No one puts the chill on the Washington Huskies quite like Scott Frost.
Booed off his own field last week, Nebraska’s senior quarterback silenced the hostiles in Husky Stadium on Saturday - while the Cornhuskers plowed under Washington’s notions of a national championship.
The final score was a deceptively respectable 27-14 - but the day couldn’t have been any more depressing for the Huskies had it been 77-14.
“They just took it to us,” said linebacker Jerry Jensen. “I couldn’t imagine that anyone could take us apart like that.”
The Huskers did it with Frost masterfully jiggling the joystick on their option attack, running for two first-quarter touchdowns himself - Nebraska rolling up as many yards rushing (384) as the Huskies had surrendered in their last nine games combined.
To make matters worse, Washington saw quarterback Brock Huard limp to sidelines with a sprained left ankle as the first quarter came to a close - never to return.
That left freshman Marques Tuiasosopo - the son of former Seahawks standout Manu Tuiasosopo - to try to bring the Dawgs back from a 21-0 deficit.
And he nearly did.
His spectacular collaborations with split end Jerome Pathon - 176 yards worth - and tight end Cameron Cleeland being UW’s only real highlight, Tuiasosopo engineered a couple of lightning-bolt drives that pulled UW within a touchdown, 21-14, with 2:49 left in the third quarter.
But Huskies coach Jim Lambright chose that moment to gamble on an on-side kick, and Randy Jones - who had missed a 33-yard field goal attempt on UW’s first drive - chili-dipped one out of bounds on the fly before it could be recovered. “We’d been watching it and we thought we could do it,” said Lambright. “In this sort of a game, you take a chance.”
But marooned at midfield, the UW defense couldn’t keep Nebraska bottled up. With Frost mixing up dive calls to fullback Joel Makovicka and wide pitches to Ahman Green, the Cornhuskers used up 5 minutes to get an insurance field goal from Kris Brown - a feat they repeated late in the fourth quarter.
Since the Huskies actually won on the scoreboard in the second half, there was no debating the decisiveness of Nebraska’s first-half dominance.
Washington hadn’t surrendered a run longer than 13 yards since a loss to Notre Dame last season, but Nebraska got one - a 19-yarder by Mackovicka - on its fourth play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Frost took an option keeper 34 yards untouched for NU’s first touchdown.
The next time the Huskers had the ball, Frost capped a drive with a 30-yard quarterback draw, slipping the grasp of UW’s Sekou Wiggs. On the drive that made it 21-0, Frost did it through the air, completions of 14 and 21 yards leading to the touchdown.
It was reminiscent of Frost’s last visit to Husky Stadium in 1994. He was at Stanford then, backing up injured Steve Stenstrom and helping the Cardinal to a 46-28 upset of UW. This time he ran for 97 yards - Green and Makovicka each had 129 - and passed for 88.
“He has undergone quite a battering for the last year and a half,” said NU coach Tom Osborne. “I think the problem was we had won 26 straight games and he happened to be the quarterback when we lost one. It’s been very distressing for me to see him treated the way he’s been treated when all he’s done is the best he can.”
Under emergency conditions, so did Tuiasosopo.
He passed for 270 yards, with some fine long strikes to Pathon and two nervy through-traffic completions on the goal line to Cleeland. “He did a great job and battled like I knew he would,” said Huard, who will have a bye week to get his ankle ready for the Pac-10 opener Oct. 4 against Arizona State. “A couple big plays and the game is ours. I was obviously devastated on my end, but I’m very proud of the way Marques came in and played.”
But the Huskies were helpless running the ball - managing just 43 yards as Wistrom and Jason Peter overwhelmed UW’s offensive line.
“We’ve kind of gotten away from our rushing game,” said Cleeland. “I don’t know why. Their defensive line is good, but we have All-Americans, too, and we should be able to shove it right down their throats.”
Cornhuskers 27, Huskies 14
Nebraska 14 7 0 6 - 27
Washington 0 7 7 0 - 14
Neb-Frost 34 run (Brown kick), 7:28
Neb-Frost 30 run (Brown kick), 1:51
Neb-Green 4 run (Brown kick), 7:20
Wash-Cleeland 12 pass from Tuiasosopo (Jones kick), 1:38
Wash-Reed 2 pass from Tuiasosopo (Jones kick), 2:49
Neb-FG Brown 20, 12:45
Neb-FG Brown 31, 2:25
First downs 23 14
Rushes-yards 66-384 28-43
Passing 88 299
Comp-Att-Int 8-15-0 16-30-0
Return Yards 0 10
Punts-Avg. 4-42.3 7-34.9
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-60 6-47
Time of Possession 34:31 25:29
RUSHING-Nebraska, Makovicka 12-129, Green 29-129, Frost 18-97, Buckhalter 5-34, L.Brown 1-3, Retzlaff 1-(minus 8). Washington, Shehee 11-28, Tuiasosopo 11-12, Shaw 5-10, Huard 1-(minus 7).
PASSING-Nebraska, Frost 8-15-0-88. Washington, Tuiasosopo 12-22-0-270, Huard 4-8-0-29.
RECEIVING-Nebraska, L.Brown 2-38, Wiggins 2-24, Davison 1-14, Buckhalter 1-7, Cheatham 1-7, Green 1-(minus 2). Washington, Pathon 5-195, Shehee 4-18, Cleeland 3-42, Coleman 2-37, Jarzynka 1-5, Reed 1-2.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 4 photos (1 color)
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