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Huskers' Frazier is thinking Heisman

(c) 1995 Copyright Nando.net
(c) 1995 Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nov 21, 1995 - 20:01 EST) -- Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier is the best player on the nation's No. 1 team, but he simply won't talk about the Heisman Trophy -- even though he is thinking about it.

"I'm keeping that stuff to myself," Frazier said Tuesday. "Maybe after the Oklahoma game I can come out more openly about it, but I don't want to jinx myself and go out there and have a bad game."

Nebraska (10-0, 6-0 Big Eight) plays host to the Sooners (5-4-1, 2-4) in the regular-season finale Friday. The game will give Heisman voters a chance to see Frazier and compare him with the race's other top contender, Ohio State tailback Eddie George.

The two seniors wrap up their regular seasons this weekend, with the No. 2 Buckeyes playing Saturday at No. 18 Michigan. Frazier, who said he has seen only highlights of George this season, doesn't plan anything special Friday.

"I'm going to approach the game like I always do," Frazier said. "If my best is good enough to help me win it, then it's an advantage (to be on television). If not, it's my fault that I didn't go out and play well."

Frazier has been exceptional this season. His completion rate, never above 47 percent his first three seasons, is 58 percent this year. Nicknamed "Touchdown Tommie" by a local broadcaster, Frazier has scored 30 of Nebraska's 73 touchdowns, 16 by passing, and holds school records for total offense (5,313 yards) and TDs (78).

Of Nebraska's 5,712 yards this season, Frazier has accounted for 31 percent (569 rushing, 1,234 passing).

The best number of all, to Frazier, is his 31-3 record as a starter. Two of the losses came in the Orange Bowl to Florida State; the other was his only regular-season loss, to Iowa State during his freshman year in 1992.

Nebraska has won all 35 regular-season games since and now has the nation's longest winning streak at 23 -- the last 11 with Frazier starting. He missed eight games last year with blood clots in his leg.

Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, who has quietly gone to bat for Frazier, was asked Tuesday whether Frazier deserved the Heisman.

"If you look at what somebody has done over four years, I think Tommie Frazier is somebody who has accomplished a great amount," said Osborne, with characteristic understatement. "If we can somehow make it into a national championship game this year, that would be three years in a row. Very few people have done that."

Osborne called Frazier a "key ingredient" in Nebraska's success.

"He ranks right at the top of the quarterbacks we've had here in terms of doing the right things at the right time the highest percentage of the time," Osborne said. "That means checking off, it means making a split-second decision, it means option ability, taking a hit, making a big play throwing the ball. He's been a great player."

The Sooners know it. Defensive end Cedric Jones, who has a team-high 11 sacks, said he is concerned first with Frazier as a runner.

"It's his decision-making ability that makes him tough," Jones said. "He's been running well, and they've been setting up the pass off his run."

Frazier, who came to Nebraska from Bradenton, Fla., has bounced back from a sore heel and arch that flared after the Colorado game Oct. 28. Osborne and Frazier both said he will be at full speed against Oklahoma.