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Husker History Highlights - September 22

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Joe Walker, pictured here in a different game against Kansas State, scored five touchdowns in his Husker career, including his 71-yarder against the Wildcats. (LJS file photo)

What are the most memorable Husker touchdowns for every yard on the field, from 1 to 100? HuskerExtra revisits the Lincoln Journal-Star's 2016 series on the 100 greatest touchdowns in Nebraska football history.

 

Walker shows off his moves

The distance: 71 yards

The star: Joe Walker

The date: Oct. 4, 1997

The outcome: Huskers 56, Kansas State 26

The story: It was not the most important touchdown return in Joe Walker’s Husker career.

That would be his save-the-day punt return against Oklahoma State at Arrowhead Stadium in 1998.

But for pure entertainment value, Walker’s 71-yard interception runback against Kansas State the year before must be considered the best highlight of the five touchdowns he had at Nebraska.

The game was already decided late in the fourth quarter when K-State quarterback Michael Bishop misfired a pass right into the arms of Walker, playing at safety.

Bishop would get his revenge a year later. But on this day, the Huskers were simply in another league. And Walker was about to put on a show.

He cruised for about 20 yards, veering to his right slightly, then his left, then his right again after his first shake-and-bake move on a lumbering lineman at the 50.

He continued on a path toward the sideline, picking up blockers, before making another dramatic cut at the 20 that put Bishop on his hind end, grasping at air.

Walker received one more crushing block from a buddy, angling left now, ultimately scoring on the other side of the field from where he had left Bishop in the dust.

The game against Kansas State was supposed to be one of the toughest of that season for the Huskers. Instead, a final score of 56-26 and Nebraska's 30th straight win over K-State.

"They still don't know if they can beat us or not," Husker defensive tackle Jason Peter declared in the postgame room.

Four games into the 1997 season, Nebraska fans were already anticipating a trip to Miami for the national championship game.

“The rest of Nebraska’s season has essentially been reduced to a big mind game,” wrote one Lincoln Journal Star writer.

Ah, but nothing is certain on the road to a championship. Even the best teams sometimes need a little luck, evidenced a month later on a Husker trip to Missouri.

The ball has to bounce your way. And if you can kick it your way with Musberger screaming in the background, all the more fun.

 

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