The distance: 60 yards
The star: Eric Crouch
The date: Sept. 11, 1999
The outcome: Huskers 45, California 0
Memorial Stadium was boasting $36.1 million of renovations — new luxury sky boxes, a new press box and new turf. A record crowd of 77,617 was on hand for the Huskers’ home opener against California.
Veteran ABC announcer Keith Jackson, who’d just come out of a brief retirement, was back in the broadcast booth. Jackson had already planned on being in Lincoln for dedication of the Don Bryant Media facility, named for the former Nebraska sports information director, one of Jackson’s longtime friends.
(Bryant, by the way, was instrumental in having the bathroom inside the broadcast booth named “The Keith Jackson Toilet Facility.”)
All of this helped set the scene for a memorable day for a future Heisman Trophy winner.
Sophomore Eric Crouch became the first Husker since Johnny Rodgers — another Heisman winner — to have running, passing and receiving touchdowns in the same game.
Crouch accomplished the feat in 11 minutes, 37 seconds, of game time.
"Any time I go in,” Crouch said. “I feel it's a chance to let the team shine and make a big play."
Crouch had already scored on a 1-yard run and thrown a 70-yard TD pass to Tracey Wistrom when he caught a jailbreak screen pass from Bobby Newcombe — with whom Crouch was battling for the starting quarterback job.
Crouch dashed 60 yards to put the Huskers up 28-0 in the second quarter.
“My goal is to go in and put points on the board,” said Crouch, who scored four touchdowns that day, later adding a 4-yard run. “I was open for the pass from Bobby because they were keying on our option so hard.”
Nebraska was held to 114 rushing yards — its third-lowest total of the decade.