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Sun Devils Become Cornshockers Arizona State Ends Nebraska’s 26-Game Winning Streak, 19-0

Mel Reisner Associated Press

Nebraska isn’t invincible, after all.

The top-ranked Cornhuskers had their 26-game winning streak snapped Saturday night in a shocking 19-0 loss to No. 17 Arizona State on the same field where they won their second straight national championship in January.

“They just whipped us,” Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said. “We didn’t generate a good enough running game. We needed a big play … but we just didn’t convert.”

The Sun Devils, routed by the Huskers 77-28 last season, recorded three safeties in handing the Huskers their first defeat since losing the 1994 Orange Bowl to Florida State.

“I’m just so proud of this team and my staff,” said Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder, who accused Osborne of running up the score last year. “This might be the biggest win I’ve ever been involved with.”

It was Nebraska’s first shutout since a 22-0 loss to Miami in the 1992 Orange Bowl, and its first regular-season loss since dropping a 19-10 decision to Iowa State on Nov. 14, 1992.

It also was just the second regularseason shutout during Osborne’s 24-year tenure at Nebraska. Oklahoma beat the Huskers 27-0 in 1973, Osborne’s first year as head coach in Lincoln.

Nebraska (1-1), which had a bye week following its season-opening 55-14 win over Michigan State, committed three turnovers against Arizona State, which was a 24-point underdog.

Arizona State (3-0) pulled off the huge upset before a capacity crowd of 74,089 on a 91-degree night when the university honored former coach Frank Kush, who led the Sun Devils to undefeated seasons in 1970 and 1975. The Sun Devils capped their 1975 season by beating Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, where the Huskers won the national title last season by crushing Florida 62-24.

Kush watched the game from the Arizona State sideline at newly renamed Frank Kush Field at Sun Devil Stadium.

Jake Plummer threw for 292 yards and a touchdown and Robert Nycz kicked two field goals for the Sun Devils, who outgained Nebraska 401 to 216.

The three safeties, more than Nebraska had ever given up in an entire season, typified the Sun Devils’ defensive dominance over the Huskers, who had won 37 straight regular-season games.

Arizona State went ahead 7-0 on its first possession, with Plummer throwing 25 yards to Keith Poole to complete the drive.

Two penalties backed up Nebraska to its 6 and disaster struck when Scott Frost’s pitchout got away from Ahman Green. The ball was batted around the end zone before going out of bounds for a safety that put Arizona State ahead 9-0 after only 4:22 of play.

Safety No. 2 followed Nycz’s first field goal and gave Arizona State a 14-0 lead with 3:09 left in the half. This time, the ball was snapped past Frost while the quarterback, lined up in a shotgun formation at his 20, was looking left. He chased it into the end zone and was tackled.

The third safety, the only score of the second half, was credited to defensive end Derrick Rodgers, who looped past two blockers and tackled Frost in the end zone with 6:43 to play.

The loss denied Nebraska victory No. 700 since it began play in 1890. Only four major college teams - Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas and Alabama - have reached that plateau.

Nebraska had its best opportunity to score in the first quarter when it drove to the Arizona State 5. But on third-and-3, Damon Benning fumbled a pitch when he was hit by safety Mitchell “Fright Night” Freedman, and the Devils’ Scott Von der Ahe recovered at the 22.

Nebraska 0 0 0 0 - 0 Arizona St. 9 8 0 2 - 19

First quarter

ASU-Poole 25 pass from Plummer (Nycz kick), 3:22

ASU-Safety, Green fumbles pitch out of end zone, 4:22 Second quarter

ASU-FG Nycz 27, 6:01

ASU-Safety, Frost tackled in end zone, 12:41.

ASU-FG Nycz 44, 14:30 Fourth quarter

ASU-Safety, Frost tackled in end zone, 8:17.

A-74,089.

Neb ASU First downs 13 22 Rushes-yards 44-130 52-109 Passing 96 292 Comp-Att-Int 8-25-0 20-36-1 Return Yards 118 107 Punts-Avg. 8-45.9 9-42.7 Fumbles-Lost 6-3 0-0 Penalties-Yards 5-32 4-56 Time of Possession 23:32 36:28

Individual statistics

RUSHING-Nebraska, Green 20-87, Benning 6-52, Schuster 4-10, Turman 3-8, Frost 10-(minus 7), team 1-(minus 20). Arizona State, Martin 26-77, Battle 9-39, Redmond 6-30, Boyer 1-(minus 4), Plummer 10-(minus 33).

PASSING-Nebraska, Frost 6-20-0-66, Turman 2-4-0-30, Benning 0-1-0-0. Arizona State, Plummer 20-26-1-292.

RECEIVING-Nebraska, Holbein 3-26, L.Brown 1-22, Green 1-20, Vedral 1-19, Schuster 1-10, Benning 1-(minus 1). Arizona State, Jackson 8-105, Poole 3-68, Bush 2-29, Martin 2-17, Redmond 1-31, Mitchell 1-24, Kendall 1-9, Boyer 1-8, Battle 1-1.

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