The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska on October 30, 1994 · 35
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The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska · 35

Lincoln, Nebraska
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 30, 1994
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UNCOLN JOURNAL-STAR Berringer performance gives reason to BY CURT MCKEEVER Lincoln Journal-Star I Nebraska quarterback Brook Berringer believed it all along. So did his teammates. " ' ! Now, Colorado and the rest of the Country should be convinced. "I think nationwide everybody's got a lot of confidence in me now," Ber-Tinger said after he led the Cornhusk-ers to a 24-7 win against the Buffaloes Saturday. "I've always felt if I was given the chance I could prove what I could do. ; Berringer, a 6-4 junior from Goodland, , Kan., got that opportunity when blood clots ended Tommie Fra-zier's - season after four games. : He then guided NU to a come- from-hphinH win against Wyo- Brook Berringer ming, a game in which he suffered a partially collapsed left lung at the end of the first half. He still was able to finish that contest and played the first half against Oklahoma State the next week before reinjuring the lung. Berringer then came off the bench to spark NU's win at Kansas State and directed a rout against Missouri last weekend. .. ; Still, critics maintained that without Frazier, the Cornhuskers wouldn't contend for a national championship. Their claim was that Nebraska hadn't beaten anyone it wasn't supposed to with Berringer at the controls, and that once the Cornhuskers faced a top team, Berringer would wilt under the pressure. Saturday, finally back to 100 percent, Berringer stuck it to those critics by playing well enough to let Nebraska do something it hadn't done since 1978 against then-No. 1 Oklahoma beat a team ranked No. 2 or higher. "Brook did today what he's been doing all season," said offensive tackle Rob Zatechka. "I don't think this was any achievement Brook's just good. He always has a lot of composure. "Everybody was down on him, just because he's not Tommie Frazier. He's been maligned a little bit I would love to have Tommie back, but that's not going to happen and Brook has proved himself." Nebraska quarterbacks coach Turner Gill agreed that, from an image standpoint, Saturday's nationally televised game was make or break for Berringer. "For his media perception," Gill Nebraska free safety Tony.Veland (9) third-and-1 0 play midway through the SCHEDULES Nebraska (9-0) Aug. 28 Nebraska 31, West Virginia 0 Sept I Nebraska 42, Texas Tech 1 6 Sept 17 Nebraska 49, UCLA 21 Sept. 24 Nebraska 70, Pacific 21 Oct 1 Nebraska 42, Wyoming 32 Oct I Nebraska 32, Oklahoma State 3 i Oct 15 Nebraska 17, Kansas State 6 Oct 22 Nebraska 42, Missouri 7 Oct 29 Nebraska 24, Colorado 7 . ', Saturday Kansas at Nebraska, 1 p.m. Nov. 12 Nebraska at Iowa State, 1 P Nov. 25 Nebraska at Oklahoma, 1:30 p.m. Colorado (7-1) - Sept 3 Colorado 48, Northeast Louisiana 13 Sept 17 Colorado 55, Wisconsin 17 - Sept 24 - Colorado 27, Michigan 26 ' Oct 1 Colorado 34, Texas 31 ' Oct 8 Colorado 38, Missouri 23 .' Oct 15 Colorado 45, Oklahoma 7 Oct 22 Colorado 35, Kansas State 21 ' Oct 29 Nebraska 24, Colorado 7 . Saturday Oklahoma State at Colorado, 2:10 p.m. ' "t Nov; 12 Colorado at Kansas, 1 p.m. Nov, 19 Colorado at Iowa State, 1:10 p.m, 1 believe said. "But as players and coaches, we've alwavs believed in him. I've never had any doubt that he could move our football team, under any circumstance." Colorado tailback Rashaan Salaam was impressed by Berringer's latest performance. ' , ; ' "He has all my respect," Salaam said. "He's a great college quarterback." J':-,, y Berringer improved his record as Nebraska's starter to 4-0. He directed three scoring drives in the first half, when he completed 9 of 12 passes for 100 yards, to help the Cornhuskers to a 17-0 lead. He then capped NU's opening drive of the second half by connecting with tight end Eric Alford on a 30-yard touchdown. : "I look at Brook, and I see (former Miami Heisman Trophy winner and current Cleveland quarterback) Vinny Testaverde," said NU tight end Mark Gilman, who caught four passes for 46 yards. "He looks like him. He stands in the pocket like him. He delivers the ball" ' Added Berringer: "I was confident The whole team was. We've been labeled as underdogs, and we don't take that lightly, especially at home." ' With Berringer back at full strength, Nebraska returned to an all-out offensive attack, something it had lacked the previous three games. ... "It felt good," Berringer said. "I felt like we had them on their heels a little better" Berringer's only major mistake came when Dalton Simmons intercepted a pass intended for Abdul Muhammad that gave Colorado the ball at the NU 36 with 2:38 left in the third quarter., The Buffaloes then drove for their only score. "I was real excited about my game until my interception," Berringer said. "It was just a deal where they had a disguised coverage and I made a pre-read and ?tuck with it" 1 But Berringer also saved the Cornhuskers from potential disaster twice. He recovered a ball snapped over his head by center Aaron Graham on NU's first possession of the game and also covered up a fumble by I-back Lawrence Phillips midway through fourth quarter J . . "If we take out a few mistakes," Berringer said,, "we're going to put a lot more points on the board." The national media won't care. They'll be writing about the leadership points Berringer scored with them. "I don't think the focus on him has gotten to him," Zatechka said. "He knows he has a jqb, and he has a real knack for performing. I look at him as a standard Midwestern Kansas kid. He has a real gbod work ethic." 1 'i ' n - i -- Sr-'OA ' . fin - Cy :N trips up Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart on a 2-yard gain on a fourth quarter. Stewart was sacked on the next play. A pair of masked Nebraska fans show their spirit during the celebration of the school's 200th consecutive football sellout. HUSKERS SUNDAY. OCTOBER 30, 1994 5D v ' SOLORAD' :V ; , ',s 4 7 VV.. , r- ," ." 'Q ' rW J lH NU's Cory Schlesinger (40) splits CD I" BY RYLY JANE HAMBLETON Lincoln Joumal-Star : ' ! - ' Aaron Graham wanted to redeem himself. " "I came in last year against Colorado, and it was my first start as a sophomore. I had the guy in front of me moving the way I wanted, and he'd stick his paw out and get Calvin Jones," said Graham, Nebraska's starting center. "I was frustrated because I was beating him, but he ended up beating me. He had about six straight tackles. ' "So I was fired up today. The guards and I were really fired up because we knew we would have a lot of double-team blocks, and we were hoping we could block him (Colorado nose tackle Kerry Hicks) and smack him around." Graham and his offensive line cohorts did just that Hicks was credited with six assisted tackles and no solos. The Cornhuskers posted 345 yards of total offense in beating the Buffaloes 24-7. ; : ; ' ' "I think they are a great offensive line," said CU tackle Darius Holland. "They came off the ball, and they TED KKMJNCOLN JOURNAL-STAR ... RANOY HAMPTOWJNCOLN JOURNAL-STAR Ctomhusker ofensTO hne paves wag .r-l R x f. 1".? J ) V ""' ' H i " 1 ' ' defenders Ted Johnson (46), Steve didn't position block us. They blew lis off the ball. They did at win wnaiever they wanted to. ' :::t l',t "I watched films (of the Kansas j State game), and I told my friends j that offensive line is going to takej over the game, and with Lawrence (Phillips) back there, they art going; to run over everybody they come to. ' And that's what they did." : 1 - V Graham said the Huskers changed ' a few blocking schemes to 'tause problems for Colorado. '" "We threw a couple of different blocking schemes in, and it worked ef-, fectively," he said. "Like the cut-back play on the draw we'd get the de-, fense flowing one way, and the backs i would cut up. "The past couple of games, you ' could predict what play was coming in because that's what we had to do.! Today was more exciting for us because we didn't know what play was going to be called." , That kept the Buffaloes off balance. , ' ', i 1 "In the first half, we did some things Colorado hadn't seen before,! and it helped our inside game," said 1 Tight end pass jays li to Nebraska offensive BY CURT MCKEEVER Lincoln Joumal-Star According to tight end Eric Alford, the Nebraska offense worked on nine new plays four of which keyed on( the tight ends during last week's preparation for Colorado "If we get them down, they're good," Alford said of the plays. "When ', we don't the coaches are like throw ' that out' ."' "We got rid of some." ' None of the discards involved the tight ends. "They were a little bit vulnerable to the quick tight end pass up the middle," said NU quarterback Brook Berringer, trying not to break a smile. Of the 12 passes Berringer . com- pleted Saturday, nine went to tight ends. Those receptions accounted for 124 of his 142 passing yards and the ; only touchdown through the air. j , r v "Their backers were getting suck-ered in pretty hard on the play-fake," ; Berringer said. "We'd seen j that against quite a few teams this year." . The Buffaloes' defensive tendencies that showed up on film caused a restless week for junior tight end Mark Gilman. .. . "You go to bed every night and ' start thinking you could have a big game," Gilman said. "It was. really kind of an antsy feeling." Gilman had Colorado tosssing and NEBRASKA NOTES, QUOTES Cornhusker cornerback Barron Miles described Saturday's victory as "the turning' point In our season." The key to Nebraska's defensive: success was the pressure applied to Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart,'' said Miles. "We had a lot of people in , his face. Kordell, he's stM a great quarterback. But our defensive line and our rush ends, they surrounded him.'!. , Miles said the Buffaloes seemed to be frustrated on offense. "It was like they figured they could , just turn it on at any time. You've got to keep a team off-balance, and we were ready for anything they threw at us," he said. "I would be frustrated, too; to have a powerful offense like they have and be limited to zero points in the first half." . f Those who predicted a Colorado -victory didn't concern Miles. "I like ' being the underdog," he said. ."I've been one aH my life." v u'i Nebraska; receivers coach Ron Brown said tight end Eric Alford's speed and quickness were significant factorS'in his catching five passes for." K Rosga (1 5) and Chris Hudson (47) running backs Coach Frank Solich. "We ran some plays inside we have not run this year, and there were a few other passing plays we though had a chance. ' '. "Colorado had been able to control up the middle in their other games. We thought if we came at them from some different angles, it might work, and it did in the first half." "Colorado has a great defensive line " said tackle Rob Zatechka. "But up front the five of us were able to' control the tempo. We kept getting first downs, and that did make it difficult for them to do much." That didnt mean the Huskers were flawless. NU's first drive was halted after Graham snapped the ball over quarterback Brook Berringer's head for a 15-yard loss. ; "Brook called shot gun in the hud ESPN considers televising Next Saturday's Kansas at Nebraska game is a possibility for television on ESPN, the network reported Saturday, night.. The game is cur-,, rently scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Stadium." Eric Alford Mark Gilman turning Saturday, as he hauled in four receptions for 46 yards. He had a 9-yard grab on Nebraska's first touchdown drive, and caught 16- and 15-yarders, respectively, during the Cornhuskers 73-yard TD drive that put them ahead 17-0 just before half-time. ' "I think it took the life out of them," Alford said of NU's late first-half score. "At 10-0, they're thinking 'We're OK. We get into the end zone twice, and its 14-10.' But that meant they were going to have; to score at least three times." Alford, a senior who doubled his season reception total with five more catches for 78 yards, made it tougher on the Buffaloes with his 30-yard touchdown grab during Nebraska's first drive of the second half. That catch capped a 69-yard drive, which left the Cornhuskers up 24-0. 78 yards and a touchdown. "That's what you've got to have at the skill positions, all of them, not just l-back," Brown said. The Cornhuskers didn't hold back anything offensively, according to Brown. And "if we can run the full gamut of our offense, we're very difficult to stop," he said. "If you get the running game to cranking, it's very tough to stop a team from throwing the bal."--'. Tight end Mark Gilman meant no disrepect, but Saturday's result didn't surprise Nm. "We expect to win and win big, especially here at home," he said. "The thing about rt, a lot of teams always talk Nke they're going to beat us. I think It's good. .. keep doing It." With Saturday's victory, Nebraska coach Tom Osborne moves back ahead of Texas A&M's R.C. Stocum to Na 1 on the list of the win-ningest active NCAA Division l-A coaches, based on percentage. Osborne's coaching record Is 215-;, 47-3 (.817). - - i , GAIL FOLDMJNCOLN JOURNAL-STAR for 29 yards in the second quarter, dle, but then he came up to the lfne like he was going to take the hike there. I turned to tell him he called ' shot gun when he came up like it, would be a regular snap," Graham . said. "My hand position is different for a regular snap than the long snap:' I saw him drop back, so I tried to switch, and I grabbed the laces and" justheavedit . . j "I was really disappointed in myself because I don't recall having one , bad snap like that in practice. I was" sad that mishap might overshadow' everything else I did because I think; this was one of my better games." ; S ; Few will remember the play, or if they do, a humorous memory is all, it' will be. ";: j:. . What will remain is the Huskers victory over Colorado. Nebraska-Kansas game Apparently, the Alabama vs. LSU : or Kansas-Nebraska game would fill the 6:30 p.m. time slot i. .,v . Two years ago, ESPN showed corn-: secutive Nebraska home games .. against Colorado and Kansas. 3 ;i t. adftU repertoire Alford said he thought the play worked because Nebraska caught CU in a run-prevent defense. "That's pretty much what we try to -get every team to do," Alford said.",' "Colorado was trying to stop the run more than the pass." . , ..; ; . Alford also had a reception during ." a second-quarter drive that ended with Tom Sieler's 24-yard field goal and caught a 15-yarder on third-ancM!' to keep the late first-half drive going.". '" "People still play us as a running! football team," said assistant head coach Frank Solich. "With the passing game, they won't be able to crowd us' as much." , ,,. f ; Gilman said the key to NU's success with he and Alford was Berring-J er's play-action. - s w; ' 1 "It gets them thinking," he said. "The linebackers fire up right when , they see a handoff. It's a characteristic of all of the teams we play because ' we're such a strong running team, i ' ; "We've got to hand it to the coaches ' for their game plan.". . ' One that showed confidence in Gjl-man arid Alford. ,. , "We catch a lot in practice; we're glad it carries over to the game," Oil- ' man said. '' At least this week. . . "Next week, (Kansas) may start; keying on the tight ends," Alford said, ; "and everybody else will be wide open." . .; ).,,-: , l Slocum, whose seventh-ranked (by the Associated Press) Aggies were tied-by Southern Methodist, has a record of ; 56-12-2 (.814). .. .... Nebraska has now won at least' nine games each of the last 26 years: " NU is 9-0 for the second year in a row and for the fifth time under Osborne. l-back Lawrence Phillips finished; with 86 yards on 25 carries. He was up , to 104 yards on 21 carries but lost 3,'2 and 17 yards on three successive carries in the fourth quarter. The 17-' yard loss came on a pitch from quarter- back Brook Berringer. He has 1,319? yards this season, 23 yards behind the i school record for sophomores set by '. Bobby Reynolds in 1950. . , :.i . . 7--S- Osborne on next week. "It's im- portant not to get too focused on this game. We feel Kansas is a big game this week. We were fortunate to win there last year (21-20), and we have no '' less regard for Kansas than we had for 5 Colorado today. We've got to keep! plugging and not stub our toe.". . - ,w V

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