ended when Husker weakside linebacker Terrell Farley sacked ISU quarterback Todd Doxzon for a 14-yard loss.
The second collapsed after the following sequence of events — a 4-yard loss for Davis, a 12-yard sack of Doxzon, an illegal procedure penalty, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and another illegal procedure call.
By the time the Cyclones stopped backing up, they faced fourth-and-51 at their own 25.
Nebraska, with 3:07 left in the half, got the ball back and used all but 21 seconds of that to drive 80 yards for a touchdown.
Green started the drive with a 23-yard run on a fake reverse. And it was his 25-yard blast up the middle on fourth-and-1 at the ISU 26 that set up Frost’s quarterback sneak for a touchdown. On the point-after play, holder Jon Vedral took the snap and flipped a shovel pass to fullback Joel Makovicka for a two-point play, putting Nebraska ahead 28-0.
In the third quarter, Iowa State scored just the fifth touchdown of the season against NU’s No. 1 defense. Davis broke a 35-yard run before Doxzon hit split end Ed Williams with a 22-yard touchdown pass.
But that score was sandwiched between Nebraska touchdown drives of 80 yards in 12 plays and 80 yards in 17 plays. Green capped the first with a 4-yard run and Frost the second with a 2-yarder for a 42-7 lead.
Backup quarterback Matt Turman’s 1-yard sneak put the Huskers ahead 49-7 with 6:28 to play. With 1:06 to go, Williams caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Todd Bandhauer to make the final 49-14.
Osborne said he’s happy with where the Huskers are entering the Nov. 29 game against Colorado.
“I think we’re playing well,” he said. “I didn’t like the Arizona State game on either side of the ball. I didn’t like the Texas Tech game offensively.
“But other than that, I think we’ve played good football in all phases.”
|Yards per carry||3.6||5.6|
Nebraska is 86-17 all-time against Iowa State.
|Michigan State||Sept. 7|
|Arizona State||Sept. 21|
|Colorado State||Sept. 28|
|Kansas State||Oct. 5|
|Texas Tech||Oct. 19|
|Iowa State||Nov. 16|
|Virginia Tech||Dec. 31|
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