For the majority of the Nebraska-Colorado rivalry, the Cornhuskers have done what they wanted when they wanted, whether it was in the old Big Eight or the Big 12.
Then came conference realignment and the promises of big money to both schools, leading them to go their separate ways: Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12. The Huskers won five of the last six contests before the split following the 2010 season, but the Buffaloes prevailed when the two got together last year in Lincoln.
That game got heated, albeit afterward, when Nebraska accused Colorado defenders of intentionally injuring quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez missed the rest of that game, a 33–28 loss, and the next one at home, a stunning loss to Troy, which set the tone for a 4–8 season.
On Saturday, the old rivals played one of the best games in the storied series, as Colorado came back from a 17-point halftime lead to stun Nebraska 34–31 in overtime. It was the Huskers' eighth straight loss on the road.
It certainly didn’t look that way early as Nebraska rewarded its fans, who filled three-fourths of Folsom Field in red, by sprinting out to that big halftime lead. Martinez completed his first nine passes of the game and the Buffaloes could get nothing going under a hail of miscues and penalties.
Colorado finally hit pay dirt toward the end of the third quarter, as Jaren Mangham ran in from 11 yards to set up a wild fourth quarter.
Nebraska pinned the Buffs deep in their own territory after a punt, but it took one play before Steven Montez took a flea flicker and hit K.D. Nixon for a 96-yard touchdown strike, cutting the lead to three.
On Nebraska’s next snap, Martinez completed a swing pass to Maurice Washington who sprinted down the left sideline for 75 yards to again put the cushion to two scores.
The Cornhuskers had plenty of chances to put the game away, but turned the ball over on three of their last four possessions. The only time they didn’t give it away in that sequence was a Martinez six-yard run on fourth-down.
Colorado forced overtime when Montez (28 for 41, 375 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) found Tony Brown for a 26-yard touchdown catch with 46 seconds left to cap off a 38-point combined fourth quarter.
In overtime, Colorado kicker James Stefanou nailed a 34-yard field goal to give the Buffaloes their first and only lead of the game.
Nebraska's three plays went for negative-6 yards, putting them in a precarious situation when Martinez was sacked. Isaac Armstrong’s 48-yard field goal attempt was wide right, setting off a celebration as the Colorado fans that were in attendance stormed the field.
The Cornhuskers were a sleeper pick to win the Big Ten after showing life late amid a miserable campaign in Scott Frost’s first season. But just two weeks in, timely mistakes and bad turnovers at inopportune times have the Big Red faithful wondering if they can get over the hump this year and compete with the stalwarts of the Big Ten. Nebraska turned it over three times for the second straight week and already has six giveaways on the season.
Colorado was the media’s pick to finish in the cellar of the Pac-12 this season under first year head coach Mel Tucker. But the Buffaloes have winnable games in the South Division and can possibly make some noise if their young defense comes together. But they must get the ball in the hands of Laviska Shenault, an SI preseason All-America pick. Through two games, Shenault has only eight catches for 79 yards and one touchdown.