2B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSWednesday - Wednesday, January 10, 1996
tHE FiEsTA BOWL
Fiesta Siesta: Nebraska
By Barry Sollenberger The Cornhuskers have now won 25 takes in the schemes," Wuerffel said.
Daily Sports Editor games in a row and 36 of their past 37. "They came at the right times from
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Fiesta Bowl's Word has it that they want to replace a right places. They did a good job getting
national championship matchupbetween couple of college teams on their 1996 the pressure that disrupted us."
top-ranked Nebraska and No. 2 Florida schedule with a couple of NFL teams. That pressure was evident in the mas-
actually lived up to its hype. Anything for a little competition. sacre known as the second quarter. After
Well, at least for a quarter. They concluded their remarkable sea- Nebraska tailback Lawrence Phillips
After a back-and-forth first 15 minutes son by completely dominating a Florida scored on a nifty 42-yard run to give his
ofplay that ended with the Gators up, 10- team that hadn't been seriously challenged team a 13-10 lead with 13:11 left uptil
6, the Huskers exploded for 29 unan- in registering a 12-0 record during the halftime, Wuerffel and company found
swered points in the second period en season. themselves pinned deep in their own end.
route to a 62-24 romp in front of 79,864 at Nebraska outgained the Gators, 629- On third and long from the one, the
Sun Devil Stadium. 269, and rushed for a bowl record 524 Cornhuskers' Jamel Williams burr
With the victory, Nebraska (12-0) be- yards. The Cornhuskers also won their Wuerffel in the end zone for a safety.
came the first team since Oklahoma in first Fiesta Bowl in five tries. Nebraska led, 15-10.
1955 and 1956 to win unanimous back- The Gators' offensive attack, nick- After the ensuing free kick, tle
to-backnational championships. Lastsea- named Fun 'n' Gun, had anything but a Cornhuskers' signal-caller Tommtie
son the Cornhuskers went 13-0 to claim jolly time against Nebraska. The Frazier set up Ahman Green's one-yard
their first national title since 1971. Cornhuskers made life miserable for touchdown plungg with a 32-yard runon
"We weren't as emotional as we were Florida's All-American quarterback third-and-7.
last year," Nebraska coach Tom Osborne Danny Wuerffel, tallying seven sacks Nebraska led, 22-10. After that, the
said. "The players were expecting to win and three interceptions. Cornhuskers' Kris Brown put three more
it. It wasn't 'ho hum,' but it was more "A coupletimes,we didn'thaveenough points on the board with a 26-yard boot
matter-of-fact." blockers, and other times we had mis- and then the Gators, already entering *
panic stage, gave Nebraska another six
I.4 when Michael Booker returned an errant
WV . Wuerffel pass 42 yards for a score.
Weffebraska led, 32-10. And inone ofthe
most highly touted matchups in recent
memory, CBS began to lose millions of
.. , ". ;' viewers - about two hours before it
Nebraska's Jamel Williams drills Gator quarterback Danny Wuerffel for a second quarter safety. Wuerffel had this view of the
Sun Devil Stadium turf quite often Jan. 2 as the Cornhuskers sacked him seven times In their 62-24 romp.
Tap-ranked Corn/iuskers take their
EMPE, Ariz. - Florida
coach Steve Spurrier did not
make any excuses after his team
lost the national
Nebraska in the
Fiesta Bowl, 62-
shed any tears. BARRY
And he didn't SOLLENBERGER
'blame the loss Sollenberger in
on the media Paradise
like so many
people love to
do these days after a tough loss.
He just told it like it was.
"Nebraska is just way better than
us," Spurrier said. "We've been on
the good end of these scores and now
we're on the bad end."
- Before the game, many thought
Spurrier's squad had a solid shot of
slaying Nebraska and capturing its
first-ever national championship.
Florida hadn't been seriously
challenged in going 12-0 during the
season. Spurrier had one of the best
signal-callers in the nation in Danny
Wuerffel - a guy who threw for a
marathon through the air this season.
And the Gators also boasted an
underrated defense, one that was
rated among the top 20 statistically.
Over a week later, it's clear to
everyone that all of those stats and
victories didn't add up to a hill of
anything against Nebraska. The
Cornhuskers were too good.
To beat the Cornhuskers, it actually
helps to lead Osborne's bunch during
the course of a contest. Nebraska
trailed during a game three times all
season -- once against Washington
State, 7-0, (Nebraska won, 35-21) and
twice against Florida, 3-0 and 10-6.
When facing the Huskers, it helps
to put some pressure on the quarter-
back. No one was able to do that
either. When Nebraska quarterback
Tommie Frazier was tackled behind
the line late in the game against the
Gators, it marked the first time all
season that Osborne's offensive line
allowed a sack. This means that while
running the option, Frazier was not
stopped for negative yardage a single
time during the regular season.
Yeah, but did they play anybody,
you might ask.
Try three of the 10 best teams in
The Big 8 was by far the best and
most competitive league in college
football this year. It placed four teams
in the top 10 of the final Associated
Press poll. In addition to No. 1
Nebraska, No. 5 Colorado, No. 7
Kansas State and No. 9 Kansas all
cracked the top 10.
The Cornhuskers beat those three
teams 44-21, 49-25 and 41-3,
My 21 years of age didn't allow me
to see those great Oklahoma teams of
the 1950s, or the Texas and Notre
Dame powerhouses of the '60s and
'70s, but could anybody have been
more dominant than Nebraska was
The Cornhuskers did not come
See SOLLENBERGER, Page 46
The halfended mercifully for Florida a
couple of minutes after Booker's return,
but not before Brown tacked on anothi
three to make it 35-10 at intermission
"Once this offense gets going,"'Frazier
said, "it's pretty hard to stop."
Nah ... really?
The second half was the best time of
your life if you're a Nebraska fan and
your worst experience if you bleed Gator
orange. TheCornhuskers stampededtheir
way to a Fiesta Bowl record 62 poinfs,
making the contest the most lopsided
No.1 versus No. 2 matchup since Ar"
beat Notre Dame 48-0 in 1946.
Frazier and Phillips led a cast of what
seemed like 100 heroes for Nebraska.
Phillips finished with 165 yards rushing
and three touchdowns, while Frazier
rushed for 199 yards and two scores and
threw for another. But the real key to the
blowout might have been the Cornhusker
defense. Florida's 269 yards of total of-
fense was almost 300 yards below its
season average. Midway through the see-
ond quarter, the Gators had as much tot
offense as they did when the game started
- The Associated Press contributed
to this report.
Nebraska senior quarterback Tommie Frazier rarely lost during his collegiate
career. The Cornhuskers dropped just one game in his final three seasons.
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