January 1, 2007

NU Notes: A Game of field position

DALLAS - Statistically, Auburn was dominated by Nebraska in the first half of Monday's 71st AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, but the Tigers still found themselves tied with the Huskers 14-14 at halftime, thanks to a pair of short scoring drives set up by NU miscues.

Heading into the lockerroom at halftime, Nebraska held significant advantages over Auburn in first downs (12-3), total yardage (157-46) and time of possession (19:03-10:57).

Auburn's first touchdown was set up when linebacker Karibi Dede intercepted a deflected Zac Taylor pass late in the first quarter and returned it 52 yards to the Husker 9 yard line. Two plays later, Tiger QB Brandon Cox teamed up with Carl Stewart on a 9-yard, play-action scoring toss.

A botched fake punt attempt by Nebraska set up Auburn's second TD. A fumbled exchange between fullback Dane Todd, who took a direct snap on fourth and 1 from the NU 29, and Major Culbert gave the Tigers possession of the football at the Husker 14. Stewart scored four plays later for Auburn on a 2-yard dive.

Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan took responsibility for the fake punt call.

"It was my call. It didn't work obviously," Callahan said. "It was still early enough in the ballgame that if it didn't work and it faltered, we're still in a good position to come back. We fumbled the exchange and of course lost some critical yardage. That hurt us and we got behind the 8-ball on the short field."

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