Crouch rushed for 69 yards and a score on 24 carries, while completing 10-of-18 passes for 151 yards in sharing MVP honors. With his 220 yards of total offense, the senior from Omaha became NU?s all-time total offense leader, passing former Johnny Unitas award winner Tommie Frazier?s total of 5,476 set from 1992 to 1995.
Crouch now has 5,510 total offense yards in his three-plus seasons at NU. The Huskers, which have won 16 straight season openers, improved to 5-0 all-time in preseason contests.
I-back Thunder Collins rushed for 71 yards, scoring on runs of six and 26 yards, on 14 carries in his first career start.
While the Huskers amassed 310 yards of total offense against a team that led the nation in total defense last season, the Blackshirt defense allowed just 186 yards of total offense, including just 56 yards on the ground and six first downs.
Holding a narrow six-point lead midway through the third quarter, the Huskers started a drive at their own two-yard line and marched 98 yards in 10 plays to extend their lead to the final margin of 21-7. On the drive, Crouch broke free for a 42-yard run to the TCU 32, which set up Collins? second score of the day, a 26-yard gallop with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Collins? first touchdown of the day, a six-yard run, came on the Huskers? first possession, as NU marched 70 yards on six plays in taking a 7-0 lead. Collins combined with Crouch for all 70 yards on the drive. Crouch set up the score with a 33-yard scamper deep into TCU territory.
The Horned Frogs would waste little time knotting the score, as Casey Printers connected with Matt Schobel for a 67-yard touchdown pass. Printers eluded the Blackshirts? pass rush, then reversed field before finding Schobel open behind the Nebraska defense for the score.
Nebraska took a 13-7 lead with 1:27 remaining in the first quarter, as Crouch capped a 55-yard drive with a sneak from one yard. Crouch found wingback John Gibson for a 41-yard completion to the TCU 11-yard line, before NU scored three plays later.
The Huskers play host to Troy State next Saturday, Sept. 1, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The game will be televised on the Big 12 syndication package. To see if the game is being broadcast in your area, check your local listings.
Huskers Open 2001 Season with 14th Straight Home Win
The No. 4/4 Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated TCU, 21-7, today in Lincoln in the NACDA Pigskin Classic. The Huskers scored first on Nebraska?s first drive when first-time starter Thunder Collins scored on a six-yard run. All of Nebraska?s 70 yards were by rush and NU?s TD was set up by quarterback Eric Crouch?s 33-yard run. First-time starter and redshirt freshman Sandro DeAngelis added the PAT. TCU answered the Huskers with a six-play drive of its own, scoring on a 67-yard pass from Casey Printers to Matt Schobel. With 1:27 remaining in the first quarter, Crouch scored on a one-yard run after Crouch hit wingback John Gibson on a 41-yard pass. It was a career long for Gibson as his previous best was an 11-yard catch vs. Southern Miss last year. After John Garrison?s first bad snap of his career, the score sat 13-7 in favor of the Huskers through halftime. In the third quarter, Collins scored his second TD on a 26-yard run, after Crouch had a 42-yard rush, the longest run of the game. NU went for two after the 98-yard drive and Crouch successfully ran it in for a two-point conversion which gave NU a 21-7 lead with 0:25 remaining in the third quarter. The Husker defense held TCU to 34 total yards in the fourth quarter. Nebraska had 159 yards rushing in the game and 310 total, while TCU had 56 yards rushing and 186 total.
The Husker Win Was ...
Nebraska's 14th straight win at home; NU's fifth straight win in a preseason game; extended the Huskers season opening winning streak to 16 games; Nebraska's sixth straight win against TCU; and was NU's third straight win overall.
NU First-Time Starters (9)
OFFENSE (5)...Center-John Garrison, junior; Right Guard-Jon Rutherford, senior; Right Tackle-Dan Waldrop, sophomore; Fullback-Judd Davies, sophomore (2-1-0 rushing); I-back-Thunder Collins (14-71-2 rushing and 1-12-0 receiving), junior; DEFENSE (2)...MLB-Jamie Burrow, senior (eight tackles, two for losses); Free Safety-Willie Amos, sophomore (two tackles); KICKERS (2)...PK/Kickoffs-Sandro DeAngelis, freshman (1-1 PAT); Punter-Kyle Larson, sophomore (8 punts, 48.6 ypp, five inside the 20).
True Freshmen Playing (3)
Three true freshmen played for the Huskers today, including rover Philip Bland, MLB Barrett Ruud (five tackles) and wingback Mike Stuntz. Ruud and Bland saw action on special teams as well as on the defensive side of the ball in both halves.
Charting the Huskers
*- Senior quarterback Eric Crouch is 25-5 as a starter and broke the school?s total offense record today. When Crouch completed a 28-yard pass to Tracey Wistrom in the fourth quarter, Crouch went over the 200-yard total offense mark in the game and broke the record. Entering the game today, Crouch needed just 187 total offense yards to take over the career mark. Crouch now has 5,510 total offense yards, passing Tommie Frazier's 5,476 total offense yards from 1992 to 1995. Crouch had 69 yards rushing (on 24 carries) and was 10-18 passing for 151 yards. He had one rushing touchdown (one-yard run), no passing touchdowns and was intercepted once (by Jason Goss in the first half, was not converted to points). Crouch had more than 20 carries for the sixth time in his career; more than 50 yards rushing for the 25th time in his career (NU is 23-2 in those games); and more 150 yards passing for the sixth time in his career.
* Senior tight end Tracey Wistrom had three catches for 38 yards in the game. He now has 40 career catches for 865 yards. Wistrom ranks as the Huskers? third-best tight end in receptions and yards.
* Senior left cornerback Keyuo Craver is second on the NU career pass breakups list with 29, followed by fellow corner Erwin Swiney's 26. Craver is 21 pass breakups behind All-American Ralph Brown, who had 50 from 1996 to 1999. Craver had one PBU vs. TCU and four tackles.
* Junior split end Wilson Thomas caught three passes for 53 yards for a new career high. All three of his catches bettered his previous career best (eight yards vs. Kansas in 2000). His catches were for 11, 20 and 22 yards.
* First-time starter Kyle Larson, punted eight times and averaged 48.6 yards per punt. Each of his first five punts pinned TCU inside the 20 yard line, with the line of scrimmage beginning at the 15, 9, 1, 15, 18. TCU had just 21 yards on five punt returns.
* MISC...Sacks...Two Huskers had sacks, Demoine Adams had 1-11 and fellow rush end Justin Smith had 1-8. NU had 12 tackles for loss, two each by Jamie Burrow, Chris Kelsay and Justin Smith. Turnovers...Nebraska had two, an interception and a fumble, and TCU had one fumble lost, but neither team converted. For Nebraska, rush end Chris Kelsay caused Ricky Madison to fumble and linebacker Scott Shanle recovered. Possession Time...Nebraska 33:58; TCU 26:02. Nebraska was 7 of 17 on third down, while TCU was one for 12. First Downs...16 for NU, 6 for TCU. Long Plays of 25 Yards or More (6)...I-back Josh Davis 35 yard kickoff return; Crouch 41-yard pass to John Gibson (career high for Gibson); Crouch 28-yard pass to Wistrom; Crouch 42-yard run, 33-yard run for Crouch; 26-yard run for Collins. Injuries...Nothing major in the game; nose tackle Jason Lohr sprained an ankle; eight NU players missed the game due to injuries, including first-teamers WLB T.J. Hollowell, OG Jon Dawson and CB Erwin Swiney.
MVPs: QB Eric Crouch of Nebraska and Marvin Godbolt (RFr., SS) were the NACDA Pigskin Most Valuable Players of the Game. Each player will receive a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship from the NACDA Foundation. Godbolt was credited with five tackles for 37 yards lost.