Nebraska Ends Losing Streak With A Vengeance
Saturday, November 10th 2007, 6:12 pm
By: News On 6
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Once Nebraska's offense got going, coach Bill Callahan showed no inclination to let up.
Joe Ganz threw for 510 yards and seven touchdowns to set school records and Nebraska scored on 11 straight possessions while ending a five-game losing streak with a 73-31 dismantling of Kansas State on Saturday.
Did Callahan run up the score?
``I didn't think about the score,'' he said. ``We just kept playing.''
The Cornhuskers (5-6, 2-5 Big 12) bounced back from last week's 76-39 humiliation at Kansas with their highest point total since Tom Osborne's unbeaten 1997 national championship team hammered Iowa State 77-14.
``The guys are just sick of hearing about how bad we are, and we just came out and unleashed it,'' Ganz said.
It was the Huskers' first victory since they beat Iowa State on Sept. 29 and the first in four games since Osborne returned as interim athletic director. During their five-game losing streak the Huskers were outscored 226-88.
``We thought we forgot how to win,'' said Cortney Grixby, who returned a kickoff 94 yards for Nebraska's first touchdown. ``Today we came out and everybody had a lot of enthusiasm and energy, and we got it back. We just remembered how to win and how to finish a football game.''
Yes, the Huskers finished. Even with a 52-10 lead, Callahan kept calling downfield pass plays, and he even went for it instead of punting on fourth-and-20 from the K-State 46.
Kansas State coach Ron Prince had no complaints about Callahan.
``It's his job to coach his team,'' Prince said. ``It's my job to try and stop him.''
Callahan and the Huskers had plenty of reason to take out some frustration.
Job security has been a question Callahan has had to answer almost daily since the Huskers began a freefall in October.
There also could be lingering bitterness about Prince swooping in and stealing away quarterback Josh Freeman after the Huskers had secured a verbal commitment from him two years ago.
And the awful loss at Kansas still was fresh in everyone's memory.
Whether Callahan can save his job isn't known, but he gave the old coach something to think about on a day the Huskers looked like the Osborne teams that routinely throttled K-State. Callahan even called an option play for Ganz.
Kansas State (5-5, 3-4) hadn't given up so many points since a 75-28 defeat to Oklahoma in 1971.
``That was as thorough a defeat as we've had as a program and personally,'' Prince said. ``As a professional you expect better of yourself and those around you. Clearly the game got away from us.''
Nebraska's maligned defense pressured Freeman all day, sacking him four times. The Wildcats had 428 yards, but most came after the game was out of hand.
This game was all about Nebraska's offense, whose 702 total yards were the most since the 1995 team had 776 against Iowa State.
Making his second start in place of the injured Sam Keller, Ganz completed 30 of 40 passes with no interceptions before leaving in the middle of the fourth quarter. His big day came after he threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns in last week's blowout loss at Kansas.
Ganz's seven TD passes _ three to Frantz Hardy _ were the most since 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch threw for five against Iowa State in 2000.
``Sometimes in this game it gets a little crazy and can go either way,'' Callahan said. ``We've been on both sides of the spectrum now.''
Freeman was 26 of 44 for 320 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
James Johnson led K-State with a game-high 129 yards rushing. Marlon Lucky had 103 yards and two touchdowns for Nebraska.
For K-State, the lopsided loss followed a 31-20 defeat to Iowa State, the last-place team in the Big 12 North.
``It's embarrassing,'' free safety Marcus Watts said. ``I'd like to apologize to our fans that I was a part of it. As a senior I never wanted to be a part of something like this, but sometimes things just happen. There's nothing you can really do about it. We didn't quit today, we just got outplayed.''
Nebraska scored almost at will after going three-and-out on its first series.
Grixby tied it 7-all with a 94-yard kickoff return, Nebraska's first for a touchdown since 1998.
The Wildcats went up 10-7 on Brooks Rossman's 31-yard field goal, and then the Nebraska defense clamped down.
Ganz passed 26 yards to Lucky for the go-ahead touchdown. He pump-faked once to his left and then threw to his right to Lucky, who picked up a block from offensive lineman Mike Smith on his way to the end zone.
Andre Jones returned a punt 43 yards to set up Ganz's 36-yard TD pass to Hardy, who also caught 8-yard and 39-yard scoring passes in the third quarter.
Alex Henery's 27-yard field goal, Lucky's 5-yard run, and Ganz's 23-yard pass to Todd Peterson put the Huskers up 38-10 at halftime.