Nebraska Fumbles Its Way to a 48-14 Win : Fourth-Ranked Cornhuskers Turn Their Mistakes Into Touchdowns
Defensive end Broderick Thomas, with three fumble recoveries and one touchdown, led fourth-ranked Nebraska to a 48-14 nonconference victory over Oregon Saturday.
The Cornhuskers (3-0) forced Oregon (2-2) into five turnovers in the first half, turning three into touchdowns.
Thomas scored his touchdown when he scooped up a fumble by teammate Jeff Tomjack, who had intercepted a Chris Miller pass and returned it to the four-yard line. Tomjack lost the ball when hit, and Thomas was there to grab it and run into the end zone.
“I was at the right place at the right time,” Thomas said. “It showed me what being around the ball will do.”
It was the second such touchdown for Nebraska, which scored its first touchdown when quarterback Steve Taylor fumbled into the hands of I-back Keith Jones at the one-yard line. Jones stepped into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
“We started the game like we wanted to give it away,” Oregon Coach Rich Brooks said. “We were in terrible position after giving up three quick turnovers.”
The Cornhuskers also picked up a touchdown when Todd Millikan caught a tipped 29-yard pass from Nebraska reserve quarterback Clete Blakeman in the third quarter.
“We were fortunate on those breaks, but we had a couple of bad breaks, too,” Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said. “For the number of breaks we had, probably if we had played more efficiently, we would have scored more.”
One such occasion was on Nebraska’s first possession, which ended with an interception after Thomas recovered a Miller fumble at the 22.
“It’s not a question of trying to embarrass Oregon, but we would like to execute well. At times we didn’t,” Osborne said.
Nebraska’s Charles Fryar picked off a Miller pass at the 28 less than three minutes into the game, setting up the Taylor-Jones score.
Less than two minutes later, Taylor hit Millikan on a 22-yard touchdown pass after Thomas recovered his second Miller fumble of the first quarter.
Nebraska, ahead, 35-7, by intermission, also had short touchdown runs from reserve fullback Micah Heibel and backup quarterback Blakeman in the first half.
Blakeman hit Millikan on a 29-yard touchdown pass, and Jones ran in from 10 yards out for Husker third-quarter scores.
Miller hit Alan Jackson on a 25-yard scoring play in the first half, and James Harper ran one yard with 1:03 to play in the game for Oregon touchdowns.