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Archive for Sunday, October 27, 1996

AERIAL ATTACK DOOMS HAWKS

October 27, 1996

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— Tom Osborne seemed a little surprised Nebraska enjoyed such a prolific passing night against Kansas.

"Colorado didn't kill them with the pass last week," NU coach Osborne said.

Colorado didn't, but Nebraska murdered the Jayhawks with an unprecedented aerial attack during Saturday night's 63-7 television-turner-offer.

"I think the perception out there is we can't throw it ... or catch it," Osborne said. "I've been seeing things in practice that make me believe we can. I think we can do it."

Still, statistics don't lie and the Cornhuskers ranked No. 104 out of 111 NCAA Division I-A teams in passing going into Saturday night's game.

They'll climb into double digits after Scott Frost's career night -- 12 of 16 completions for 254 yards and three touchdowns. And now, Osborne feels, teams will be reluctant to think the Huskers' attack is one-dimensional.

"Everyone feels because of what Arizona State and Texas Tech did against us that everyone is going to have eight or nine people close to the line of scrimmage," Osborne said. "So we felt we had to try to do some things to get people off our back."

That gorilla turned into a chimp.

"This is a big confidence builder," said Frost who is still remembered for his bumbling performance during the Huskers' stunning 19-0 loss to Arizona State in Tempe. "If we're going to be a great offense, that's what we have to do."

Two of Frost's TD passes went to Brendan Holbein who also caught one of Frost's four TD passes prior to the Kansas game.

"It was really gratifying to see the passing game click," Holbein said. "They're all gonna put seven, eight, nine guys in the box, and if we prove we can beat people downfield, we'll be pretty tough the second half of the season."

Meanwhile, Nebraska's defense made only one mistake. KU's Isaac Byrd beat cornerback Ralph Brown on a 77-yard touchdown pass.

"Ralph got beat and that's gonna happen. That's fine," NU defensive coordinator Charlie McBride said. "He'll learn from that."

Nebraska stuffed Kansas' running game. It's questionable whether June Henley, who was suspended and didn't make the trip, would have made any difference. NU defensive lineman Grant Wistrom didn't think so.

"It doesn't matter if it was Eric Vann or June," Wistrom said. "They have a little different styles, but we prepared for the same scheme."

Kansas gained 55 yards on the ground, lost 34 and finished with 21 -- the Jayhawks' low-water mark of the season by far.

"I was a little concerned after the Texas Tech game last week," McBride said. "We won, but we didn't play good and it was almost like we lost."

If that 19-0 loss at Arizona State wasn't a wake-up call, apparently the 24-10 win over Texas Tech was.

"I thought the focus and concentration the last 24 hours was much better than at Tech," Osborne said. "We seemed to be more sure of what we wanted to do ... to be a great football team."

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