Cornhuskers looking to avoid another fall against Jayhawks

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

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A year ago, Nebraska was high-stepping to a possible national championship when the Huskers almost tripped over Kansas.

Nebraska, ranked No. 1 after a huge victory over Colorado, has Kansas in its path again on Saturday, but this time the Jayhawks are also in the Huskers' sights.

Last year, a failed 2-point conversion attempt in the closing minutes allowed Nebraska to escape with a 21-20 victory at Lawrence, Kan.

"You don't walk away from a game like that and forget it too easily," Nebraska quarterback Brook Berringer said.

Nebraska (9-0, 4-0 Big Eight) is two games away from a perfect season after defeating previously unbeaten Colorado 24-7 last week.

"I think going into the season, I thought probably Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas would be the strongest teams we would play in the league," Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said. "Kansas State was surprisingly good. I think they are probably a better team than I thought they would be, but I still feel the same about Kansas."

ed the Huskers to overlook Kansas (5-3, 2-2) this time.

Kansas coach Glen Mason isn't expecting last year's one-point loss to have a bearing on this year's game.

"Every year's a new year," he said. "Two years ago we went up there and got killed (49-7)."

The Jayhawks (5-3, 2-2) has lost to Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas Christian, all by 10 points or less.

"I think they're in the league with the top teams in our conference," Osborne said. "I think it will be a very physical game. They play a little different style of football than Kansas State."

The Jayhawks are third in the Big Eight and eighth nationally in rushing at 261 yards a game. Osborne compares the Kansas offensive line with that of Colorado, and it blocks for two talented runners, June Henley and L.T. Levine.

Henley rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown as a freshman against Nebraska last year and helped quarterback Asheiki Preston play keepaway from Nebraska's powerful offense.

Preston was 13-of-19 for 118 yards, using mostly three-step drops and quick hitch patterns. The quick passes kept Preston free of the Nebraska pass rush all afternoon.

"I think last year we had confidence in ourselves and as a team because you look at the point spread everybody had against us," Preston said. "We were like 17-point underdogs."

It didn't seem to matter to Kansas on that day how much they were expected to be outmanned, Osborne said.

"It seemed like every time they were second-and-8 or second-and-9, he would pick up 8 or 9 on a short pattern, and quite often on third down (Preston) would convert it," Osborne said. "The thing that was difficult last year was we just couldn't get the ball away from them. They ran it well enough and threw it well enough that they held it long periods of time."