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Archive for Sunday, October 27, 1996

DARKNESS FALLS HOURS EARLY FOR KU

October 27, 1996

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— Daylight Savings Time ended hours early for Kansas University football coach Glen Mason.

Most of America used the resultant extra hour to sleep in this morning. Nebraska -- or so it seemed to Mason -- used the extra time to run up and down the field on the Jayhawks.

The fifth-ranked Huskers gained 595 total yards and spanked the Jayhawks, 63-7, on Saturday night at NU's Memorial Stadium, the Huskers' 28th straight win over KU and their school-record 34th straight win at Memorial Stadium.

"The thing I was most surprised about was, I looked at my watch and the game was about three hours long," Mason said after the biggest loss in his eight-plus years at KU. "It felt like it was 33 hours long. It was a long night for us."

The Huskers made it so.

Before the game, Nebraska held a ceremony to remember former NU quarterback great Tommie Frazier. During it, Scott Frost did his best to help the Husker faithful forget him.

Frost has his best performance as a Husker, throwing for 254 yards and a career-best three touchdowns, and Nebraska's vaunted defense limited KU to 209 total yards.

"We are capable of playing better," Mason said. "We did some good things. Surely not enough, that's obvious."

The Jayhawks (3-4 overall, 1-3 Big 12) played without three regular starters, including star running back June Henley, who was suspended on Thursday after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and other charges. The others were injured linebacker Jason Thoren and center Jared Smith.

Henley was replaced by Eric Vann, who had 22 yards on 10 carries. As a team, the Jayhawks managed just 21 rushing yards.

"We had a good game plan," said KU offensive guard Jim Stiebel. "Their linebackers kept stepping up and making plays. What'd we have, 12 yards rushing? That's unacceptable."

Though Nebraska fumbled away its first possession and punted away its second, the Huskers scored on six straight series to take a 42-7 lead into the half. By halftime, NU had outgained Kansas, 359 total yards to 130.

Nebraska took a 7-0 lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter when Frost hit Sheldon Jackson with an eight-yard TD to cap a nine-play, 81-yard drive highlighted by Frost's 41-yard pass to Vershan Jackson.

The Huskers held KU to three downs and punt and took over on their own 38. Five plays and 62 yards -- and an 11-yard Ahman Green TD run -- later, it was 14-0, NU, with 14:29 left before the half.

Just 21 seconds later, after Vann fumbled away the Jayhawks' next possession on the first play, Frost hit Brendan Holbein with a 20-yard TD pass, and it was 21-0, NU, with 14:08 left in the second.

The Jayhawks struck back for their only score. On the first play of their next possession, KU's Matt Johner hit a streaking Isaac Byrd -- over corner Ralph Brown -- and Byrd caught it on the fly and carried it for a 77-yard TD at 13:58 to make it 21-7.

The Jayhawks didn't hit that long ball again -- much to Byrd's dismay.

"They were starting a true freshman over there," Byrd said of Brown. "The passing game, I thought, should have been to attack the freshman. They're not going to let you run the ball, especially not in their house. I don't think we threw enough home run balls tonight.

"I'm not the play-caller. I'm not questioning the calls. But it's tough when you lose a game when you know you could put up more points. It's better than running toss sweep and losing four yards. It's just frustrating."

NU easily frustrated KU further, starting with a seven-play, 80-yard drive capped by Frost's 10-yard TD run that made it 28-7 with 10:47 left before the half.

KU went three-and-out on its next possession, and the Huskers went nine-and-in. NU covered 49 yards in nine plays, and Kansas native DeAngelo Evans scored on a one-yard TD run with 4:48 left in the half to make it 35-7.

Kansas took over and, under the direction of Ben Rutz, went 26 yards in eight plays but stalled on the NU 38. The Huskers took possession and went 62 yards in eight plays -- in just 55 seconds -- to make it 42-7 on Holbein's 15-yard TD pass from Frost with 20 seconds left before the half.

By halftime, Frost had completed 11 of 15 passes for 220 yards and three TDs.

"People think (the Huskers) have quarterback woes," Mason said. "But Frost had a hot hand. Of course, he's got a pretty good supporting cast. ... They threw the ball better than I thought. Scott Frost had a hot hand."

NU scored on its first second-half possession -- and its seventh straight series -- when Frost ran it in on the option from the nine-yard line. With 12:29 left in the third, it was 49-7, Nebraska.

The Huskers' scoring streak stopped at seven straight possessions after KU stopped the next drive with a goal-line stand. The stand started with first-and-goal from the eight and ended at the one-yard line.

Rutz threw an interception on the first play, and the Huskers took just two plays and 11 seconds to cover the 25 yards it took to make it 56-7 with 3:05 left in the third.

Nebraska tacked on an insurance touchdown with 8:37 left when Mike Brown returned a Rutz interception 44 yards to the KU 47, and the Huskers used six plays to cover the 47 yards to make it 63-7.

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