Archive for Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gutsy plays pay off for Nebraska

October 15, 2006

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— Nebraska gambled and won on a pair of tricky fourth-down calls, beating Kansas State, 21-3, on Saturday night and snapping the 21st-ranked Cornhuskers' four-game losing streak in Manhattan.

The Huskers (6-1, 3-0 Big 12) earned the program's 800th victory and took over sole possession of the Big 12 North lead after No. 19 Missouri lost, 25-19, at Texas A&M.

Kansas State (4-3, 1-2) had not lost at home to Nebraska since a 39-3 defeat on Oct. 5, 1996.

Nebraska's first touchdown, a 17-yard pass play less than four minutes into the game, came on a fake field goal. Holder Jake Wesch, a backup kicker who played quarterback in high school, rolled right and found reserve tight end Hunter Teafatiller all alone just outside the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

And on the Cornhuskers' first drive of the second quarter, Zac Taylor's 24-yard bootleg on fourth-and-2 from Kansas State's 27 set up a 3-yard TD pass to Josh Mueller - also a backup tight end - for a 14-0 lead.

Marlon Lucky's 40-yard TD burst up the middle made it 21-0 shortly before the midpoint of the third quarter.

That score, capping a two-play, 72-yard drive, came after wide receiver Maurice Purify appeared to fumble the ball away after a 32-yard catch from Taylor. But on review, officials said Purify's left knee was down before the ball came out.

The Huskers' Blackshirts defense smothered Kansas State freshman running back Leon Patton.

Patton, who had 151 yards and a touchdown last week in Kansas State's 31-27 victory over Oklahoma State, finished with 12 yards on 13 carries and was twice turned away near Nebraska's goal line.

The Wildcats, who came in averaging 116.2 yards rushing, had 22 on Saturday night.

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