WILDCATS Impressive On Defense

Monday, September 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

If the first game is any indication, then Kansas State appears to have a defense worthy of a run for the Big 12 title. The offense - the passing game, at least - is another matter.

Josh Scobey ran for 165 yards and quarterback Ell Roberson ran for 119, but the Wildcats managed just 10 points in a 10-6 victory at Southern California.

Roberson, in his first start, showed he needs more work throwing the ball. He completed just 7-of-16 passes for 26 yards, with one interception. The lack of an adequate passing game will make it difficult to run against Big 12 teams.

Kansas State's points came on a field goal by Jared Brite and a touchdown by guard Nick Leckey, who recovered a Scobey fumble in the end zone.

"I like the fact that we won, but I didn't like the fact that we didn't play very well,'' said coach Bill Snyder, who got his 100th victory at KSU.

USC scored a third-quarter touchdown but had the point-after try blocked, and the Trojans missed a 42-yard field goal try in the second quarter.

They threatened in the final minutes of the game, but Carson Palmer fumbled while scrambling and defensive end Henry Bryant recovered at the Kansas State 24 with 2:33 left to play. Kansas State then drove to the USC 15, running the clock down to a second before turning the ball over on downs.

Kansas State's defense was dominant against the run, limiting the Trojans to 100 yards rushing. Sultan McCullough gained just 40 yards on 18 carries after rushing for 167 in the opener against San Jose State.

Kansas State, the last Big 12 team to open this season, has now won 29 straight regular-season games against nonconference opponents. The Wildcats have also won 12 straight season openers.

Another team with some notable winning streaks is Oklahoma, which won its 16th in a row with a 37-10 victory over North Texas on Saturday night. It also was the Sooners' 15th straight home win, although it left coach Bob Stoops unhappy.

He used the word "aggravating'' several times in his post-game news conference as he recounted some of the 13 penalties and other mistakes the Sooners made.

"We have a lot to work on, obviously,'' Stoops said.

Nate Hybl threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns, tailback Quentin Griffin had 182 yards in total offense and safety Roy Williams came up with two interceptions.

But along with the penalties, the Sooners committed two turnovers, missed two field goals, got one field goal blocked, botched a punt and missed a point-after kick. The latter wound up being a 35-yard try because of back-to-back penalties.

"It's just aggravating as a coach because you want to show and make improvement, and that didn't happen for us,'' Stoops said.

It did happen for Nebraska, which had no trouble beating Notre Dame 27-10 Saturday night. The Cornhuskers took control of the game with a 17-point first quarter in front of a record Memorial Stadium crowd of 78,118.

Dahrran Diedrick ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns, and Eric Crouch threw his first touchdown pass of the season for Nebraska (3-0). The lead was 27-3 at halftime.

"We were motivated and wanted to get in end zone, and show everyone this is a powerhouse offense,'' Crouch said. ``I think the start set the tone for the rest of the game.''

The defense did its part as well, holding Notre Dame to 162 total yards.

Nebraska coach Frank Solich was to travel to Johnstown, Pa., on Sunday for the burial of his father. The Huskers said they dedicated the week to their coach.

"We wanted this to be a memorable game for Coach Solich and I think we did that,'' tight end Tracey Wistrom said.

It also was a memorable day in Austin, Texas, where the Texas Longhorns dedicated their game against North Carolina to former defensive tackle Cole Pittman, who was killed in an automobile accident in February. Texas took a knee instead of kicking an extra point after its final touchdown, making the final score 44-14. Pittman wore No. 44 last season.

"The kids deserve credit for that,'' coach Mack Brown said. "The players ... all came to me and said "Take a knee.''