42 yards: Strutting past the Gators

2012-07-04T23:45:00Z 2013-05-07T17:14:06Z 42 yards: Strutting past the GatorsBy BRIAN ROSENTHAL / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

The distance: 42 yards

The star: Lawrence Phillips

The date: Jan. 2, 1996

The outcome: Huskers 62, Florida 24

This game had so many impressive and memorable Huskers touchdowns, they should be divided into two groups: those that occurred before Steve Spurrier was burying his face in his hand and those after.

Two of Lawrence Phillips’ three touchdowns in Nebraska’s rout of Florida would be in the former group.

The game was still in doubt — Florida, in fact, led 10-6 — when the Huskers’ ultratalented (and equally troubled) junior I-back put Nebraska ahead to stay.

Phillips took a handoff from Tommie Frazier and burst through a huge hole on the right side of the line. He juked one Florida defender, then escaped another and ran past a group of Gators as he strutted into the end zone.

The 42-yard touchdown began a scoring avalanche. Nebraska scored a bowl-record 29 points in the second quarter en route to a 35-10 lead.

Phillips had runs of 7 and 9 yards earlier in the touchdown drive, which covered 71 yards. He’d already scored in the first quarter when he took a swing pass from Frazier and ran 16 yards for a touchdown.

Phillips scored again in the fourth quarter and finished with 25 carries for 165 yards, and became the first Nebraska I-back to top 100 rushing yards in a bowl game since Doug DuBose in the 1985 Sugar Bowl.

“Their defense played well, but I think we wore them down,” Phillips said. “They were doing well until the third quarter. But I think they were tired of getting blocked and cut, and a lot of holes started opening up.”

The game, of course, was Phillips’ last in a Husker uniform.

“He’s the best running back in college football by far,” teammate Jason Peter said. “Everyone knows the way things went tonight, he won’t be around next year. NFL teams would be stupid not take him in the first five picks.”

Phillips was picked No. 6, by St. Louis. He was released less than two years later.

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 402-473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBR.

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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