Work in Sports
Huskers' Solich begins lobbying for Sugar Bowl shot
Posted: Saturday November 27, 1999 08:06 AM
By Jon A. Dolezar, CNN/SI
BOULDER, Colo. -- Jeremy Aldrich's missed kick meant that Nebraska was still alive in this game, but what about for the national title hunt?
Shortly before the final play of regulation, the public address announcer told the Folsom Field crowd that Virginia Tech had defeated Boston College 38-14, effectively dashing Nebraska's hopes of overtaking the Hokies in the Bowl Championship Series standings to earn a berth in the Sugar Bowl. Nebraska fans let out a collective groan when the score was announced, and some of the players reacted visibly upon hearing that the Hokies had won. Their emotions changed vastly just seconds later when Aldrich missed the 34-yard potential game-winner for Colorado.
Nebraska head coach Frank Solich couldn't help but do a little lobbying for his team's cause after the game, saying that an overtime win on the road against a tough Colorado team shouldn't hurt Nebraska in the BCS standings.
"I really don't have a feel for what it takes and how it all comes out," Solich said. "All I know is that we play a tremendous schedule. It's a demanding schedule and coming down the stretch, no one played tougher teams than we did. I thought our team did everything that they could to put themselves in position to now go on to the next stop which is the Big 12 championship game."
Nebraska continued to be plagued by fumbles on Friday, putting the ball on the grass eight times and losing five of those to Colorado.
Solich took the blame for making the option call with 1:49 left that led to a Dan Alexander fumble that Colorado recovered, leading to its drive that set up the last-second field goal attempt.
"They had done enough blizting that I thought they were going to commit people to the blitz to the side, and I actually thought that we'd have a chance at a very big play there," Solich said. "As you found out, a field goal of that distance is not just automatic for anybody. We needed to gain some yards and try to get something done."
Eric Crouch agreed that Nebraska has to take better care of the ball next week against Texas in the Big 12 championship game, and on into its bowl game.
"It was just another case of our offense not taking good care of the ball," Crouch said. "That's really one thing that hurt this year. We can't seem to make the right plays at the right time, and that's something that we are working on. You have to give Colorado a lot of credit because their defense played us tight and swarmed all over."
Dan the man in Boulder
Dan Alexander had quite a roller-coaster game on Friday after rushing for a career-high 189 yards and three touhdowns on 17 carries in the Cornhuskers' thrilling 33-30 overtime win over Colorado. Alexander actually rushed for a career high in the first half alone with 151 yards rushing and three touchdowns by the break.
He found the going a little tougher in the second half, gaining only 38 yards on nine carries after halftime. His fumble of an option pitch with under two minutes to play nearly cost Nebraska the game. But Alexander redeemed himself in overtime with a bruising 11-yard run down to the Colorado 1-yard line that set up Eric Crouch's game-winning quarterback sneak.
"I went out and I was determined to get in the end zone [in overtime]," Alexander said. "That fumble I had, I just lost my focus to be honest. I started to get down on myself, but then I got my second chance. I just wanted to get over my fumble and use my strength for that last extra yard."
Ralphie the Buffalo did not have a very good day.
She refused to run out of her pen and lead the Buffs onto the field before the game, and before the second half, as she traditionally does. To begin the game, her handlers opened the gates to her pen, but the nearly 1,000-pound buffalo didn't move an inch. They tried again at halftime, but this time Ralphie only made it about 30 yards before calling a halt to her jog around the field.
It was later explained that Ralphie is presently in heat, and apparently buffaloes don't like to run under such circumstances. That kind served as a bad omen for Colorado, as it started out slowly in each half.