No. 3 Nebraska 24, No. 2 Colorado 7

(c) Copyright the News & Observer Publishing Co. and The Associated Press, 1994

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- The poll voters will decide, but Nebraska played Saturday like the nation's No. 1 team, defeating Colorado 24-7.

Quarterback Brook Berringer, thrust into the spotlight after starter Tommie Frazier was sidelined for the season, directed the offense with precision and the Cornhuskers' defense shut down Colorado's high-powered attack for the victory in their crucial Big Eight showdown.

The win over the second-ranked Buffaloes (7-1, 3-1) gave the No. 3 Cornhuskers (9-0, 4-0) the inside track to the Big Eight championship and Orange Bowl berth, and could vault them over No. 1 Penn State when the polls are released Sunday.

"I don't want to get into that controversy," Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said about the rankings. "We'll let the pundits figure that out."

The Nittany Lions played No. 21 Ohio State later in the day.

Colorado coach Bill McCartney summed up the day. "They dominated the game from the onset in all phases of the game," he said.

Nebraska built a 24-0 lead on Berringer's 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Alford with 10:42 left in the third quarter.

"We threw the ball a little more with Brook," Osborne said about Berringer. "He did a great job."

Colorado, shut out in the first half for the first time since 1992, finally scored on Rashaan Salaam's 6-yard run with 1:06 remaining in the third period. But the Buffaloes, who were averaging 40 points per game, continued to struggle against a swarming defense that had given up only 16 points in its previous three games.

Colorado was 0-for-10 on third down tries and 0-for-5 on fourth down.

"We were real pleased with the effort of our players," Osborne said. "They showed a lot of character today and played well. We played a complete game."

Nebraska won its 22nd straight game at Memorial Stadium, which was sold out for a record 200th consecutive time, going back to 1962. The win also snapped the Cornhuskers' 12-game losing streak against top 5 teams since 1987.

Colorado had beaten five ranked teams this season, including the Hail Mary miracle against Michigan. But the Buffaloes ran out of magic in Lincoln, where they suffered a 52-7 humiliation in their last visit in 1992.

Berringer, at full strength for the first time since suffering a partially collapsed lung against Wyoming on Oct. 1, quieted critics who claimed he couldn't lead the Cornhuskers over a top team like Colorado.

The junior completed 12 of 17 passes for 142 yards and did a good job directing Nebraska's option attack, which had lost its punch after Frazier was lost for the season with a blood clot in his leg after the Huskers' fourth game.

But the star of the day was Nebraska's defense, which limited Colorado to 314 yards in total offense, 189 under its second-ranked national average. Salaam, the nation's leading rusher with a 179-yard average, gained 134 on 22 carries but his only long run was a 41-yarder in the third quarter.

Nebraska's Lawrence Phillips, third nationally in rushing with a 154-yard average, gained 86 yards on 25 carries.

Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart, the nation's fifth-leading passer, was particularly thrown off by the Nebraska defense. He was 12-of-28 for 150 yards and ran 14 times for 24 yards.

The loss stopped Colorado's 11-game winning streak and probably ended the Buffaloes' bid for the national championship.

Nebraska plays unranked teams in its last three games, which means the Cornhuskers have a good chance to go undefeated in the regular season for the second straight year.

Nebraska dominated the first half, outgaining Colorado 234-89 and holding the Buffaloes scoreless for the first time in their last 28 games.

The Cornuskers drove to the Colorado 31 on their opening possession, but the drive stalled after Berringer fumbled a high snap in the shotgun formation and fell on the ball for a 15-yard loss.

After stopping Colorado on four downs, Nebraska drove 51 yards in eight plays for its first touchdown. Fullback Cory Schlesinger, used primarily as a blocking back, burst through a big hole on the right side and raced 14 yards to the end zone.

Nebraska drove to the Colorado 1 in the second period but on third-and-goal, Berringer tried an option run and was stopped for a 5-yard loss by safety Donnell Leomiti. The Cornhuskers settled for a 24-yard field goal by Tom Sieler that put them ahead 10-0.

After Colorado's Neil Voskeritchian missed a 43-yard field goal, Nebraska went on another long scoring drive. Backup tailback Clinton Childs scored easily on a 2-yard run to make it 17-0 with 36 seconds left in the half.

Game Statistics


Colorado      	0  0  7  0-- 7
Nebraska      	7 10  7  0--24

Neb--Schlesinger 14 run (Sieler kick)
Neb--FG Sieler 24
Neb--Childs 2 run (Sieler kick)
Neb--Alford 30 pass from Berringer (Sieler kick)
Col--Salaam 6 run (Voskeritchian kick)
A--76,131.
Col Neb First downs 18 20 Rushes-yards 37-155 53-203 Passing 159 142 Return Yards 7 9 Comp-Att-Int 13-30-0 12-17-1 Punts 6-38 6-38 Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0 Penalties-Yards 4-30 6-41 Time of Possession 21:36 38:24
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Colorado, Salaam 22-134, Stewart 14-24, Troutman 1-(minus 3). Nebraska, Phillips 25-86, Schlesinger 8-65, Makovicka 3-32, Benninger 7-19, Childs 5-14, Benning 3-1, Muhammad 1-1, team 1-(minus 15).
PASSING--Colorado, Stewart 12-28-0-150, Detmer 1-2-0-9. Nebraska, Berringer 12-17-1-142.
RECEIVING--Colorado, Westbrook 6-80, Lepsis 2-18, Carruth 2-28, Salaam 2-24, Savoy 1-9. Nebraska, Alford 5-78, Gillman 4-46, Muhammad 2-14, Phillips 1-4.