November 12th – at Nebraska           No. 7 Nebraska 7, No. 19 Colorado 0

Nebraska running back Kevin Clark scored on a two-yard run with 4:19 remaining in the third quarter for the game=s only score as Nebraska held on to defeat Colorado, 7-0. Two drives by Colorado were stopped on downs in Nebraska territory in the fourth quarter as the Buffs were shut out for the first time since being handled 28-0 by Oklahoma in 1986.

The Buffs had their chances, and could have taken a 10-0 halftime lead. In the second quarter, J.J. Flannigan, who rushed for 133 yards on the day, broke free and appeared on his way to a touchdown. Inexplicably, however, Flannigan lost control of the ball. The Buffs did recover the fumble at the Nebraska 17 yard line, but were unable to convert.

Later, just before half, a 47-yard field goal attempt by Ken Culbertson was caught in the swirling Memorial Stadium winds, drifting just to the left, ending the Buffs’ only other realistic scoring threat of the afternoon.

The Colorado defense did its job, holding Nebraska to 296 yards of total offense and a point total 39 points below the Cornhuskers’ season average. Yet the Colorado offense could not get the job done, and Colorado had to be satisfied with a 7-3 record, 3-3 and fourth place in the Big Eight.

A season-ending contest against an 0-10 Kansas State would not be without meaning, however. A home victory against the Wildcats would mean an eighth win, a winning conference record, and a bowl invitation.


While the Buffs’ loss to Nebraska did signal an end to Colorado’s one week streak in the polls, the pollsters were impressed enough with the Colorado effort to leave the Buffs just outside the AP rankings, coming in at 21st. An impressive win against Kansas State, with a little help, might just be enough to put Colorado back into the national spotlight.

The shutout was not of particular note at the time, as the Nebraska win marked the sixth time in the 1980’s the Buffs had been shutout. What is of note, though, is that the Nebraska loss marked the last time that the University of Colorado football team would be shut out in the 20th century.

J.J. Flannigan’s score early in the first quarter against Kansas State the following week would end the scoreless drought, and the Buffs did not look back. The previous school record – 84 consecutive games without being shutout, set between 1947 and 1955 – would be eclipsed by the end of the 1995 season. The streak would go to reach 242 consecutive games, ending when the Buffs were shutout by Missouri in 2008. The 242-game streak was, when established, the ninth-longest streak in NCAA history.

Here is the YouTube presentation of the game … 

Game Notes –

– Nebraska had one less point (8-7), only two more first downs (16-14), and even fewer yards (351-296) than had Missouri against the Buffs the week before. The difference was that, instead of running up 45 points, as had been the case in Columbia, the Colorado offense was held scoreless in Lincoln.

– The two offenses combined to go 3-for-20 passing (Colorado was one-for-eleven), for a combined total of 61 yards. The two teams punted a combined 15 times.

– Junior tailback J.J. Flannigan, after not playing against Missouri, had his second consecutive 100-yard game. Flannigan backed up a 103-yard effort against Iowa State with 133 yards against Nebraska.

– Junior tight end John Perak caught the only successful pass for Colorado, though the play did go for 43 yards. Perak caught only four balls in all of 1988, going for 82 total yards.

– Linebacker Kanavis McGhee, who had been terrorizing the Big Eight, and who would go on to earn first-team All-Big Eight and second-team All-American honors, broke his ankle against Nebraska (but not before posting 15 tackles), and was lost for the remainder of the season.

– Nebraska would complete an undefeated Big Eight conference campaign, and went on to face Miami in the Orange Bowl. The 6th-ranked Cornhuskers, though, were no match for the 2nd-ranked Hurricanes, falling 23-3. The loss dropped Nebraska to No. 10 in the final poll, still better than Big Eight rivals Oklahoma State (No. 11) and Oklahoma (No. 14).


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