October 10th – at Nebraska           Nebraska 59, Colorado 0

The Nebraska thrashing, 59-0, was not unique for the result, as Colorado went into the game on a thirteen game losing streak against the Cornhuskers (average score: 34-8). What was unique was that, of the three losses suffered after the Washington State game to open the season, this was the lone Buff loss against an unranked team.

Nebraska began the 1981 campaign 1-2, losing to Iowa 10-7 in Iowa City, and 30-24 to Penn State in Lincoln. Shortly after the demolition of Colorado, Nebraska regained a national ranking, and did not lose it until 2002. The streak of being ranked, which lasted 348 polls, is an NCAA record.

How bad was the game itself?

Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne was quoted after the game as saying: “Actually, in the fourth quarter there we were trying to run plays that would not result in points”, said Osborne. “But it was hard to run some plays and not end up gaining five yards.”


And this was from the lips of a coach with a team which entered the game with a 1-2 record.

What had become of the respectable Colorado defense? Gone with the wind of the Nebraska speed backs. Sophomore quarterback Turner Gill made his first start against the Buffs. By the time he left the game, early in the second half, he had tied a team record with four touchdown passes.

The Cornhuskers amassed 719 yards of total offense (to 146 for CU), and had set an NCAA record for the most first downs in a game – 42.

– Game Notes –

– Colorado had its name in the record books for twenty years – and a day. The Buffs were finally relieved from being on the short end of Nebraska’s 42 first downs record when Texas Tech put up 45 first downs against Iowa State in a 52-21 rout of the Cyclones on October 11, 2003.

Here is part one of a five part recap of the game, with these video highlights courtesy of CU at the Gamer Paul:


And part two:


And part three:


And part four:


And part five (it says there are six, but there are only five … thank goodness!):



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