It may not have been a wake-up call, but it did bear a resemblance
to a waking nightmare. Behind a freshman quarterback named Zebbie
Lethridge, the Red Raiders of Texas Tech had taken the second-half
kickoff, plowed 80 yards for a touchdown and cut Nebraska's lead to
14-9. Suddenly a sizable portion of the 32,768 assembled at Jones
Stadium in Lubbock were taunting the No. 1-ranked Cornhuskers,
flexing their vocal chords and their right arms in imitation of the
Florida State fans' accursed Tomahawk Chop.
But just as suddenly, there was silence. Pushing the mute button
for the Thursday-night ESPN audience was Cornhusker fullback Cory
Schlesinger, the indefatigable blocker and infrequent runner who, on
first-and-10 with about 12 minutes to go in the third period, roared
up the gut for 41 yards. ''It felt different,'' said Schlesinger, a
6-foot, 230-pound senior. ''It's the first time I've gotten that many
yards on a carry. I didn't know what to do except run.''
Three plays later, on a third-and-nine call, Schlesinger ran for
24 yards more, popping through the middle and cutting left. I-back
Lawrence Phillips then capped the 82-yard march with a touchdown dash
from the two, and the 42-16 rout was on.
Nebraska's victory came gradually at first, then suddenly -- just
as it had in the opener. ''We played a good football game,'' coach
Tom Osborne said. ''But I don't think we played an inspired football
Phillips followed Schlesinger's lead -- and a masterful lead block
by right tackle Zach Wiegert -- to roar into the end zone untouched
from 56 yards out on the Cornhuskers' next possession. He wound up
with 175 yards on 19 carries. ''Now we're getting to the point where
when Lawrence touches the ball, we expect some special things to
happen,'' said Nebraska assistant coach Frank Solich.
In all, the Cornhuskers rushed for 524 yards and left a lasting
impression on the Red Raiders. ''Their offensive line can move for
the size they are,'' Tech middle linebacker Zach Thomas said.
''That's what makes them a great team.''
Alas, though, the Cornhuskers learned that they would have to play
the rest of the season without one of their best players: Sophomore
safety Mike Minter, the fastest man on the roster, tore the anterior
cruciate ligament in his left knee on a tackle in the third quarter.
''There are several guys we can't afford to lose,'' Osborne said.
''Mike definitely is one of them.'' -- H.H.
This is an article from the Jan. 17, 1995 issue