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Huskers' defense too much for Bears in loss

Oct. 18, 2005

by RIAZ DHANANI, sports editor

The University of Nebraska took advantage of costly penalties and turnovers Saturday as the Cornhuskers defeated Baylor 23-14 in front of 40,857 fans at Floyd Casey Stadium.

The Nebraska defense stifled the Baylor offense for three and a half quarters, after the Bears drove 81 yards in 14 plays on the first possession of the game to jump out to an early 7-0 lead.

Robyn Kenagy | Lariat staff
Wide receiver Trent Shelton breaks two tackles and runs toward the endzone in the middle of the third quarter Saturday night at Floyd Casey Stadium. Shelton fumbled at the 1-yard-line but Dominique Zeigler recovered for a touchdown.

The game's momentum shifted as the Nebraska offense woke up and scored the next 20 points of the game, including two touchdown passes by quarterback Zac Taylor.

Baylor showed heart and fought to keep the game within reach.

After an unusual touchdown play in which Dominique Zeigler recovered a Trent Shelton fumble on the goal line, the Bears found themselves down 20-14.

Nebraska's stingy defense, however, would force the Bears to turnover the ball three times in the fourth quarter, halting any sort of comeback.

The three turnovers came on the last five snaps for the Baylor offense.

Baylor head Coach Guy Morriss said he was impressed by the Huskers' defense.

"That was by far the best defense we've seen all year," Morriss said. "We knew they would test us and they got to us."

Baylor junior quarterback Shawn Bell seemed to be running away from defenders all night long.

Bell was sacked four times by the team leading the nation in total sacks, including the last play that he was in the game.

"They were pushing the line back to where it affected my vision, and we weren't protecting like we needed to," Bell said.

Bell was 15-of-24 with 180 yards passing and a rushing touchdown.

Morriss replaced Bell with backup quarterback Terrance Parks with the Bears trailing 23-14 in the fourth quarter and just over nine minutes remaining.

"We thought he was a little bit more mobile, and we wanted to try and just get a look at Terrance," Morriss said.

"There has never been an ideal time to put him in and we felt like we could here. ... He was throwing the ball well and doing what he was supposed to do."

Parks finished the game 2-for-6 passing with 22 yards and two interceptions.

Bell said he respected his coach's decision.

"You always want the ball in your hands, but you have to support the decision that is best for the team," Bell said.

The Huskers, who are also ranked No. 1 in the nation in rushing defense, held the Bears to only 51 rushing yards.

The Bears came into the game averaging 147.

Baylor running back Paul Mosley, who was held to 23 rushing yards on 9 carries, spoke about the difficulty of getting the running game on the right track.

"Their D-line controlled the line a scrimmage," Mosley said. "They put pressure on the ball making it hard to get past the front four and getting our running game established."

With the loss, the Bears fall to 4-2 on the season and 1-2 in Big 12 play. The loss did, however, earn respect in the opponent's eyes.

"Baylor is a vastly improved football team, and we take our hats off to them," said Bill Callahan, Nebraska head coach and former Oakland Raiders head coach.

The Bears now head to Norman, Okla., to take on the defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners.

The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports Net at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday from Norman.

"We have a lot of games left and a lot of season left," Morriss said.

"Let's tee it up and make (Oklahoma) beat us at our best at least, don't make any dumb mistakes and just hand it to them."

Sports writer Jordan Daniel contributed to this report.