October 31st – at Nebraska          No. 8 Nebraska 52, No.8 Colorado 7

Happy Halloween.

Nebraska had not defeated the Colorado Buffaloes since 1988. Still, Colorado, in step with the times, was not resting on past glories. The Buffs had converted to a more-open, air-it-out attack, giving up on the smash-mouth football which was the traditional path to success in the Big Eight. While Colorado was competing for national championships, Nebraska had gone four years without defeating a top ten team, and had won only two of its last 11 games against ranked opponents.

It was time for the Buffs to demonstrate once and for all to the Cornhuskers that “three yards in a cloud of dust” football was a thing of the past.


Nebraska dominated, decimated, and decapitated the Buffaloes on Halloween Day, 1992, by a lopsided score of 52-7.

Just over a minute into the game, the Buffs’ 25-game Big Eight unbeaten streak was in jeopardy. Freshman quarterback Koy Detmer received the starting nod over Kordell Stewart when Stewart was unable to practice the week leading up to the game due to lingering injuries. Detmer was intercepted three times on the day, the first coming on his first pass of the game. Four plays after the first miscue, Calvin Jones had his first touchdown and the Buffs were behind to stay.

A 47-yard touchdown run by Jones, early in the second quarter, upped the lead to 14-0. Then the Buffs showed some life late in the second quarter. After holding Nebraska to a 24-yard field goal, the Colorado offense set out on a 12-play, 81-yard drive, capped by a two-yard run by James Hill to make the score 17-7. The Colorado defense then forced a Nebraska punt, with the Buff offense taking over at its own 44-yard line with 1:49 to play before halftime.

Instead of driving in to reduce the deficit to one score, the Buffs turned the ball over. Koy Detmer was sacked and fumbled, with Nebraska’s Travis Hill returning the ball to the Colorado 27-yard line. On the last play before halftime, Calvin Jones scored his third touchdown, this time from a yard out. 24-7, Nebraska.

One third quarter touchdown upped the lead to 31-7, but by then the result of the game was no longer in doubt. Nebraska tacked on three fourth quarter touchdowns to complete the rout and end Colorado’s 25-game Big Eight unbeaten streak.

The Cornhuskers ran the ball for 373 yards on the day, while Colorado netted eight yards rushing.  Nebraska held the ball for 42:50 of the game clock, the second most ever by a Colorado opponent.  Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne was diplomatic after the game.  Discussing the Buffs’ switch to a more pass-oriented offense:  “There’s always a temptation to say I told you so …. But for this locale, this climate, I think you’ve got to be able to jam it at people sometimes.”

Jamming at the Buffs were running back Calvin Jones, who ran for 101 yards and three scores, and freshman quarterback Tommie Frazier, who rushed for 86 yards and had two of his four completions on the afternoon result in touchdowns.  The Husker defense jammed it to the vaunted Colorado passing game, limiting the Buffs to 136 yards passing, almost 200 yards shy of Buffs’ league-leading 334-yard average.

Colorado’s 25-game Big Eight Conference unbeaten streak, the longest in school history, came to a crashing halt.  Gone were hopes of a Big Eight Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl.  Junior defensive tackle Leonard Renfro felt for the seniors:  “I haven’t lost a Big Eight game since I’ve been here, so you can imagine how I feel about it.  It feels really bad because I wanted to send those guys (the CU seniors) out with a win over Nebraska.”

The Buffs were now 6-1-1 on the season, but, more importantly, Colorado was left with a 2-1-1 record in Big Eight play.

It was time to set different goals for 1992.

Pac-12? … 

The week after the Nebraska game was hard on the Buff Nation.  Nebraska had beaten Colorado for the first time in four years, and had beaten Colorado badly.  Even with the Buffs’ recent success, the series record stood at 35-14-2, Nebraska.  Perhaps the prospect of leaving the Big Red Menace off of future schedules was the reason why an article in the Dallas Morning News the day after the Colorado/Nebraska game received the attention it did.

In a copyrighted story, the Dallas Morning News quoted two officials from the Pac-10 Conference as saying that league officers had met to discuss expanding the 10-team league to 12 teams, with Colorado and Texas to be the targets of the expansion.  “No comment” was the order of the day for athletic directors when questioned, but no one denied that the discussions were taking place.

I thought it was a great idea.  The idea of competing in the “Pac-12” to me meant more opportunities to see the Buffs.  A weekend in Seattle had already been done (for the Colorado/Washington game in 1989), and potential trips to Los Angeles and the San Francisco area had much more appeal to them than trips to Stillwater, Oklahoma, or Manhattan, Kansas.  Colorado recruited heavily in California and Texas, and the Buffs’ new offense was more suited for the balanced attacks found on the west coast.  It seemed a perfect fit.

It was just a fit which never quite worked out … until 2011.

 Game Notes … 

– Sophomore linebacker Ted Johnson did his part for the Buffs against Nebraska, posting a Colorado season-high for tackles (20), and tying teammate Greg Biekert’s season-high mark for solo tackles at 14 (Biekert’s effort coming against Iowa State).

– While a dominating effort, the point total of 52 for Nebraska was still well short of the best Cornhusker total in the series – a 69 point effort in 1983. The 428 yards of total offense was a far cry from the 719 the Cornhuskers ran up against the Buffs in 1981.

– Nebraska’s time of possession, 42:50 was the second highest total for an opponent in Colorado history. The greatest discrepancy came in 1968, when Missouri held the ball for 45:26 in a 27-14 win over the Buffs.

– Nebraska would rise to No. 7 in the polls after defeating Colorado, while the Buffs would fall to No. 16. The Cornhuskers would go on to inexplicably fall to Iowa State, 19-10, two weeks later, to fall out of the top ten. Nebraska would recover to win its remaining Big Eight games, but would lose to No. 3 Florida State, 27-14 in the Orange Bowl to finish the 1992 season with a 9-3 record and a No. 14 final ranking, one spot below the 9-2-1 Colorado Buffaloes.


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