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DallasNews.com: Contact us DallasNews.com: Food
Buffs shock Huskers, clinch North, 62-36

11/24/2001

By KEITH WHITMIRE / The Dallas Morning News

BOULDER, Colo. – Guess who's coming to dinner, Dallas?

Here's a hint: Don't bother preparing that corn dish.

With an off-the-charts performance against No. 2 Nebraska, the Colorado Buffaloes barged their way to the Big 12 dinner table Friday with an astounding 62-36 upset to capture the North Division title.

Nebraska's loss is Sooners' gain

Box score

College scoreboard

The Buffaloes manhandled the No. 6 defense in the country in scoring a record 62 points against Nebraska. Buffs running back Chris Brown scored a school-record six touchdowns, another feat that had never been accomplished against the Huskers.

"It's almost too overwhelming a win," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. "If it had been a last-minute one-point win, I think it would sink in. But 62-36? That's going to take awhile."

No. 14 Colorado (9-2, 7-1) will represent the North in the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship next Saturday at Texas Stadium.

The South Division champion will be finalized Saturday. Oklahoma will qualify with a win over Oklahoma State. An Oklahoma loss sends Texas to the championship game.

Nebraska (11-1, 7-1) came into the game ranked No. 1 in the BCS ratings that determine who plays for the national championship, but now the Huskers, in all likelihood, are out of the Rose Bowl picture.

"I feel badly for the players and for everyone associated with the program to have our season end this way," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said. "We'll just try to move on and get ready for the bowl game."

That the Huskers lost to Colorado wasn't unthinkable, considering the last five meetings – all Nebraska wins – had been decided by a total of 15 points. But for the Huskers to lose by 26 points, and allow 62, borders on the surreal. And it came in front of a charged-up crowd of 53,790, the third-largest in Folsom Field history.

It was the most points scored against Nebraska, eclipsing the 61 points by Minnesota in 1945.

Colorado toppled Nebraska for the first time since 1990 by going right at the heart of the Huskers' defense. Time after time, the Buffs opened huge gaps in the middle of the Nebraska defense for big gains.

Using a bread-and-butter running play called "98-G," the Buffs rushed for 391 yards, 223 of them in the first half.

Brown finished with 198 yards on 24 carries and teammate Bobby Purify had 154 yards on 20 carries. Having almost two weeks to prepare for Nebraska obviously helped.

"It was easy," said Brown. "When you have guys up front like we do who make dominating blocks and open those gaping holes, it makes it very easy for us tailbacks. All I had to do was run through and get to the end zone."

That exploitation led to a 28-3 Colorado lead just 13 minutes and 10 seconds into the game. The Buffs' lead swelled to 35-3 with 12:21 left until halftime.

By the time Nebraska started climbing back, the halftime score of 42-23 was the most points allowed in a half by the Huskers.

Nebraska's first drive of the second half took nearly five minutes, but ended at the Colorado goal line. On third-and-goal, Huskers back Dahrran Diedrick tried to leap over the pile, but cornerback Donald Strickland dislodged the ball and the Buffs recovered.

Nebraska eventually got the ball back and scored to make it 42-20 with 4:17 left in the third quarter. However, Colorado produced a nine-play, 93-yard touchdown drive, helped by two critical defensive penalties, to increase its lead with 12:50 remaining in the game.

Huskers quarterback Eric Crouch, a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, rushed for 162 yards and passed for 198.

But Nebraska couldn't stop Colorado and Brown, who scored three of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"This was a terrible feeling because we had played so well for 11 games," Nebraska defensive tackle Jeremy Slechta said. "We had given up so few points all year and to give up 62, is just disappointing."









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