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Huskers fall out for first time since '81

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 30, 2002

For the first time in 21 years, Nebraska is not ranked in the AP poll.

For the first time in 21 years, Nebraska is not ranked in the AP poll.

The Cornhuskers fell out of the Top 25 on Sunday after a 36-14 loss to Iowa State -- ending a run of 348 consecutive appearances in the poll.

Nebraska moved into the AP rankings Oct. 5, 1981, and remained among the sport's top teams until a second loss in a row knocked it out.

A 40-7 loss at Penn State on Sept. 14 dropped Nebraska from No. 8 to No. 18. The next week the Huskers fell to No. 20 despite not playing. The loss to the Cyclones was the clincher -- Nebraska received 10 points in this week's balloting. No. 25 Colorado State had 206 points.

During the streak, Nebraska won two AP national championships (in 1994 and 1995) and was ranked No. 1 in 52 polls. The Huskers were 49-31-1 against ranked teams, with four of those losses coming in the team's past seven games, dating to last season.

Florida, ranked No. 6 this week after a 41-34 victory against Kentucky, now owns the longest consecutive polls streak, at 208. To match the Huskers' run, the Gators would need to be ranked in every poll for the next eight years.

Nebraska also fell out of the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll.

Miami is No. 1 again in the AP poll, picking up three more first-place votes than last week -- even without playing. Miami received 71 of the 74 first-place votes and 1,847 points from the sports writers and broadcasters on the AP panel.

Texas replaced Oklahoma at No. 2, with the Sooners now No. 3. The Longhorns beat Tulane 49-0 while the Sooners beat South Florida 31-14. Texas, with two first-place votes to Oklahoma's one, had five more points than the Sooners, 1,729-1,724.

Florida State tumbled seven spots to No. 11 after its 26-20 overtime loss at unranked Louisville on Thursday, and Penn State dropped eight places to No. 20 after Saturday's 42-35 overtime loss to Iowa.

ARKANSAS: Matt Jones and Fred Talley wore braces in an hour-long practice, and coach Houston Nutt said Talley may not play Saturday at Tennessee.

Jones, the sophomore starting quarterback, wore the same brace on his right knee as last week but said his knee isn't sore. Talley, a junior tailback, has a sprained left arm. He practiced lightly, but ran afterward.

PENN STATE: The Big Ten will not punish coach Joe Paterno for grabbing an official to question calls after a loss to Iowa.

Late Saturday

AUBURN 37, SYRACUSE 34 (3OT): Carnell Williams worked nearly as hard off the field as he did on it, pestering his coaches and teammates to keep giving him the ball. They did.

Williams ran for a career-high 202 yards, and his 8-yard touchdown run in the third overtime won it for the host Tigers.

"I kept saying, 'I'm going to break one,"' said Williams, whose 40 carries were one short of his school record. "The whole time I just felt like things were coming.

"I just kept telling those guys, 'Let's stick with it.' I felt like something good was going to happen."

Shut out of the end zone for four quarters, Williams scored on a 6-yard run in the second overtime. Walter Reyes sent the game to the third OT with a 2-yard TD run.

Auburn held Syracuse to a 44-yard field goal by Collin Barber to open the third extra period, and the Tigers moved the ball steadily on their possession.

"It was a war out there," Syracuse defensive tackle Christian Ferrara said. "It was a 15-round punch-out."

Auburn trailed 17-3 at halftime despite five trips past midfield against the nation's 114th-ranked defense. The Tigers rallied to lead 24-17 in the fourth quarter, but Syracuse's Troy Nunes hit David Tyree for a 2-yard score with 23 seconds left to send it to overtime.

Both teams botched field-goal attempts in the first overtime.

After the Tigers kept Syracuse out of the end zone in the third OT, backup quarterback Jason Campbell hit Lorenzo Diamond for 11-yards, then handed off three times to Williams. The sophomore outraced a defender to the end zone.

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