|Charles' 290 yards against Nebraska wash away frustration|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 28 October 2007 12:30|
A season of fumbles and frustration washed away in a 15-minute span in which Charles rushed for 216 yards and three scores to carry the No. 14 Longhorns to a 28-25 win over Nebraska.
``It was my time,'' Charles said. ``It was my time to show everybody what I can do.''
Charles ran for 290 yards, the most ever against the Cornhuskers and the fourth-highest total in Texas history. His 216 yards in the fourth quarter were 6 shy of the NCAA record for one period set by Washington's Corey Dillon in 1996.
Charles has endured his share of criticism for costly fumbles and a disappointing season in which the Texas rushing attack has been the Longhorns' notable weak spot.
The Longhorns (7-2, 3-2 Big 12) trailed 17-9 when they finally started exploiting the Nebraska defense, one of the worst in the country against the run. After rushing for 74 yards on 20 carries in the first three quarters, Charles ripped off TD runs of 25, 86 and 40 yards to turn the game around. He averaged 21.6 yards on 10 carries in the fourth.
After his 40-yard scoring run up the middle, Charles went to the sideline and embraced running backs coach Ken Rucker and cried on his shoulder.
It's been an emotional season for both. The day Texas reported for training camp, the Longhorns announced that Rucker had prostate cancer and needed surgery.
``I was breaking down,'' Charles said. ``Coach Rucker came by my side and he told me he was happy for me that I got over all that adversity and that I just needed to go out there and play like that.''
Charles' total pushed him to 1,012 yards on the season. Last year, Texas failed to produce a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time in 12 years.
``It just shows that he has a heart of gold. He's been through a couple of tough situations,'' Texas wide receiver Quan Cosby said.
Charles began this season with great expectations of being the next star Texas tailback. A top sprinter in track, he already had the speed to outrun opponents and he spent his offseason bulking up to help him run stronger up the middle.
It took a long time to pay off. Charles hadn't run for 100 yards since the third game of the season. Several fumbles, including one near the goal line in a 28-21 loss to Oklahoma, and a tendency to run sideways instead of getting upfield led Texas coaches to start giving more carries to backup Vondrell McGee.
``The coaches feel like I need to run the ball more and tougher and harder, so I can hit the holes more like Vondrell,'' Charles said.
All of those troubles seemed to disappear in the fourth quarter against the Cornhuskers.
Charles' touchdown runs up the middle showed how he can slip through tackles. On his 86-yard TD, he got to the corner and darted up the sideline, leaving several Nebraska defenders with no chance to catch him.
``It's a game I needed Jamaal to have,'' coach Mack Brown said. ``I think what we can say is Jamaal's had a great year, done a great job, and what a great back instead of talking about all the negatives that he's done. What a great performance.''