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Nebraska rebounds with 42-7 thrashing of Iowa State
Posted: Saturday November 07, 1998 08:58 PM
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- There's still some life left in Nebraska after all.
Nebraska, down after losing to Texas and struggling in a victory over Missouri, looked more like the Cornhuskers of old in rolling past Iowa State 42-7 Saturday.
Dan Alexander ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns in his first start, quarterback Eric Crouch did a nice job running the option and Joe Walker returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown as No. 14 Nebraska beat Iowa State for the 20th time in 21 years.
"Today our team showed we were competitive," fullback Joel Makovicka said. "We have a lot of confidence. We haven't lost any pride."
Alexander and Crouch, starting for the first time since September 12, put some spark back into Nebraska's inconsistent offense on a snowy day, although the Cornhuskers (8-2 overall, 4-2 Big 12) got plenty of help from mistaken-ridden Iowa State.
Iowa State (2-7, 0-6) committed four turnovers -- three interceptions and a fumble by a special teams player who made a serious mistake in judgment. The Cyclones also were penalized nine times.
"They're good, but they're still a beatable team," Iowa State center Charley Bogwill said. "We're a good team. But the penalties and mistakes we made, you can't give a team as good as Nebraska those chances."
The first big mistake came when it was still 0-0 late in the first quarter.
Iowa State's Jamarcus Powers partially blocked Bill LaFleur's punt and Jarrott Lollis, a reserve defensive back, tried to pick up the bouncing ball and run with it. But he fumbled and Josh Kohl recovered for Nebraska at the Iowa State 42-yard line.
Five plays later, Alexander zipped around right end on a 9-yard touchdown run.
"The muffed blocked punt and the mistake we made I thought was definitely a real critical error," said Iowa State coach Dan McCarney, who received a two-year contract extension Thursday. "It's something we coach in every single special teams meeting we have, but we didn't do a good enough job because he made a real critical mistake."
Iowa State drove right back down the field, only to lose the ball when Todd Bandhauer's pass ricocheted off receiver Chris Anthony and was intercepted by Clint Finley at the goal line.
Finley returned the ball to the 21, setting up a 79-yard, 13-play drive that Alexander capped with a 3-yard run to make it 14-0. Iowa State never got close to the end zone again until Ennis Haywood scored on a 19-yard run against Nebraska's reserves with 4:47 left.
Walker's score made it 42-0 early in the fourth quarter and gave him touchdowns this season on three different returns: interception, punt and kickoff. He became the fifth player in NCAA history to accomplish that feat.
"Since I don't get to play offense, I've got to take advantage of all opportunities I get," said Walker, who had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Louisiana Tech and returned a punt 73 yards for a TD against Oklahoma State.
"I feel like every time I touch the ball I can score," Walker said. "You just catch the ball, see daylight and it's your show."
Snow and rain fell intermittently during the first half on the windy, 36-degree day and it snowed steadily and stuck to the grass in the second half. But it didn't do much slow Nebraska, nor did Iowa State's defense.
Crouch carried 15 times for 91 yards, including a 31-yard scamper that set up Alexander's 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He also completed 4-of-8 passes for 44 yards with one interception.
"I was pleased with Eric," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. "He's a guy I feel very confident in running every phase of our offense."
Nebraska, which had averaged just 320 yards of offense in its two previous games, had 234 at halftime Saturday, including 205 rushing.
Crouch and Alexander, who carried 22 times, went to the bench for good with Nebraska leading 28-0 late in the third quarter and the Cornhuskers finished with 403 total yards.
"This weather is beneficial to my style of running, which is usually kind of up the field," said Alexander, a 250-pound sophomore. "It was really hard to get any kind of cuts out there for anybody. It was just kind of get the ball through the hole and get four or five yards a pop."
Nebraska held Iowa State to zero yards rushing and 91 total yards through three quarters, then began substituting. Iowa State finished with 227 total yards. Bandhauer, leading the Big 12 in passing yards, was just 9-of-25 for 118 yards and three interceptions.
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