Originally created 10/24/98

Huskers don't want it to be close this time



Nebraska got very lucky last year at Missouri. This time, defensive end Mike Rucker and the other Cornhuskers hope to leave nothing to chance.

"We want to take them out of the game right away," Rucker said. "We want to make it our game from the beginning."

The Huskers will need more than luck.

To extend their home winning streak to 47 games, the No. 7 Huskers (6-1, 2-1 Big 12) must stop the nation's second-leading rusher and contain the player who gave them fits last November.

The No. 19 Tigers (5-1, 3-0) have Devin West, who averages 175.1 yards rushing per game. There's also Corby Jones, the option quarterback who ran for a touchdown and threw for 233 yards and three TDs against Nebraska last year.

Jones appears near full strength after being limited for three weeks with a sore toe. West, despite being held to 93 yards in last week's 20-6 victory over Oklahoma, has rushed for 1,098 yards this season.

The Huskers have to stop both. They know it won't be easy.

"Corby Jones is a good runner and a very talented player," Nebraska linebacker Tony Ortiz said. "As for Devin West, he's a very good running back. He's a real power runner."

In other Top 25 games, it's No. 1 Ohio State at Northwestern, No. 2 UCLA at California, Alabama at No. 3 Tennessee, Iowa State at No. 4 Kansas State, No. 6 Florida State at No. 20 Georgia Tech, No. 25 Texas Tech at No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 9 Wisconsin at Iowa, No. 11 Georgia at Kentucky, Southern California at No. 12 Oregon, Miami at No. 13 West Virginia, Northeast Louisiana at No. 14 Arizona, North Carolina State at No. 16 Virginia, No. 17 Colorado at Kansas, Army at No. 18 Notre Dame, No. 22 Tulane at Rutgers, No. 23 Virginia Tech at Alabama-Birmingham and No. 24 Mississippi State at LSU.

No. 5 Florida, No. 10 Penn State, No. 15 Arkansas and No. 21 Syracuse are idle Saturday.

If the Huskers are seeking an extra advantage over the Tigers, they can look to wide receiver Matt Davison, who made an amazing catch last year to force overtime against the Tigers. Or maybe they should turn to Shevin Wiggins.

Last season's play of the year came when, with Nebraska trailing 38-31, quarterback Scott Frost threw into the end zone to Wiggins, who bobbled and kicked the ball into Davison's arms as time expired.

Kris Brown made the conversion to force overtime. Frost scored on a 12-yard run. Rucker sacked Jones on Missouri's final play to end the game. The Huskers won 45-38, their 19th straight victory over the Tigers.

Nebraska rushed for a season-high 466 yards in last week's 41-0 victory over Kansas, but the Jayhawks came in with the worst rushing defense in the Big 12. The Huskers' running game struggled in the two previous games, a 28-21 loss to Texas A&M and a 24-17 win over Oklahoma State.

Correll Buckhalter, who had 133 yards and three TDs against Kansas, will start again in place of injured DeAngelo Evans.

At Knoxville, Tenn., it's Alabama-Tennessee, and Vols coach Phillip Fulmer isn't about to let his undefeated team let down. The Vols (5-0, 3-0 SEC) have won the past three meetings between the rivals.

"Coach Fulmer takes this game very seriously," wideout Cedrick Wilson said. "He wants us to be more physical, I guess. He's talking about combat."

Tennessee will rely on Tee Martin to add punch to the offense.

"Tee can beat you a lot of ways with his wheels or throwing the ball," Fulmer said. "We've leaned heavily toward running, and will continue to try to do that. We just want a little more pizzazz in our offense."

At Atlanta, Georgia Tech (5-1, 4-0 ACC) is seeking its third straight win over a ranked team when it faces the Seminoles (6-1, 3-1).

The road to the ACC title has gone through Florida State ever since the Seminoles joined the conference in 1992. Florida State has won six straight titles while losing only two of 52 conference games.

A half-dozen of their 50 victories have been against the Yellow Jackets, who haven't come within 31 points of Florida State since losing 29-24 in the Seminoles' first ACC season.

"We all know we have to prove we're at the same level as FSU," receiver Dez White said. "Basically, we've been embarrassed."

In order to win, Tech better find a stronger defense. So far, Georgia Tech has allowed 412.8 yards per game -- including 600 in a victory over Virginia -- to rank last in the ACC and 92nd nationally. However, the Jackets have scored defensive touchdowns in five straight games, an NCAA record.