Tom's Time
Photo Credit: Nebraska Athletics

Tom’s Time: Best-Ever Questions Come after 73-14 Win over Iowa State

November 10, 2022

Following Nebraska’s 73-14 victory against Iowa State at Memorial Stadium, Tom Osborne was asked whether the 1995 team was the best he had coached.

“Well, I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll know after January.”

Bowl time, in other words. Plus, the Huskers still had two regular-season games to play. But they seemed to be in control of their destiny after moving to No. 1 after the Colorado game.

Florida State, previously No. 1, had a bye week.

Nebraska had scored 70-plus points for the second time, but hadn’t tried to run up the score on Iowa State, according to Cyclone Coach Dan McCarney. “No, not at all,” he said. “Tom’s a class act. I’ve said that, and I believe it. He substituted freely and often and never, at any time in the game, did I think they were trying to run it up. They were just in another league.”

Ninety-six Huskers saw action, 15 of whom carried the ball. Thirty-five made tackles. The top defense played only one series in the second half.

No game details needed, numbers will do.

Nebraska had 776 yards of offense, fifth (now sixth) most in school history, including 624 rushing, second (now third) most in school history, the record 677 yards against New Mexico State in 1982. The Huskers had a record 883 total yards in that 68-0 victory.

Nebraska had 37 first downs and scored on 11-of-13 possessions. For only the seventh game in school history the Huskers didn’t punt. For the fourth consecutive game, they didn’t have a turnover.

Iowa State managed 15 first downs and 254 yards, including 121 on 28 carries by sophomore tailback Troy Davis, the nation’s leading rusher. Davis had averaged 190.75 yards and was on pace to become the fifth runner in major college history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

He would join Mike Rozier, Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen and Rashaan Salaam.

Davis was Heisman Trophy worthy. But “he’s a longshot, at best, because of our lack of national recognition, and he doesn’t have the supporting cast many other candidates have,” said McCarney.

Tommie Frazier was such a candidate, as recounted in the previous Tom’s Time, with Osborne’s support. His performance against Iowa State added to his Heisman résumé. He completed 10-of-15 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns.

The touchdown passes were to Reggie Baul and Ahman Green, who carried 12 times for 176 yards and three touchdowns, bringing his season totals to 997 yards and 13 touchdowns rushing.

His third touchdown came on a 64-yard run.

Lawrence Phillips, who started the first two games before being suspended, returned, carrying 12 times for 68 yards and a touchdown. He “played OK,” Osborne said. “He looked like guys who probably haven’t played for five or six weeks, and I suspected that would be the case.

“I don’t think putting Lawrence Phillips in there was the difference.”

Winning wasn’t the reason Osborne allowed him to return, said Phillips.

Osborne had “never been a guy that’s been all about winning,” he said. “If there’s a problem, then you’re going to face the consequences no matter who you are. He’s shown throughout the years that everybody has to pay for their wrongdoings. He just gave me a second chance.

“He believed that I could get help and come back and do a good job.”

Phillips had started his post-game media interview by apologizing and “saying I appreciate Coach Osborne giving me another chance to come out and play and all my teammates for supporting me and staying with me . . . I’m working on anger problems and going to counseling and stuff.”

As mentioned previously, we won’t go into the details. But it should be noted Osborne allowed Phillips to return not to win a championship but in hopes of helping him.

Anyway, back to Iowa State.

Clinton Childs rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown, on just six carries. And back-up fullback Joel Makovicka scored the other touchdown on an 18-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Rover Mike Minter and SAM linebacker Jamel Williams each had six tackles. Minter also broke up two passes and intercepted another, as did cornerback Mike Fullman.

Outside linebacker Jared Tomich had the game’s only sack.

Coming off two games against Top-10 teams, Osborne said he was “a little bit apprehensive” about a letdown. But that wasn’t the case, as reflected in the numbers 73 and 14.

Next up: On the road again, against another ranked team

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