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NEBRASKA 50, Michigan State 10

(c) 1995 Copyright The News and Observer Publishing Co.
(c) 1995 Associated Press
Nebraska          	10 10 16 14--50
Michigan State    	 7  0  3  0--10

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Sep 10, 1995 - 01:06 EDT) -- Just like last year, Lawrence Phillips and Brook Berringer came to Nebraska's rescue Saturday after starting quarterback Tommie Frazier was hurt.

The second-ranked Cornhuskers were leading Michigan State by only three points when Frazier left the game with a bruised thigh early in the second quarter. But Berringer came in to direct the offense and Phillips put on a sensational rushing display to lead the Cornhuskers to a 50-10 victory.

Phillips ran for 206 yards and four touchdowns, and Berringer provided a steady hand at quarterback as the defending national champions spoiled Nick Saban's debut as Michigan State coach.

"I'm a senior now, so I can't get nervous," Berringer said. "There was no problem going in. It's a tough situation going in cold, but I just kept my head in the game and knew what was going on."

Phillips, who rushed for 153 yards and three TDs in Nebraska's season-opening 64-21 victory over Oklahoma State, scored on three short runs and a 50-yard dash against Michigan State. The Cornhuskers outrushed the Spartans 552 yards to 45.

"The line was blocking well and there were a lot of holes to go through. I just had to run the ball," Phillips said.

Frazier, considered a top contender for the Heisman Trophy, watched the second half from the sideline after injuring his left thigh during a third-down run with about 13 minutes remaining in the first half.

Frazier, who missed most of last season with a blood clot in his right leg, said he thought he would be ready for next week's game against Arizona State. However, Nebraska coach Tom Osborne was more cautious.

"This could be a two-week or three-week thing, or it could be a two-day or three-day thing," Osborne said. "We'll have to wait to see about him."

Frazier, who had a slight limp after the game, said he didn't think it was a serious injury right after it happened and he didn't flash back to the bloot clot he had in his other leg last year. But the pain prevented him from returning.

"I thought I could walk it off and be ready in a play or two," Frazier said. "If they needed me, I could have come back in. But at the time it happened, I didn't want to go back."

Berringer, who was 7-0 as a starter last year when Frazier was out, didn't have great statistics Saturday. The senior completed six of 11 passes for 106 yards and ran four times for 20 yards, but his experienced leadership was crucial after Frazier was hit by defensive end Jabbar Threats and limped off the field with Nebraska ahead 10-7.

Berringer, who lost a close battle for the starting job in preseason practice, guided the Cornhuskers to a touchdown and a field goal on their first two possessions after Frazier was hurt. By the time Berringer was replaced by third-stringer Matt Turman in the fourth quarter, Nebraska was leading 43-10 and assured of its 27th straight regular-season victory.

It was a tough debut for Saban, who was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns last year.

"We played a good football team today, but I don't think we played as good as were are capable of playing," he said. "I was disappointed in the way we competed in the second half. ... To put it bluntly, I felt that our players quit."

Spartans quarterback Tony Banks defended the team's effort.

"I'm not the type that quits and I know a lot of guys on offense pretty well, and I don't think they quit," said Banks, who was 21-of-35 for 290 yards and one touchdown. "There were a lot of things we just couldn't do today."

Phillips sat out the fourth quarter, and gave two young Nebraska running backs a chance to shine. Freshman Ahman Green scored on a 57-yard run, and sophomore James Sims closed out the scoring with an 80-yard dash.

The first half was a sloppy affair that featured eight fumbles, five by Michigan State.

Nebraska took advantage of two Michigan State fumbles to take a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

After recovering a fumble by Derrick Mason on the opening kickoff, the Cornhuskers drove to the Spartans 5 before settling for Kris Brown's 22-yard field goal.

Nebraska's second drive started after Jared Tomich recovered a fumble by State's Marc Renaud at the Cornhuskers 32. On the next play, Phillips raced 37 yards and a face-mask penalty brought the ball to the Michigan State 16. Two plays later, Phillips ran 2 yards for a touchdown that made it 10-0.

Michigan State's first score also was set up by a fumble recovery. After recovering a muffed punt return by Mike Fullman, the Spartans went 44 yards in six plays and scored on a 16-yard pass from Banks to Muhsin Muhammad. Banks, operating from the Spartans' new shotgun formation, found Muhammad wide open in the end zone with 6:28 left in the first period.

Another turnover led to Nebraska's second touchdown. Starting at the Michigan State 41 following an interception by Mike Minter, the Cornhuskers moved to the 1 on consecutive long runs by Phillips, who then capped the drive with a touchdown dive to make it 17-7.

Brown added field goals from 47 and 20 yards for Nebraska.