Big Red Rout Tommie Frazier and friends wiped out Pacific, but little did they suspect that misfortune was on the horizon

Jan. 17, 1995
Jan. 17, 1995

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Jan. 17, 1995


Big Red Rout Tommie Frazier and friends wiped out Pacific, but little did they suspect that misfortune was on the horizon

How best to quantify Nebraska's blowout of Pacific at Memorial
Stadium, a walloping so thorough that not even the 70-21 score does
it justice? It measured a 5 on the depth chart: Tom Osborne went that
many players deep into his bench, deploying 104 of his 111 available
athletes, most before halftime. It ranked No. 7 on the alltime list
of yardage accumulated by the Cornhuskers, who totaled 699. And it
registered nine Nebraska players in the score book with touchdowns.
Nick Sellers, Pacific's backup quarterback, could barely bring
himself to watch what was going on. ''It seemed like every time I
looked up at that HuskerVision thing,'' Sellers said, ''another guy
was scoring.''
By the reckoning of Tiger coach Chuck Shelton, Nebraska's
performance was off the charts. ''I told my kids after the game,''
said Shelton, ''that I've coached against teams that went to the Rose
Bowl, that won the Big Eight, the Pac-10 . . . and this is the best
team I've coached against.'' And this despite the fact that
Nebraska's starters played less than one quarter.
After scoring on each of their first seven possessions, the
Cornhuskers led 49-0 with 6:22 left in the first half, tying their
record for most points in a half set in a 63-42 win over Oklahoma
State in 1988. ''I talked to the officials about calling off the
second half,'' Shelton said, ''and they wouldn't.''
Osborne had mixed feelings about the game's one-sidedness. ''To be
real selfish about developing a team for this year, we maybe needed
to play longer today,'' he said. ''I don't know if we get a whole lot
better playing a quarter.''
Nebraska defensive tackle Terry Connealy, a senior starter, was
less equivocal. ''Getting all those guys in the game will be
something that will make us better as a team,'' he said. ''Getting
into your first game is a feeling you can't substitute. Now we've all
got something to talk about in the locker room.''
Tommie Frazier took just nine snaps at quarterback, completing one
of two passes and leading two touchdown drives -- one capped by
Lawrence Phillips's 74-yard run -- before retiring for the afternoon.
Frazier's backup, Brook Berringer, ran in once from six yards out and
threw for three more scores. Berringer's backup, Matt Turman, ran 14
plays before giving way to the fourth- stringer, 5 ft. 8", 180-pound
Adam Kucera, who was making his first appearance since his promotion
from team manager to scout team at the end of fall camp, when
injuries to other quarterbacks had depleted the depth chart. For the
Pacific game, Kucera's father, Bill, a former Cornhusker grad
assistant, was on hand after flying from the family home in Stockton,
Calif. When Adam appeared in the fourth quarter, he was accompanied
by chants of ''Rudy! Rudy!'' He threw one pass, which fell
incomplete, and rushed one time for four yards.
Even Kucera's backup got into the act: Freshman Ryan Held lined up
under center and became the 16th Cornhusker to carry the ball against
the Tigers, although he was stopped for no gain. When the season
started, Held wasn't even on the depth chart.
The Pacific players seemed thrilled by the chance to compete in a
sold-out stadium bathed in red, and against one of the fabled
programs in college football. ''I wish we had more to show for it,''
wideout Damon Bowers said, ''but I'm just really glad to be a part of
this experience.'' The school didn't go away empty-handed: Pacific
was given a $400,000 guarantee for playing -- about 30% of the
football program's yearly budget.
When asked how he improved during the game, Frazier could joke
afterward. ''My passing,'' he said. ''I completed 50 percent.'' He
needed the rest, having been bothered by a calf bruise he suffered
against UCLA. But amid all the ridiculous numbers and team
togetherness that resulted from this laugher, no one could have
guessed that it would be the last time Frazier, a front- runner for
the Heisman Trophy, would take the field for the Big Red during the
regular season. -- H.H.

This is an article from the Jan. 17, 1995 issue