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Huskers' Frazier returns to practice

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

LINCOLN, Neb. (Sep 14, 1995 - 03:24 EDT) -- At No. 2 Nebraska, there is actually a football game to play this weekend.

And the Cornhuskers finally got some good news Wednesday for their home opener: Quarterback Tommie Frazier returned to practice from a deep thigh bruise and should play against Arizona State (1-1).

Nebraska will be without its star running back. Lawrence Phillips, who had four touchdowns last week against Michigan State, was kicked off the team following his arrest for allegedly hitting his ex-girlfriend. He pleaded innocent to third-degree assault and two other misdemeanor charges.

Backup Damon Benning, however, will play if he recovers from a pulled hamstring. He was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor assault after allegedly assaulting his former girlfriend. Coach Tom Osborne said he believes Benning was defending himself and is innocent.

The Huskers will be facing the the nation's top rushing team.

"We are not a team that's going to attack one area or the other because of personnel," Nebraska offensive line coach Milt Tenopir said. "We run our offense regardless of who's in there. We feel we have to block whoever's there."

Nebraska has averaged 532.5 rushing yards per game, 108.5 yards more than Navy, the nation's second-best rushing team.

Arizona State finished seventh in the Pac-10 against the run last year, giving up 153.1 yards per game.

Sun Devils quarterback Jake Plummer has thrown for 455 yards in two games and 4,284 yards in his career. He had a career-high four touchdowns in last week's 45-20 victory against Texas-El Paso, but also threw three interceptions.

Among Plummer's favorite targets are Keith Poole, who averaged 21.6 yards on 31 receptions last year, and Isaiah Mustafa, who caught two TDs against UTEP.

Secondary coach George Darlington said Plummer is more dangerous than Michigan State's Tony Banks, who threw for 290 yards in a 50-10 loss last week.

"I think Banks has pretty good speed and is bigger, but I don't know if he's quite as quick at avoiding the rush and taking off with the ball," Darlington said.