A New Twist In a surprising show of versatility, the Huskers downed Kansas by taking to the air

January 17, 1995

In the 104-year annals of Nebraska football, there was no footage,
no radio replay, no photograph in any media guide of a moment quite
like this one. In front of the 201st straight sellout at Memorial
Stadium, tight end Eric Alford was running past the Kansas secondary,
the ball arcing into his outstretched mitts, with nothing but
unpopulated AstroTurf in front of him. With this 62- yard touchdown,
Brook Berringer would go on to become the first Cornhusker ever to
throw for more than 300 yards in a game. But alas, the spiral slipped
through Alford's grasp, and neither the catch nor history was made.
Instead, Berringer connected on 13 of his 18 attempts for 267
yards, piloting Nebraska to a 45-17 win and directing the Big Red's
biggest passing show since Dave Humm carved up Missouri for 267 yards
back in 1972. Only a week before, Colorado coach Bill McCartney had
been questioning Berringer's arm strength after the quarterback had
completed only two passes to his wideouts. Following McCartney's cue,
Kansas stacked up an eight-man defensive | front designed to stymie
the run and force Tom Osborne to go up top and way long.
So Osborne did, and Berringer delivered. ''I'm done proving
myself, so don't even ask,'' Berringer said. ''We had to get the ball
to the split ends, the receivers, to prove ourselves, so that's what
we did.''
Berringer threw five passes of at least 28 yards, two of which
went for touchdowns, to split end Reggie Baul (51 yards) and wingback
Clester Johnson (64). ''If we can get past our defensive backs in
practice sometimes -- and I think they're the best in the nation --
then we can do it to anybody,'' Johnson said. ''What's nice about it
is it shows everyone that we can pitch it from a variety of
angles,'' receivers coach Ron Brown said. ''We have skilled people as
runners and as receivers, and from what I've seen, we've dominated
people with blocking.'' Indeed, the Jayhawks' two sacks doubled the
season total permitted by the Nebraska line.
With the Huskers up 38-10 at halftime, Osborne turned to a more
familiar source of yardage. Lawrence Phillips pounded for 118 of his
153 yards in the third quarter to lift his season total to 1,489.
That shattered Bobby Reynolds's 44-year-old school record for rushing
by a sophomore, 1,342. ''Hey, who would guess?'' Phillips said.
''This is Nebraska, and the passing opened up the running.''
The showing convinced the coaches who vote in the CNN/USA Today
poll: The Huskers had trailed Penn State in that poll but moved to
No. 1 after their rout of Kansas and the Nittany Lions' unimpressive
35-29 win over Indiana. -- H.H.

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