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Huskers Take Fight Out of Irish in 27-10 Win

By NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln -- Junior I-back Dahrran Diedrick collected his second straight 100-yard rushing game and the Nebraska defense forced four Fighting Irish turnovers, as No. 5/4 Nebraska defeated No. 17/17 Notre Dame, 27-10, in front of a Memorial Stadium-record crowd of 78,118 Saturday.

Led by senior Jamie Burrow?s 11 tackles, held Notre Dame (0-1) to just 162 yards of total offense, after allowing an average of 175.5 total offense in its first two contests. Nebraska (3-0) held the great advantage in yards gained as a result of its defense, as its four turnovers were half of Notre Dame?s total from all of last season. The Fighting Irish allowed an NCAA-record low 0.73 turnovers per game (eight total all season) last year.

The Huskers set the tone early as rush end Demoine Adams forced a fumble on Notre Dame?s first offensive possession of the game. Mike linebacker Jamie Burrow recovered the fumble to set up quarterback Eric Crouch?s 22-yard touchdown pass to wingback John Gibson. It was Nebraska?s first passing touchdown of the season.

That score put Nebraska up 14-0 as the Huskers also scored on their opening drive of the night. Nebraska took the kickoff and marched 64 yards in nine plays, capped by Diedrick?s two-yard touchdown run. With the score, which was Diedrick?s team-leading fourth rushing touchdown of the season, Nebraska held a 7-0 lead just over four minutes into the contest.

Later in the second, John Crowther?s snap went over Irish punter Joey Hildbold?s head and Justin Smith recovered at the Notre Dame eight-yard line. The Irish defense held, forcing the Huskers to settle for a 19-yard Sandro DeAngelis field goal that gave the Huskers a 17-0 advantage. It was the first field goal of his career.

Nebraska had opportunities to extend the lead, but a pair of turnovers, including one deep in Irish territory, thwarted Husker threats. Behind reserve quarterback Carlyle Holiday, Notre Dame mounted its first serious threat of the evening, marching 64 yards to inside the Husker 10-yard line before Nicholas Setta?s 29-yard field goal with 6:57 remaining in the half cut the Huskers? lead to 17-3.

Following the field goal, Diedrick rushed for 23 of his game-high 133 yards on Nebraska?s fourth scoring drive. His three-yard run up the middle gave Nebraska a 24-3 lead with 2:57 left before intermission.

After the Blackshirts forced a Notre Dame punt with 2:02 to play, quarterback Eric Crouch guided the Huskers down the field for a last-second field goal to put NU ahead 27-3 at the break. Diedrick had 13 rushing yards on three consecutive carries, while Crouch hooked up with tight end Tracey Wistrom for completions of 14 and 20 yards, with the last moving the ball to the four-yard line setting up DeAngelis? 21-yard kick.

In the second half, both offenses were held in check while a mild rain fell in Lincoln. The only points either team could muster came on a Tony Fisher one-yard scoring run with 13:07 left in the game.

After struggling on special teams all of last season, the Husker return game received a strong effort from Josh Davis, who returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards to near midfield.

Tonight?s game attracted media from all across the country as 717 media credentials were issued for the game, the most since 700 were issued for NU?s game with Colorado in 1994?The victory by the Huskers snapped Notre Dame?s streak of six straight season-opening victories, including four under Coach Bob Davie?The victory was Nebraska?s 16th straight home win and Coach Frank Solich?s ninth win against an AP top-25 ranked team in four years (9-6 record)?Nebraska, which has won three straight over the Fighting Irish, now owns the series lead at 8-7-1?The Blackshirts recorded their third straight game of holding an opponent to under 60 yards rushing, as Notre Dame earned just 43 on the ground tonight.

Nebraska vs. Notre Dame Postgame Notes...Sept. 8, 2001
The No. 5/4 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska Cornhuskers improved to 3-0 on the season, defeating No. 17/17 Notre Dame (0-1), 27-10, in Lincoln. It was Nebraska?s first night game this season and rain fell early in the second half. In front of Nebraska?s 242nd consecutive sellout, a record crowd of 78,118 (old record was 78,096 vs. Kansas on Nov. 4, 2000), saw Nebraska total 270 yards to Notre Dame?s 162. The Irish had just 43 yards rushing, and were minus 34 in the rushing category in the first quarter. For the third straight game, NU did not give up more than 56 yards rushing. Nebraska marched 64 yards to a touchdown on its first possession, which included four plays of 10 yards or more, and never looked back, increasing its lead to 17-0 after the first quarter and 27-3 at the half. Notre Dame?s only touchdown came on the Irish?s first drive of the fourth quarter. NU did not score in the second half. The win for the Huskers was Nebraska's 16th straight win at home; NU's third straight against Notre Dame; gave NU an 8-7-1 series lead; was Nebraska's fifth straight win overall; gave Coach Frank Solich a 2-0 record vs. the Irish and Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie; marked Coach Solich's ninth win over a top 25 AP ranked team in four years (9-6 record); extended Coach Solich's perfect record vs. ranked teams at home to five games; and gave NU a 27-8 record over ranked teams in the last nine seasons (88-90-3 all time vs. AP ranked teams).

? Senior quarterback Eric Crouch improves to 27-5 as a starter. He already owns Nebraska school records for career rushing yards by a quarterback (2,467) and career total offense (5,786). Crouch moved up from 13th into 10th on the NU career rushing chart, but remains 13th in the Big 12 and 13th among NCAA Division I-A quarterbacks. He needs 76 yards to pass Missouri's Corby Jones as the Big 12's best rushing quarterback. Crouch completed six-of-nine passes for 88 yards, including his first touchdown pass this season, a 22-yard strike to John Gibson on NU?s first one-play drive of the season.

? Senior tight end Tracey Wistrom led the Huskers with four catches for 71 yards (season bests). He now has 47 career catches for 972 yards. Wistrom is tied for second among Husker tight ends in receiving yards and is third in receptions. He is 173 yards shy of tying school-record holder Junior Miller (1,045 from 1977 to 1979). Wistrom is 14 catches behind Jerry List's school-record 61 receptions (from 1970 to 1972) and eight behind Miller's 55.

? Senior LB Jamie Burrow (unofficially) had a career-best 11 tackles to lead the Huskers, including two tackles for losses and a fumble recovery on the defense?s first play from scrimmage.

? Sophomore I-back Josh Davis had two kickoff returns of 25 yards or more (2-76). The first was a 33-yard return on the game?s opening kickoff, that set up Diedrick?s two-yard TD run to put the Huskers up 7-0, the second was a career-best 43-yard kickoff return that set up Diedrick?s three-yard TD run to give the Huskers a 24-3 lead. Davis? return was the longest kickoff return for the Huskers since Randy Stella had a 50-yard return vs. Southern Miss in 1999. Davis now has three kickoff returns of plus-25 yards this season and in his career. Davis had two kickoff returns for 73 yards, a career best and the most since Joe Walker had a team-season-best 73 vs. Colorado last season.

? I-back Dahrran Diedrick recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing day. He carried 25 times for 177 yards and three TDs last week vs. Troy State, and had a career-high 32 carries for 133 yards and two TDs tonight. Diedrick hit the 100-yard rushing mark on his 20th carry, with an 11-yard gain on NU?s first drive of the third quarter. His 32 carries are four off the school record (36 by Rick Berns vs. Missouri on Nov. 18, 1978 and Lawrence Phillips vs. Iowa State on Nov. 12, 1994) and the highest under Coach Solich.

? Junior cornerback DeJuan Groce recorded his first interception this season and second of his career. His return of 40 yards was a career-best and the longest by a Husker this season. The last time Nebraska had an interception return of 40 yards or more was Clint Finley vs. Colorado 1998 (42-yard touchdown). Groce had seven tackles in the game, the interception and two pass breakups.

? Freshman place-kicker Sandro DeAngelis kicked his first and second field goals of his career. DeAngelis was successful on a 19-yard field goal with 3:59 remaining in the first quarter to give Nebraska a 17-0 lead after a Notre Dame turnover on a bad snap, and kicked a 21-yard field goal to put the Huskers up 27-3 at the half with just one second remaining on the clock. DeAngelis also kicked PATs for the Huskers tonight and was 3-for-3.

? Other Firsts and Bests...Sophomore fullback Judd Davies had a season-long carry of 11 yards on NU?s first TD drive. Senior split end John Gibson recorded his first season touchdown reception on a 22-yard pass from Crouch to give NU a 14-0 lead. It was the second of his career and a career-long. That score marked Nebraska?s first touchdown via the pass this season.

? Turnovers...Nebraska 2 (2 fumbles, 0 interceptions, Notre Dame converted 0 to 0 points); Notre Dame 4 (2 fumbles, 2 interceptions, Nebraska converted two to 10 points). Notre Dame?s TB Terrance Howard was hit by RE Demoine Adams and LB Jamie Burrow recovered. On the next play, Crouch completed a 22-yard TD pass to John Gibson to give NU a 14-0 lead with 10:19 remaining in the first quarter. On Nebraska?s next possession, Crouch fumbled and Notre Dame recovered, but after the Husker Blackshirts held the Irish to three-and-out, snapper John Crowther snapped the ball over Joey Hildbold?s head, after Hildbold touched the ball, but couldn?t recover, NU RE Justin Smith recovered the ball and was credited with a seven-yard return to the ND 8-yard line. NU converted the turnover to three points when Sandro DeAngelis hit his first career field goal (19 yards). Nebraska did not convert DeJuan Groce?s interception of Matt LoVecchio, as Crouch fumbled, but Notre Dame also did not convert. In the second half, NU FS Willie Amos picked off Carlyle Holiday at the NU 5-yard line, but Nebraska went three-and-out (NU punter Kyle Larson suffered his first blocked punt and Notre Dame recovered at the NU 4-yard line, but that does not count as a turnover). Last season, Notre Dame had four fumbles lost the entire season.

? Sacks...Nebraska 2-8...RE Demoine Adams (1-4), Scott Shanle (1-4). Nebraska now has 12 sacks for 95 yards lost on the season, with at least two in each game. NU also has 35-151 TFL on the season, including 8-21 tonight. Third Down Conversions...NU held Notre Dame to 3-of-15 on third down conversions and on the season has held opponents to 12-of-44 on third-down conversions this year. Defense...Opponents have rushed for a total of 76 yards in the first three games on 93 carries for a 0.8 yards per rush. NU has also held all three opponents to less than 200 yards of total offense.

? NU Team Highs and Lows...Highs--Penalties and Penalty Yards (10-69); Turnover Margin (plus two)...Lows...Passing (88); Opponent Lows...Passing (119); Total Offense (162); Opponent Long Run...35 yards by Tony Fisher (first rush of 25 yards or more this season vs the Blackshirts, but NU did not give up a single pass play of 25 yards or more for the first time this season).

? Media Note: 717 credentials were issued for this game, the most since approximately 700 were issued for the No. 2 Nebraska vs. No. 3 Colorado game in 1994. It is not the most ever, as 950 credentials (including all staff) were issued for the No. 1 vs. No. 2 Nebraska - Oklahoma game in 1987.

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