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Buffaloes set their sights on Nebraska

(c) 1995 Copyright The News and Observer Publishing Co.
(c) 1995 Associated Press

AMES, Iowa (Oct 22, 1995 - 16:18 EDT) -- The road has been a bit rocky the last couple of weeks, but Colorado finally has arrived at THE game on its schedule.

Next up is No. 2 Nebraska, Saturday in Boulder.

It's not quite the marquee matchup it might have been because of Colorado's 40-24 loss to Kansas two weeks ago. And the Buffaloes didn't have an easy time Saturday, trailing Iowa State 28-27 in the fourth quarter before storming back for a 50-28 victory.

But it's still a big game for the Buffaloes, who went from ninth to seventh Sunday in The Associated Press poll, and here's why: In 1992-94, Colorado lost just three Big Eight games. All three were to Nebraska.

"Folks from Colorado, as much as they want to say well, let's not look ahead, let's not look ahead, but just for this moment... That's been going on all year," Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Fortunately, now we can say yeah, let's talk about it."

That talk immediately turns to Nebraska's powerful running game.

Colorado (6-1 overall, 2-1 Big Eight) had trouble with Iowa State's Troy Davis, who carried 33 times for 203 yards to remain the nation's leading rusher and scored three touchdowns. Nebraska leads the nation in rushing as a team.

"There's concern regardless of how well Iowa State ran," Neuheisel said. "Nebraska runs for about 450 yards a game. Their total offense is over 600. So our defense definitely will be put to task.

"But you know what? Kids find a way to rise up and I'm excited about our chances."

Iowa State (2-5, 0-3) has reason to be excited about its next game, too. After facing three straight ranked opponents -- Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado -- the Cyclones will be at home against Oklahoma State (2-5, 1-2), a team closer to their own level.

"We are not making excuses. We are looking for ways to win," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "I do not want to fade into the sunset in the last four games. I want the respect that this football program badly needs."

The Cyclones earned plenty of respect with a second-half comeback Saturday. Down 27-10 at halftime, they rallied with a safety, Jamie Kohl's 47-yard field goal and touchdown runs of 27 and 45 yards by Davis to take a 28-27 lead with 14:12 left.

But Colorado regrouped and marched 66 yards in seven plays to regain the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Lendon Henry, a third-string back who ran for a career high 118 yards and three scores.

Linebacker Matt Russell returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown less than a minute later and the Buffaloes padded the lead with Neil Voskeritchian's 27-yard field goal and Marlon Barnes' 8-yard touchdown run.

"You look at the score and it's not indicative of how close that game was," Iowa State linebacker Tim Sanders said. "It makes me sick to lose like that."

The game deserved a better ending than what transpired. Iowa State fans booed and shouted "Overrated" when Colorado failed on a 2-point conversion pass after its final touchdown. The attempt came from the 18-yard line because Colorado had been penalized for a personal foul.

As the booing mounted, some Colorado players gestured to the crowd to yell louder. Others pointed at the scoreboard.

Neuheisel said he was just looking for a way to boost quarterback John Hessler, who completed only 11 of 23 passes and was intercepted twice.

"I thought it would be a good thing to try to finish the game with a completed pass," Neuheisel said. "That's why I did it. If I was wrong, I was wrong. But it wasn't trying to run up the score, it wasn't trying to affect the polls, it wasn't trying to show up Iowa State."