Work in Sports
'Horns down No. 3 Huskers for third time in four years
Posted: Sunday October 24, 1999 08:47 AM
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas hex continues over Nebraska.
After hearing the Cornhuskers talk for a week about avenging a home loss to Texas a year ago, Major Applewhite threw for two second-half touchdowns Saturday to rally the 18th-ranked Longhorns to a 24-20 victory.
"We knew it was important to do our talking on the field," Applewhite said.
"We knew it wouldn't do any good to do any talking before the game."
Texas (6-2, 3-1 Big 12) has won three straight over No. 3 Nebraska (6-1, 3-1) since the merger of the Big Eight and Southwest conferences before the 1996 season. Texas is the only team to beat Nebraska three times in the '90s.
The loss seriously damages Nebraska's bid for the national championship and dropped the Cornhuskers a game behind Kansas State in the North Division race for a berth in the Big 12 title game.
"You can say we're jinxed, have bad luck, but we just have to eliminate mistakes," said Dan Alexander, who led Nebraska with 136 yards on 21 carries.
"Maybe the national championship is out of reach, but you never know in football," Alexander said.
Texas and Nebraska aren't scheduled to meet again in the regular season until 2002. The teams could play again in the Big 12 championship game in December.
"If we're good enough," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "There's a chance we'll see them again."
Nebraska led 20-17 after quarterback Eric Crouch's 9-yard TD run with 7:52 left to play before Applewhite drove Texas 60 yards in four plays for the winning score.
After hitting wideout Ryan Nunez with a 39-yard pass to the Nebraska 21, Applewhite found tight end Mike Jones in the flat. Jones broke three tackles, including one at the goal line, in completing a 17-yard scoring play.
"I didn't have any idea I was breaking those tackles. I was so excited I was in another world," Jones said.
Applewhite was 9-of-21 for 47 yards in the first half as Nebraska built a 13-3 lead. He was 8-of-9 in the second half for 166 yards.
"I played like I was in Pop Warner in the first half. It's just a matter of getting into a rhythm," Applewhite said.
His 13-yard strike to Kwame Cavil in the third quarter gave Texas a 17-13 lead.
Nebraska wanted to pressure Applewhite and force turnovers -- as Kansas State did in beating Texas 35-17 three weeks ago -- but never got a sack.
"The line protected so well, Nebraska's defensive rush was just quitting and throwing their hands up," Applewhite said.
Nebraska outgained Texas 429-275 but turned the ball over three times, including a fumble by running back Correll Buckhalter at the Texas 1 that cost the Huskers a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Crouch passed for 204 yards but was held to 35 yards rushing on 17 carries in the option.
"The turnovers were dramatic. Very, very costly," said Nebraska coach Frank Solich.
Nebraska scored on three straight possessions in the second quarter on Josh Brown's field goals of 22 and 32 yards and Buckhalter's 5-yard run with 45 seconds left.
With Texas forced to punt into a stiff wind, two of the Cornhuskers' scoring drives started at the Longhorns' 17 and 31.
Texas, which drove 46 yards on its first possession to set up a field goal attempt that bounced off the left upright, managed just five first downs in the first half.
Texas started the second half with the wind at its back. After a short Nebraska punt, Texas started its first drive at the Cornhuskers 35.
Chris Robertson pulled Texas within 13-10 four plays later on a 1-yard run, his sixth touchdown this season on just 12 carries.
After Jones' touchdown, Nebraska drove to the Texas 38 on its final possession but turned the ball over on downs.
Texas was able to run out the final 2:15 because the Huskers had already used all their timeouts.
Tailback Hodges Mitchell had 20 carries for 83 yards and three
receptions for 45 yards for Texas. Cavil had eight catches for 84