Saturday, Sep. 23 3:30pm ET
Iowa ties school record with 12th-straight loss


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Eric Crouch made nearly every pass count against Iowa, and No. 1 Nebraska came away with another victory.

Keyuo Craver
Nebraska's Keyuo Craver broke up a pass in the first half Saturday as the top-ranked Cornhuskers defeated Iowa.

Crouch only threw the ball 13 times Saturday, but the results couldn't have been much better -- 10 completions, five touchdowns and a 42-13 win over the Hawkeyes.

"You like our new offensive approach?" Crouch joked after matching the school record for TD passes in a game.

Nebraska (3-0) will never be confused with a passing team and even though most of its points came through the air, the Cornhuskers ran for 331 yards against the Hawkeyes (0-4).

Dan Alexander rushed for 113 yards, Correll Buckhalter had 100 and Crouch finished with 93 yards on the ground.

But all the Huskers' points came off passes. Crouch, who was 11-for-25 for just one touchdown coming into Saturday, threw three TD passes to Tracey Wistrom and two to Matt Davison. He finished with 159 passing yards.

"It's great to know our passing game is there when we need it," Crouch said. "We've still only thrown what, 38 passes so far? That's not a lot. It's not like it was an air show or the West Coast offense or anything like that. We run the ball, that's what we do."

Crouch threw for 159 yards and tied the school record for TD passes in a game set by Steve Taylor in 1987. Crouch topped his previous best of three TD passes against Kansas State in 1998.

"You would never know they are not a passing team," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "What makes them so dangerous is their running game. They set up the run so well that the pass hurts you."

But as great a day as it was, it was far from the expected blowout. The Huskers, off last week, needed overtime to beat Notre Dame two weeks ago.

Against Iowa, Nebraska fumbled three times, losing the ball once after driving to the Iowa 10-yard line.

"We had our backs against the wall a couple of times, but our defense did a great job of not allowing them to put points on the board," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. "You can allow them to rack up yards, as long as they're not racking up points."

The Hawkeyes matched a school record with their 12th straight loss.

"The guys were trying hard and giving good effort. We've just got to play smarter, more disciplined football," Ferentz said.

An unranked team hasn't beaten No. 1 since Michigan State upset Ohio State in 1998. The Hawkeyes stayed within range until late in the fourth quarter.

The Huskers weren't able to put the game away until Crouch's 4-yard TD pass to Wistrom with 1:27 left in the game. Troy Watchorn added a 39-yard interception return for a TD with 55 seconds left.

The Hawkeyes, who last lost 12 straight in the 1973-74 seasons, never got their running game going and finished with 47 yards rushing. Scott Mullen was 19-of-40 for 252 yards, but the Huskers had two interceptions and four sacks.

Crouch, who had just one passing touchdown in the Huskers' first two games, threw three TD passes to Wistrom, including a 10-yarder on the opening possession of the third quarter that gave Nebraska a 28-13 lead.

"They are dangerous on the ground and in the air," Iowa defensive back Mikkel Brown said. "They don't go for big plays. It's all just misdirection. That's Nebraska for you."

Davison caught Crouch's other two scoring passes. Crouch's 43-yard pass to Davison on the final play of the second quarter gave Nebraska a 21-13 halftime lead and sent a deflated Hawkeye team into the locker room.

The Huskers got the ball at their own 20 with 1:44 left in the first half with only a 14-13 lead after two Nate Kaeding field goals for Iowa. Nebraska looked like it was running out the clock when Crouch broke a 25-yard run that set up the Huskers at the Iowa 41 with less than a minute left. After an incompletion and a sack, Crouch hit Davison at the 5-yard line and Davison backed into the end zone.

"It was a huge play. Otherwise, we would have gone in 14-13 and that wouldn't have been good," Davison said. "That gave us some momentum."

Iowa shocked Nebraska by taking a 7-0 lead on a 29-yard pass from Mullen to Kevin Kasper, who jumped between two defensive backs for the catch.

Nebraska tied it on its next possession when Crouch's hit Davison with a 31-yard pass, capping a 10-play, 86-yard drive. Crouch added a 12-yard touchdown pass to Wistrom in the second quarter.

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 Matt Davison hauls in the 31-yard TD pass from Eric Crouch.
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 Eric Crouch looks again to Tracey Wistrom on the 10-yard TD pass.
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 Iowa's Kevin Kasper out-jumps a pair of Cornhuskers to haul in a 29-yard TD pass.
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 Eric Crouch finds Tracey Wistrom in the end zone for six.
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