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Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder Passes Away - Destroyed Husker Hopes in ‘96

Former Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder passed away on Monday after a ten month battle with cancer. Snyder forever secured a place in Nebraska football history in 1996, when the Huskers went on the road to Tempe, and lost 19-0 in the game some remember as the "Debacle in the Desert". 

Consider where Nebraska was at the time. The Huskers had won the '94 and '95 back to back National Titles. The Sun Devils ended several Nebraska streaks in that game. The following happened that Saturday:

  • Arizona State broke a 26-game Nebraska win streak (back to the 18-16 loss in the '93 Orange Bowl)
  • Nebraska had won 37 straight regular season games (back to the '92 Iowa State upset)
  • The Huskers had held the top spot in the rankings for 12 straight weeks
  • It was the first loss ever in Grant Wistrom's football career, including high school. 
  • The only time a Tom Osborne team had been shut out prior was in the '92 Orange Bowl, a loss to Miami, 22-0.

The year before, Arizona State had visited Lincoln and been the subject of a 77-28 humiliation, with Nebraska scoring 63 points in the first half. That wasn't the worst part. The worst part was near the end of the game, Matt Turman was sent on the field to apparently down the ball and instead threw a 39-yard touchdown pass.

I remember Bruce Snyder going ballistic after that pass. I also remember Osborne commenting that Turman was supposed to either down the ball or run it up the middle, but audibled to the pass when he saw the defensive formation.

Right before the Arizona State game in '96, a friend of mine commented that the '95 game could come back to haunt the Huskers. It sure did. Snyder made it so.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Snyder family and the ASU faithful. You lost a great one.