The Cornhusker offensive style has been so lopsided for so long
that it has become standard to characterize the team as
one-dimensional. After all, the Huskers entered their Big Eight date
at Missouri ranked No. 1 in the nation in rushing offense (a
398.6-yards-per-game average) and No. 102 in passing offense (104.2
yards). But the Nebraska defenders, in their new 4-3 alignment, were
playing some of the most well-balanced D in the land. In a 42-7
triumph at Faurot Field, they limited the Tigers to 48 yards rushing,
capping a three- game stretch in which they yielded a total of 81
yards on the ground. And when Missouri went to the air, Nebraska
simply countered with cornerback Barron Miles.
Following up his school-record performance against Kansas State --
in which he broke up six passes -- Miles made his fourth interception
of the season in the third quarter and returned it 27 yards, to the
Missouri 23. That set up the first of three second-half touchdown
passes by Brook Berringer, who hit tight end Mark Gilman from one
yard out to give the Huskers a 21-0 lead. On the previous series
Miles had forced a fumble on the Nebraska one-yard line, stopping a
Tiger drive and preserving the Cornhuskers' momentum.
''I put my face on the football, and it came out,'' said Miles, a
senior from Roselle, N.J. ''I don't know if it's luck, but if it is,
it's on my side right now.''
At 5 ft. 8" and 165 pounds, Miles was establishing himself among
the nation's leaders in big plays per square inch, playing larger and
larger in the absence of injured safety Mike Minter. ''You look at
him and figure he plays at Doane or Wesleyan or Lincoln Southern, but
he's a tremendous athlete,'' said Nebraska defensive backs coach
George Darlington. ''Week in and week out, day in and day out, he
just gives you what you want.''
The same could be said of Lawrence Phillips: Despite a sprained
left thumb, he rolled up 110 yards on 22 carries. The Huskers rushed
for 330 yards, marking the 60th straight time that they had gone over
300 yards and won. ''I was happy with the way we played today,''
Phillips said. ''We overcame some things to win, and that's the main
That could also apply to Berringer, who once again suited up and
played, although his reinflated left lung was subject to collapsing
if he took a hard hit. In addition to connecting with Gilman, who
made the first touchdown catch of his career, Berringer hooked up
with split end Brendan Holbein for a 30- yard score, then threw a
43-yard touchdown pass to split end Reggie Baul.
''We ran the option as little as possible today,'' Berringer said.
''The coaches didn't want me to take any unnecessary hits. But I came
out of the game all right and feel pretty good.''
The same could not be said of his backup, Matt Turman, who
sprained his right shoulder with three minutes left in the game, when
he took a late hit along the Nebraska sideline. Another game, another
''When Missouri took the run away from us a little bit, we looked
to the pass,'' Tom Osborne said. ''We tried to take what the defense
was giving us.''
And once again, the Cornhusker D was giving precious little in
return. -- H.H.
This is an article from the Jan. 17, 1995 issue