Georgia Tech 45, Nebraska 21

Jan. 1, 1991

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Ross, who had been avoiding the debate of which team is No. 1, finally broke his silence Tuesday after the Yellow Jackets pasted a 45-21 licking on Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl.

'I think it's settled now,' Ross said after the second-ranked Yellow Jackets remained the only unbeaten team in Division I-A at 11-0- 1. 'What did Colorado beat Nebraska by, 15 points? We beat them by 24, so there you go.

'We're the only undefeated team in the country. I don't know what else we could do. I'm not going to wave a flag for it. We've done our job. We deserve it.'

The Yellow Jackets crushed the 13th-ranked Cornhuskers for 467 total yards, while holding Nebraska to 335. The Cornhuskers entered the game as the No. 2 rushing team in the country at 340 yards per game, but managed only 126 on Tuesday.

'Our first job today was to win the game, and then the next thing was to make an emphatic statement,' Georgia Tech safety Thomas Balkcom said. 'We felt we had to win convincingly because we haven't gotten any respect all season.'

Just how much respect will be learned Wednesday when the United Press International Board of Coaches votes for the national champion.

Georgia Tech's 45-point outburst was the most points ever allowed by Nebraska in a bowl game and equaled the most points scored on a Tom Osborne-coached team.

'Georgia Tech is undefeated and they certainly have every right to claim a national championship,' said Osborne, whose team lost its fourth straight bowl game.

Quarterback Shawn Jones was the key to Georgia Tech's victory, passing for two touchdowns and running for another in winning the game's MVP award. He finished the day with 16 completions in 23 passes for 277 yards.

'You can always count on Shawn to rise to the occasion for big ballgames,' Ross said. 'I can't say enough about his performance.'

William Bell also had a big performance, catching one touchdown pass and running for two fourth-quarter scores.

'I just kept my legs moving,' said Bell, who added 127 yards rushing. 'It goes back to execution.'

The Yellow Jackets scored on their first possession, taking the opening kickoff and driving 70 yards to Stefen Scotton's 2-yard TD run. Jones scrambled for 46 yards to the Nebraska 14, then got Georgia Tech another first down on a quarterback draw to the 8.

On the final play of the first quarter, Jones lofted a 45-yard completion to Bobby Rodriguez to the Nebraska 19, but the Yellow Jackets came away without a score. Mike Petko sacked Jones at the Nebraska 20 and Scott Sisson missed a 37-yard field goal.

However, the Cornhuskers gave the ball back to Georgia Tech on the next play when Scott Baldwin fumbled at the Nebraska 22. Jones hit Emmett Merchant on a 22-yard scoring pass two plays later.

Jones triggered another Georgia Tech scoring drive midway in the second quarter by completing three passes for 47 yards, including a 2- yard toss to Bell for a touchdown.

Nebraska switched quarterbacks midway in the second period after starter Mike Grant led the team to one first down in four possessions. The Cornhuskers responded with two touchdowns in a span of 1:14.

Backup Tom Haase first drove the Cornhuskers 71 yards in four plays, throwing a 30-yard TD pass to tight end Johnny Mitchell with 6:21 remaining in the second period. Haase also had a 32-yard completion to Mitchell in the drive.

Following a Georgia Tech fumble, Derek Brown raced 50 yards for a Nebraska touchdown to bring Nebraska within 21-14.

But Nebraska committed another costly turnover late in the half when Nate Turner and Tyrone Hughes fumbled away a punt while tyring to wrestle control of the ball. That led to Sisson's 37-yard field goal and a 24-14 Georgia Tech halftime lead.

Georgia Tech stuffed the Cornhuskers on their first possession of the second half when Keith Holmes blocked a 34-yard Gregg Barrios field-goal attempt. On the ensuing possession, Jones threw key completions of 30 and 23 yards, then capped the 78-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run.

Haase brought the Cornhuskers back within 31-21 five minutes later with a 21-yard touchdown pass to William Washington. However, that was as close as the Cornhuskers would get.

The Yellow Jackets answered with a five-play, 64-yard drive capped by Bell's 6-yard touchdown run. Bell added another 57-yard TD dash late in the game to complete the rout.

The Cornhuskers played without five players suspended by Coach Tom Osborne for violating team rules, including leading rusher Leodis Flowers. Also missing the game was running back Lance Lewis, injured quarterback Mickey Joseph, reserve cornerback Eric Anderson and injured safety Steve Carmer.

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