November 24, 2006

Callahan pulls out his bag of tricks on Friday

Trick plays, gadget plays, exotic plays. Call them what you want, Nebraska used a bottomless bag of them Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

A record crowd of 85,800 saw the Huskers utilize everything from halfback passes to a fake field goal attempt and a direct-snap sweep to scratch out a 37-14 victory over visiting Colorado.

The "special plays" as labeled by Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor, kept the Colorado defense off balance all afternoon and allowed the Huskers to pull away from the pesky Buffaloes in the regular season finale for both teams.

"Those are plays that we always executed. They're in our repertoire," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "It just so happens the situation was just right for those particular calls."

Nebraska's "repertoire" Friday included a well-conceived, well-executed fake field attempt late in the second quarter with the score tied 7-7. The call came on fourth-and-7 at the CU 29 yard line. The play began with the Huskers lined up in an unbalanced "swinging gate" formation. As the Huskers shifted into a more traditional alignment, wide receiver Todd Peterson went into motion and gave the hand-waving appearance of being confused and out of position. Lost in the confusing movement taking place on the line of scrimmage, Colorado defenders failed to notice that backup quarterback Joe Ganz was lined up as the place kicker. The ball was quickly snapped directly to Ganz who rolled to his right and found defensive end Barry Turner open in the end zone. Turner outmaneuvered the Buff defender to haul in the first touchdown catch of his collegiate career.

"It was a little nerve racking when I took the field," Ganz said. "We've been trying to call that play since Oklahoma State, but we haven't had the opportunity to yet."

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