LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Eric Crouch knows everything he has accomplished as Nebraska's quarterback will mean less without a win over Oklahoma on Saturday.
The winner will once again be in command of the race for the national title, which is about all Crouch has left to accomplish.
"It's been a goal that I'm faced with thinking about daily," Crouch said. "I know that you say it's missing on my resume. It'd be great to finish out my career with a Big 12 championship and a national championship."
The fact that he floundered a bit against the Sooners a year ago gives this game even more meaning for Crouch, an Omaha native who grew up watching the rivalry through the 1980s and early '90s.
How top 25 fared
No. 1 Miami (6-0) beat West Virginia 45-3. Next: vs. Temple, Nov. 3.
No. 2 Oklahoma (7-0) did not play. Next: at No. 3 Nebraska, Saturday.
No. 3 Nebraska (8-0) did not play. Next: vs. No. 2 Oklahoma, Saturday.
No. 4 UCLA (6-0) did not play. Next: at No. 20 Stanford, Saturday.
No. 5 Virginia Tech (6-0) did not play. Next: vs. Syracuse, Saturday.
No. 6 Florida (5-1) did not play. Next: vs. No. 15 Georgia, Saturday.
No. 7 Texas (6-1) did not play. Next: at Missouri, Saturday.
No. 8 Michigan (5-1) did not play. Next: at Iowa, Saturday.
No. 9 Tennessee (4-1) did not play. Next: vs. No. 12 South Carolina, Saturday.
No. 10 Maryland (7-0) did not play. Next: at No. 19 Florida State, Saturday.
No. 11 Oregon (6-1) did not play. Next: at No. 14 Washington State, Saturday.
No. 12 South Carolina (6-1) did not play. Next: at No. 9 Tennessee, Saturday.
No. 13 Washington (5-1) did not play. Next: at Arizona State, Saturday.
No. 14 Washington State (7-0) did not play. Next: vs. No. 11 Oregon, Saturday.
No. 15 Georgia (5-1) did not play. Next: vs. No. 6 Florida, Saturday.
No. 16 Brigham Young (7-0) did not play. Next: at San Diego State, Saturday.
No. 17 Auburn (6-1) did not play. Next: at Arkansas, Saturday.
No. 18 Fresno State (6-1) did not play. Next: at Hawaii, Friday
No. 19 Florida State (4-2) did not play. Next: vs. No. 10 Maryland, Saturday.
No. 20 Stanford (4-1) did not play. Next: at No. 13 Washington, Saturday.
No. 21 Georgia Tech (5-2) did not play. Next: vs. No. 23 North Carolina, Nov. 1.
No. 22 Illinois (6-1) did not play. Next: at Purdue, Nov. 3.
No. 23 North Carolina (5-3) did not play. Next: No. 21 Georgia Tech, Nov. 1.
No. 24 Purdue (4-1) did not play. Next: vs. Northwestern, Saturday.
No. 25 Colorado (5-2) did not play. Next: at Oklahoma State, Saturday.
The Sooners' 31-14 victory last year cost the Cornhuskers their No. 1 ranking and likely ended any Heisman Trophy hopes for Crouch.
"A lot of people have brought it to my attention more than I've thought about it. Once it's brought to my attention I try to blow it off," Crouch said. "It's just part of my personality. I'm not going to get caught up in how people felt I played."
Crouch finished with 101 rushing yards on 23 carries, but was just 12-for-27 passing for 133 yards with a costly interception that Derrick Straight returned 32 yards for the Sooners' only points in the second half.
Although Crouch knows that Saturday's game between the No. 2 Sooners (7-0 overall, 3-0 Big 12) and third-ranked Huskers (8-0, 4-0) is a huge shot at redemption, he is focusing more on its national championship implications.
Oklahoma is on top of the Bowl Championship Series ratings, one spot ahead of the Huskers -- opposite what the standings were before last year's game.
"When you mention these two teams together, a lot of eyes get a little bit wider and a lot of heads turn. People kind of look up when they hear that," Crouch said. "It's something that's very exciting for this team and very exciting for this state, probably for this country."
Crouch is Nebraska's leader for rushing yards by a quarterback (3,096) and career total offense (7,053). His 14 rushing touchdowns are the most in NCAA Division I-A this season and he holds the national record for career rushing TDs by a quarterback with 55.
All this by a player who two years ago thought about quitting football when Bobby Newcombe was named the starter.
"I'm proud of myself for sticking through it and obviously accomplishing what I have, but I'm very aware that it just hasn't been Eric Crouch that has gotten me to where I am today," said Crouch, who took over for Newcombe two games into the 1999 season and has been the Husker offense's keystone since.
Oklahoma safety Roy Williams said the Sooners' defensive philosophy is simple: Stop Crouch.
"That's going to be a challenge for us because everyone knows he's a game-breaker," Williams said. "He's a talented player, he's going to make his plays. We know that we can't miss tackles on him and we can't overrun Crouch. He's a deadly weapon."
Crouch, who had surgery on his throwing shoulder in January for the second straight year, has improved his passing this season after dropping to a career-low 48.1 percent last year. He has completed 58 percent -- 65-of-112 -- of his passes for 986 passing yards.
His passing totals don't get him noticed for the Heisman, but his rushing stats do. On a team that leads the nation in rushing, he has run for 777 yards on 136 attempts -- averaging nearly 100 yards per game.
Nebraska coach Frank Solich, who isn't exactly known for being chatty, can't stop talking Crouch. Great speed, movement, passing ability, leadership and decision making are among the praise Solich heaps on his star quarterback.
"I may be going on and on a little bit long on this one," Solich said, "but when you have a guy in your program that's done what he's done for us, I think you want to make sure people understand how you feel about him."
Solich said he believes Crouch has already established a legacy as one of the Nebraska greats, even if he doesn't win a national title.
But a win over Oklahoma, the defending national champion with a national-best 20-game winning streak, would bump Crouch even higher on the popularity chart.
"Nationally, generally that's how it works. You need to win big ones," Solich said. "Eric without question has done his part throughout his career here. We feel he is as good as it gets."
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