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Williams rushes for 150 yards as Longhorns stun Nebraska
Posted: Saturday October 31, 1998 09:25 PM
LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) -- Texas has returned to college football's upper tier, thanks to a victory at Nebraska that adds a measure of security to Ricky Williams' run for the Heisman Trophy.
Major Applewhite's 2-yard touchdown pass to Wayne McGarity with 2:47 to play gave the revived Longhorns a 20-16 upset of the No. 7 Cornhuskers on Saturday, ending Nebraska's 47-game winning streak at Memorial Stadium.
"I am absolutely thrilled with this win," said giddy first-year Texas coach Mack Brown. "It's hard to find words to explain it.
"When you come in here and their fans are better than any in America, and their coaches are better than they are anywhere in the world because of their continuity, to be the first team in 47 games to beat Nebraska at home is simply a major accomplishment," Brown said.
Williams enhanced his Heisman Trophy chances by running for 150 yards on 37 carries, and the Longhorns (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) handed Nebraska (7-2, 3-2) its first home loss since September 21, 1991, when Washington won 36-21.
The last time Nebraska lost twice in a season was 1996, when the Huskers were upset 19-0 at Arizona State and lost 37-27 to Texas for the Big 12 title. Nebraska finished 11-2, winning the Orange Bowl.
Besides ending the fifth-longest home winning streak in NCAA history, it also marked the most yards by a visiting running back since Barry Sanders had 189 yards in Nebraska's 63-42 victory over Oklahoma State in 1988. Sanders went on to win the Heisman that season.
Afterward, Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride lobbied hard for Williams.
"I'm going to say it now, and it's early, but if he doesn't win the Heisman Trophy I don't know who the heck should," McBride said. "The thing that shows his character is he keeps coming after you. He's not going to get discouraged. At times, it was a man against boys. He's the real deal. I don't know how many things good you can say about him."
As he departed, Williams was cheered and got a standing ovation from several hundred Nebraska fans who had gathered near the tunnel leading to the Texas locker room.
"Most places you go, the fans boo you," Williams said. "But here, it's nothing but cheers. This is the most fun I've ever had playing a game."
Texas seems to have the Huskers figured out. The Longhorns beat Nebraska in the 1996 Big 12 title game the last time the teams played -- a loss that ended Nebraska's bid for a third straight national championship.
Saturday's game also ended any further talk in Lincoln of another national title this season.
"It's deja vu of what happened the last time," said Nebraska linebacker Jay Foreman. "They got a lot of big calls going their way and big plays when they needed them."
With first-year coach Frank Solich taking over for the retired Tom Osborne, the streaks continued to fall for the Huskers, along with their shield of invincibility.
Earlier this season, Texas A&M beat the Huskers to end their 19-game winning streak as well as their 40-game conference winning streak. Losing again, this time at home, left many Huskers with blank expressions.
"It does hurt for our players, without question," Solich said. "No one wants to have a streak come to an end. They're taking it very, very hard. They just don't feel very good about things right now."
Meanwhile, Brown has the Longhorns in the middle of the Big 12 title chase after last year's disastrous 4-7 record.
Nebraska went ahead 16-13 with 8:33 to play on Kris Brown's 42-yard field goal after the Longhorns tied it with 13:38 remaining on Kris Stockton's 19-yard field goal.
The Longhorns held inside the Nebraska 10 late in the third quarter, when J.J. Kelly forced a fumble by reserve quarterback Eric Crouch and Donald McCowen recovered.
"I think maybe the fumble on the goal line was costly," said Crouch, a redshirt freshman. "There were too many big plays on their side."
On that series, the Huskers blew a first-and-10 at the Texas 12 after Ralph Brown had intercepted Applewhite and returned it 17 yards.
"We had our opportunities," Solich said. "We didn't get enough points on the board when we had those opportunities. We had that turnover after the interception, but that was just one play."
Solich's first season has been a rough ride. There have been more close calls and injuries than usual for the Huskers. Nebraska escaped with a 24-17 win over Oklahoma State and beat Missouri 20-13 last week after the defense held on the last play in both games.
It never came to that on Saturday. After Crouch threw incomplete to Matt Davison on fourth-and-6 at midfield with 1:58 to play, the Longhorns had the upset they were looking for.
"This win really hasn't hit me yet. I'm in awe," said Longhorns receiver Bryan White, who had a 74-yard catch on the last play of the third quarter and a 37-yard fourth-quarter reception. Both plays set up scores.
Nebraska rallied from a 10-0 deficit, taking a 13-10 lead with 3:28 remaining in the third quarter when Crouch ran 38 yards for a TD.
With Monte Christo starting for the injured Bobby Newcombe, Nebraska had only 15 rushing yards after the first quarter and 55 at halftime. Crouch came off the bench in the second quarter.
Williams moved within 294 yards of breaking Tony Dorsett's major college career rushing mark of 6,082 yards. Dorsett, who also won the Heisman, set the record at Pittsburgh from 1973-76.
Williams, who was held to 43 yards in a 48-7 loss at Kansas State in September, had 82 of his yards in the first quarter on Saturday.
"Usually, I don't have to work so hard for so many yards," Williams said. "I had to work for them all today."
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