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Taylor Pulls Out Nebraska Victory, 34-17

From Times Wire Services

Quarterback Steve Taylor had a hand in all four Nebraska touchdowns Saturday night as the eighth-ranked Cornhuskers temporarily overcame their problems with the NCAA to beat 11th-ranked Florida State, 34-17.

Taylor, a sophomore starting his first game, carried 22 times for 139 yards. He ran for touchdowns of 20 and 6 yards and threw for two more scores.

“I wasn’t really jittery,” Taylor said of his first start in which he gained more yards rushing than any Nebraska quarterback since John Bordogna rushed for 143 yards against Iowa State in 1952.

“Our line is very good. They blitzed a lot, and our line held up very well,” Taylor said.

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The 75,865 fans who jammed Memorial Stadium gave Nebraska its 144th consecutive sellout--an NCAA record--in the school’s first home night game. The game was played under portable lights to accommodate a national television audience.

Signs such as “Mom: Send 60 players” showed fan reaction to an NCAA announcement last Wednesday that 53 Nebraska players were ineligible for one game and seven were ineligible for two games for improper use of complimentary passes last year.

Nebraska officials had considered forfeiting the game until the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. agreed Thursday to delay the suspensions. Nebraska’s appeal to the NCAA will be heard Tuesday.

Florida State led, 14-10, at halftime, but the Seminoles were stopped cold in the second half. Nebraska shut them out in the final 35 minutes.

The game, played in frequent rain, was the season opener for the Cornhuskers. Florida State is 1-1.

“I don’t know if we’re a world-beater, but we’re pretty good if everybody’s out there,” Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said.

“Steve Taylor played very, very well,” Osborne said.

The Nebraska defense held Florida State to 76 yards rushing and 97 yards passing. The Cornhusker offense rolled to 297 on the ground and 130 through the air.

“This is the best defense Nebraska has had in the past four years,” Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden said. “We could not get our running game established, and without a running game you can’t pass.”

Osborne agreed, saying: “Other than two big plays, we played great football.”

Taylor hit tight end Todd Millikan with a 12-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to break a 17-17 tie. Taylor then connected with wingback Von Sheppard for a 46-yard score on the Huskers’ next possession.

The Cornhusker quarterback completed 10 of 16 passes for 130 yards.

Florida State scored with 33 seconds left in the first half to take a 14-10 lead. Freshman tailback Sammie Smith bolted 57 yards for the touchdown on the first play after a Nebraska kickoff.

The Cornhuskers scored with 51 seconds left in the first half on Dale Klein’s 33-yard field goal. Klein kicked a 38-yarder for Nebraska’s final points.

Florida State scored on the game’s first possession when Chip Ferguson hit Victor Floyd on a 30-yard touchdown pass.

Taylor tied the score, 7-7, on a 20-yard touchdown run one play after he picked up 34 yards.

“That was the turning point of the game, when he raced in 20 yards faster than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Bowden said.

Derek Schmidt kicked a 46-yard field goal and two extra points for the Seminoles’ other points.

The victory tied the series between Florida State and Nebraska at 2-2 since 1980.


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