Oklahoma St. hands Nebraska worst home loss since '58

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- With Tom Osborne and members of his undefeated 1997 Nebraska team watching, Bill Callahan's current Cornhuskers took an historic beating.

Oklahoma State pounded Nebraska 45-14 Saturday, the largest rout
of the Huskers at home in 49 years.

With a 45-14 defeat to Oklahoma State, Nebraska suffered its worst home loss since 1960. The Huskers have lost just four home games by more than 15 points during that span and two of them have come this season.

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It was the first time since 1960 the Cowboys won at Memorial Stadium, and it came a week after Nebraska lost 41-6 at Missouri.

Callahan said he was disappointed for his players and the fans.

"They're just gutted," he said.

Missouri's 31-0 victory in 1958 was the previous most-lopsided home loss for Nebraska.

Callahan, who signed a five-year contract last month, said he wasn't concerned about his job security. Just last season, Nebraska play in the Big 12 title game.

But the Huskers (4-3, 1-2 Big 12) have played uninspired football all season while becoming the first team in the program's 118-year history to surrender 40 points four times in the same season.

"I'm just going to do the best I can," said Callahan, 26-18 in four seasons. "Whatever happens happens. I don't think you can coach in fear or coach like you're scared of something. I've never coached like that in my life. I've been in this business for 30 years. I sure as hell ain't going to start right now."

The Cowboys (4-3, 2-1), who had lost 20 straight games in Lincoln, scored on their first six possessions while getting out to a 38-0 halftime lead. That marked a stretch of six quarters where Nebraska was outscored 79-6.

Dantrell Savage rushed for a career-high 212 yards and a touchdown, Julius Crosslin scored twice, and Zac Robinson ran and passed for touchdowns for the Cowboys. Their defense forced four punts and two turnovers in the first half and held Nebraska on fourth down at the OSU 10.

"We played perfect football in the first half," OSU linebacker Rodrick Johnson said. "We did exactly what the coaches asked us to do, and in the second half we tried to continue."

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy knows all about the Cowboys' long stretch of futility in Lincoln, having quarterbacked them from 1986-89 in the days of the old Big Eight.

"It means a lot," Gundy said. "I'm excited for the players because they're the ones who put in the effort and hard work. We had a shot up here in 1988 and we didn't play well. We had another shot up here and we turned the ball over five times."

The Cowboys averaged 8.5 yards a play in the first half, then scaled back their offense after the game was safely in hand. They finished with 551 yards, their largest output in 42 all-time games against Nebraska.

Sam Keller passed for Nebraska's touchdowns, a 13-yarder to J.B. Phillips and a 1-yarder to Thomas Lawson. Nebraska freshman Quentin Castille rushed for 102 yards. Keller was 10 of 18 for 129 yards, with two interceptions.

Robinson completed 12 of 19 passes for 234 yards, with Adarius Bowman catching six for 100.

Osborne, who coached Nebraska to three national titles, tried to rally the Huskers in a speech to the team Friday. He trotted onto the field with his '97 team before the game, and after a video tribute, the '97 Huskers waited on the sideline to greet the '07 players as they ran out of the tunnel.

Any inspiration faded quickly. Oklahoma State was up 17-0 before Nebraska picked up a first down.

"I really thought coming into this contest we were going to play more competitively, but that wasn't he case," Callahan said.

Crosslin finished the Cowboys' first series with a 1-yard run, Jason Ricks kicked a 21-yard field goal and Seth Newton caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Robinson with 4:06 left in the first quarter.

"Really, our coaches did such a good job this week preparing us for every situation we could be in," Robinson said. "They just told us it was not any different than practice. We went out and they did a good job of putting us in those situations."

Fans in the NCAA-record 287th consecutive sellout crowd began filing out of the stadium in the middle of the second quarter, after OSU went up 31-0. The trickle of fans heading to the exits became a stream after Keller was intercepted on Nebraska's next series.

Nebraska, held without a touchdown for seven quarters, broke through on the first play of the fourth when Keller found tight end J.B. Phillips on a crossing pattern in the end zone.

By then, there was no reason to get excited about Nebraska.

"To see that many points, especially here and in this type of environment...," Robinson said. "We weren't really worried about what the score was, but it was definitely big to jump on them early."