Official Husker Locker Blog
2009 Oct 17
Huskers' Offense Blows a Fuse
Inside Texas Tech's 20-yard line, still in the first quarter, Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee flipped wide receiver Niles Paul, who promptly – and rather casually - dropped the ball. Tech defensive end Daniel Howard scooped it up, darting past an unsuspecting Paul and tackle Mike Smith. Only Lee gave chase, and wasn't quite able to catch Howard at the goal line.
The Red Raiders had just scored the easiest defensive touchdown they're ever likely to enjoy to take a 14-0 lead in front of 86,107 stunned NU fans at Memorial Stadium. It was more than enough, as Lee and the Cornhuskers' offense imploded again and again with penalties, drops, curious playcalling, and shoddy blocking. A late touchdown drive led by true freshman Cody Green was answered by another Tech touchdown as Mike Leach's mercurial team cruised to a 31-10 victory that should send No. 15 Nebraska spiraling out of national polls.
The Red Raiders opened the game by converting two long third-down plays on the arm of quarterback Steven Sheffield, who completed all seven passes on the drive for 93 yards. Sheffield his passes of 34 and 22 yards, and finished off the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Baron Batch.
The Huskers (4-2 overall, 1-1 in the Big 12 Conference) were in business on its second drive of the game following Paul's punt return to the Tech 33-yard line. Five plays later, Paul fumbled and Memorial Stadium seemed drained of energy.
Tech (4-2 and 1-1) scored its third touchdown with a 12-play, 65-yard march in the second quarter, highlighted by a 21-yard run on fourth down and a 18-yard pass on a third-and-eight from NU's 21-yard line. Nebraska answered by going 74 yards in 11 play for an Alex Henery field goal, the drive dying inside Tech's 5-yard line. The Red Raiders finished the half with a field goal of their own after Sheffield hit receiver Detron Lewis for 58-yard pass, Lewis slipping the grasp of cornerback Prince Amukamara.
Most of the second half was a defensive struggle, more painful for NU, which squandered two opportunities for points when Henery missed a 51-yard field goal (after the Huskers had started at Tech's 25-yard line) and it wasted a ten-minute drive on a personal foul penalty by offensive guard Ricky Henry and Lee's overthrow of Niles Paul in the end zone.
Green was inserted for the second time after that play, and promptly led a 40-yard touchdown march, culminating in a 13-yard pass to redshirt freshman Khiry Cooper. On NU's final possession, he threw an interception on a slant route.
Tech ended scoring with another touchdown drive capped off by a Sheffield sneak and aided by a long kickoff return and pass interference penalty on Anthony West that left Pelini infuriated. For the game, Nebraska had 12 penalties for 95 yards, and Pelini spent a good chunk of the TV timeouts thundering away at the officials.
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