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Nebraska fullback’s TD run demoralized Akron defense

August 31, 1997

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ There isn’t much glory reserved for a fullback at Nebraska _ he spends most of his time blocking.

But it was Joel Makovicka’s 20-yard touchdown run that started the demoralization of Akron’s defense in a 59-14 victory for the No. 6 Cornhuskers Saturday.

The Zips tried to stop Makovicka with several defenders, but he carried the last two with him into the end zone.

``He just flat wasn’t going to go down. ... We hit him and we hit him and we hit him,″ Akron coach Lee Owens said. ``He can’t hit (us) any harder than what he did.″

Makovicka _ the younger brother of former Nebraska fullback Jeff Makovicka _ added an 11-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and rushed seven times for a career-high 79 yards.

Quarterback Scott Frost and I-backs Ahman Green and freshman Correll Buckhalter also rushed for two touchdowns each during the lopsided win, but it was Makovicka’s run that told the Zips that Nebraska could score when it wanted.

``I got to the 5 and I saw the end zone and I was determined I wasn’t going to go down,″ Makovicka said. ``We work hard on leg strength and keeping low.″

After the Huskers’ first possession, which ended in a failed 38-yard field goal attempt by Kris Brown, Nebraska scored on nine straight drives, eight of which ended in touchdowns.

Nebraska piled up 472 yards rushing and 644 yards total offense against Akron’s defense, which had tied for 26th in the nation in 1996.

Defensive back Jerome Cargile led the Zips with 15 tackles and linebacker Nate Boyd had 11. They weren’t enough, Owens said.

``You just can’t get two defenders on all three aspects of the option,″ Owens said. The Zips did not think the quarterbacks would be a threat, and concentrated their defense on the running backs.

But Frost ended up rushing for a career-high 123 yards, and backup quarterback Frankie London rushed five times for 79 yards.

``Once we tried to change and adjust to it, we didn’t look very good,″ Owens said.

Akron couldn’t do much offensively, either. The Zips had 99 yards rushing and 144 yards passing _ 69 on a touchdown pass from James Washington to Lavel Bailey against Nebraska reserves in the fourth quarter.

It was Akron’s first scoring drive that bothered Nebraska coach Tom Osborne. Two penalties against the Huskers _ one for too many men on the field and a pass interference call _ led to an 11-yard touchdown run by Bo Hunter in the third quarter.

``That drive was probably the most disturbing part of the game to me,″ Osborne said Sunday. ``It happened while there were some good people in there.″

Starting tackle Jason Peter was one of those players. The defensive captain said he was not satisfied with the way his team played on that series.

Something will have to change before the Huskers meet No. 4 Washington in three weeks, Peter said.

``The way we played today won’t cut it as we go into the season,″ he said.

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