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Big 12: Cornhuskers return to old ways

Associated Press
Published August 31, 2003

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska rushed for more than 250 yards, held Oklahoma State to less than 200 total yards and forced five turnovers.

It was a fitting throwback performance as the Cornhuskers beat the Cowboys 17-7 on Saturday.

New offensive coordinator Barney Cotton stayed true to Nebraska tradition by staying on the ground. Running back Josh Davis and quarterback Jammal Lord combined for 185 yards rushing.

New defensive coordinator Bo Pelini's unit held the Cowboys, who averaged 411 yards last season, to 57 during the second half and 183 in all.

Coming off a 7-7 season, their worst in 41 years, no one downplayed the importance of the victory.

"We showed the nation the Blackshirts are back," cornerback Fabian Washington said. "We knew it in winter conditioning, in the spring and during fall practice. We just had to show the nation."

The victory was Nebraska's 17th in a row in a season opener and ended its six-game losing streak against ranked opponents.

After their 35-game unbeaten streak in the series ended last year in Stillwater, the Huskers beat the Cowboys for the 20th consecutive time in Lincoln.

"I thought it was a very big win for us," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. "It was a game where we didn't get an awful lot going offensively, although we started to pile up some yards and started to wear them down a little bit."

Nebraska converted two Oklahoma State turnovers into third-quarter touchdowns to turn a 7-3 halftime deficit into a 17-7 lead.

Cowboy tailback Tatum Bell dropped the ball as he was putting a move on Demorrio Williams. Barrett Ruud recovered along the sideline and ran it back 15 yards for a touchdown.

Later, Ryon Bingham recovered quarterback Josh Fields' fumble at the Oklahoma State 13. Judd Davies scored from 2 yards to put the Huskers up 17-7.

OKLAHOMA 37, NORTH TEXAS 3: Jason White threw three touchdowns and the host Sooners' defense dominated. Oklahoma limited North Texas to 50 yards through three quarters before the Mean Green's only scoring drive, which began against the second-stringers.

Midway through the second quarter, North Texas had more penalty yards (29) than offensive yards (18) and didn't cross midfield until just before halftime.

White, a senior making only his fifth start because of knee injuries during the past two seasons, started slowly before getting into a rhythm. He was 23-of-35 for 248 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown to Brandon Jones early in the second quarter that made it 17-0.

Despite a driving rain throughout much of the first half, the game was played before a school-record 83,073 fans, the most to watch a sporting event in state history.

COLORADO 42, COLORADO ST. 35: Bobby Purify scored on a 9-yard run with 40 seconds left and Joel Klatt threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns in his first start for the Buffaloes in Denver.

Colorado State tied it with 1:50 left when Bradlee Van Pelt broke two tackles on an option for a 30-yard touchdown. Colorado got the ball back on its 25 with 1:44 left. After Purify's 4-yard score run with 48 seconds left was called back by a procedure penalty, he broke around left end and dived to the corner pylon to give Colorado its first victory in an opener in five seasons under coach Gary Barnett.

Colorado State got the ball back at its 20, but Van Pelt's final pass from the 50 was knocked down.

KANSAS ST. 41, TROY ST. 5: Ell Roberson ran for three touchdowns and threw for 234 yards and another score for the host Wildcats.

Roberson was 9-for-23 with two interceptions and ran for 69 yards for the Wildcats, who lost star running back Darren Sproles to an apparent leg injury late in the first half.

All three of Roberson's rushing touchdowns came in the second quarter. After Troy State took a 5-0 lead, Sproles' 5-yard touchdown put the Wildcats up 7-5. Roberson's touchdowns runs of 1, 10 and 1 yard gave Kansas State a 27-5 lead before the midpoint of the second quarter.

TEXAS A&M 26, ARKANSAS ST. 11: Courtney Lewis rushed for two touchdowns to help Dennis Franchione win his first game as the host Aggies coach.

Terrence Murphy set up a 4-yard touchdown by Lewis with a 77-yard kickoff return in the third quarter after earlier setting up a field goal by Todd Pegram with a 58-yard kickoff return. Pegram kicked field goals of 42, 32 and 35 yards during the second quarter as the Aggies took a 9-3 halftime lead.

The Indians rallied when Texas A&M's Terrence Thomas fumbled after catching a pass. Steven Tookes picked it up and ran 35 yards for a touchdown. Clinton Roy ran in the two-point conversion to make it 19-11 with 5:53 left.

But Lewis sealed it with a 42-yard touchdown run with 3:06 left.

MISSOURI 22, ILLINOIS 15: Darius Outlaw caught a 6-yard touchdown with 4:12 left to win it for the Tigers in St. Louis. Illinois outgained Missouri 422-224 but missed a chance to tie with less than a minute left, running out of downs when Jon Beutjer's pass went in and out of Melvin Bryant's hands at the Missouri 5.

The Illini took their first lead 15-14 on a 6-yard touchdown catch by Kelvin Hayden with 10:36 left. But the Tigers responded with a 13-play, 79-yard drive. Brad Smith hit Outlaw for the lead and added a two-point conversion run from a swinging gate alignment, winning a foot race to the right corner of the end zone.

Freshman Ibrahim Halsey had 139 yards on 20 carries, an Illinois school record for a season opener.

IOWA ST. 17, N. IOWA 10: Austin Flynn passed for a touchdown and ran for another in his debut for the host Cyclones.

It was 10-10 late in the third when Flynn, a redshirt freshman, hit Lane Danielsen for 48 yards to the 5. Flynn scored on a 3-yard run two plays later. Iowa State then held on, breaking up two passes and forcing a fourth-down incompletion with 1:08 left.

NORTHWESTERN 28, KANSAS 20: Jason Wright rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns for the visiting Wildcats.

Leading 21-14, Northwestern punter Brian Huffman dropped a snap, allowing Ronnie Amadi to block his kick. Darren Rus picked up the ball and returned it for a touchdown and a 21-20 lead.

But after Terrell Jordan's 41-yards run, an encroachment penalty on fourth down helped lead to Wright's winning touchdown.

TEXAS TECH 58, SMU 10: B.J. Symons threw for three touchdowns in his first start for the host Red Raiders. Symons, replacing the record-setting Kliff Kingsbury, was 23-for-38 for 297 yards. Texas Tech's Taurean Henderson rushed for two scores and caught a pass for a third. Teammate Wes Welker tied an NCAA record for touchdowns on punt returns with his seventh, a 50-yarder.

UAB 24, BAYLOR 19: Darrell Hackney returned after missing a series with a swollen knee to throw a 50-yard touchdown to Nick Coon with 40 seconds left for the visiting Blazers. After being helped off after somebody rolled on his leg after an incomplete pass, Hackney took over from the UAB 20. He needed just two plays. He hit Roddy White for 30 yards on his first play then Coon for the touchdown.

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