Nebraska rolled up 545 yards of offense against Kansas State in the sixth game of the 1993 season.
And the Huskers were out-yarded.
Kansas State gained 565 yards, including a Big Eight record 489 passing. Quarterback Chad May completed 30-of-51 passes, with one interception and two touchdowns.
The Wildcats also had more first downs than Nebraska, if you’re wondering, 27 to 22.
Nevertheless, the sixth-ranked Huskers won 45-28, with quarterback Tommie Frazier and I-back Calvin Jones both rushing for over 100 yards, and back-up I-back Lawrence Phillips adding 73 on only five carries—the fifth good for 46 yards and a touchdown with 29 seconds remaining.
Jones rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns, Frazier 158 yards (on 16 carries) and a touchdown. Frazier also completed 9-of-19 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Frazier’s 312 yards of total offense were 7 short of the school record, set by Jerry Tagge in 1971.
As might be apparent, the teams’ yardage totals, not that different anyway, were deceptive. Plus, Kansas State helped supplement Nebraska’s offense, which was turnover-free.
On the Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage, following a Byron Bennett punt, May fumbled and Ed Stewart recovered at the Wildcat 21-yard line to set up Nebraska’s first touchdown.
With 9:47 remaining in the first half, Nebraska began a 15-play, 76-yard touchdown drive to go up 28-14. The drive remained alive when Kansas State linebacker Kirby Hocutt was flagged for a personal foul when he punched Husker tackle Lance Lundberg, who said afterward the punch was misplaced, hitting him in the helmet. Nebraska faced third-and-22.
The penalty meant 15 yards and more importantly, an automatic first down.
The other big play on the drive was a 26-yard run by Jones on third-and-4 at the Wildcat 30. Two plays later, Frazier put the ball in the end zone from 2 yards out.
Then, with less than a minute remaining in the half, Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder tried some trickery. On second-and-goal from the NU 4-yard line, a halfback pass by J.J. Smith was intercepted by Husker cornerback Tyrone Williams, who returned the ball to the 15—45 seconds remained.
Three Frazier pass completions, in four attempts, moved the ball to the Kansas State 31-yard line, and as time ran out, Bennett kicked a career-long 48-yard field goal.
Nebraska led at halftime 31-14. But there was more drama and a play Snyder said afterward he second-guessed. With just over 3 minutes remaining and the score 38-28, Kansas State again was at the Husker 4-yard line, this time on fourth down.
The Wildcats ran an option, with Smith stopped after a 2-yard gain.
Kansas State would get the ball back with 1:49 remaining, at the Husker 46-yard line. On first down, May threw an incomplete pass. On second down, he passed again. This time strongside linebacker Ernie Beler intercepted, and two plays later, Phillips took off on his touchdown run.
Beler finished with 10 tackles, as did cornerback John Reece. Stewart led the Black Shirts with 11 tackles, including two for losses, a sack for a 13-yard loss, and three pass breakups.
Outside linebacker Trev Alberts had Nebraska’s other sack, his 10th of the season, tying the single-season record held by Broderick Thomas, and giving Alberts the school career record, with 24.5.
Despite Kansas State’s yardage, Nebraska’s defense had made some big plays, including the interceptions by Williams and Beler and Stewart’s fumble recovery. But once again, in the most dramatic way to this point, the Black Shirts’ move to a 4-3 base alignment was a work in progress.
Kansas State had come to Lincoln with a 5-0 record, though, just out of the Associated Press Top 25. The Wildcats would tie Colorado the next week and lose only once more, at Iowa State, finishing the season 9-2-1, including their first bowl victory, in only their second bowl game in history.
Next up for Nebraska, which moved to No. 5 in the AP poll, was a less-imposing opponent, Missouri. Coach Bob Stull’s Tigers came to Lincoln with a 2-3-1 record.
Mike is in his 40th year covering Husker athletics, after seven years of community-college teaching. He has written and edited a dozen books, all on Nebraska football except one, a brief history of Husker basketball. He previously wrote for the Lincoln Journal and Star and Huskers Illustrated. He enjoys music, from the Grateful Dead and Jack Johnson to Van Morrison, Bob Wills, Glenn Miller and pretty much anyone else.