I admit it; I was nervous about this one. Colorado was surging under interim coach Brian Cabral, and the Huskers were going to go into this game minus Taylor Martinez and Niles Paul. But other than trying to recover Rex Burkhead's dropped pass on the fifth play of the game, the Buffaloes never seriously threatened in this game. Solid performance on both offense and defense.
Nebraska has now earned a berth in the Big XII Championship game in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1996-1997, and has won or shared the Big XII North title for three years in a row for the first time since 1999 through 2001. This feat doesn't mean Nebraska is "back"...but it's just one more accomplishment on the way back to "back".
As always, your comments are always welcome below. If you aren't a member of CornNation yet, join today!QB: It was clearly Cody Green's best performance since joining the Husker program. He was poised and efficient throwing the ball, and even looked okay running the ball. His confidence grew as the game went on, and he started to get some tough yards running the ball. He wasn't asked to do too much, but this gameplan didn't require it. That worked this week, but probably not next week, no matter who the quarterback is. Nice to see Zac Lee get a few snaps and that his arm allowed a few throws (thus debunking some of the rumors). Grade: B+
RB: See Rex Run! See Rex Throw! The only downside of Rex Burkhead's day was his bobble on the fifth play of the game that was initially ruled a fumble. The most impressive part of Burkhead's day was what he did after contact. He'd usually carry a few Buffs for an extra five yards, or reverse field to daylight. Just like on that second touchdown pass, where he flipped to Kyler Reed in an improv move that Drew Carey would have awarded 10 million points for. Roy Helu had some tough runs as well in limited play; not sure if that was because of injury from last week or if because Burkhead was having that good of a game. Dontreyvous Robinson also got some extended playing time and looked good in power sets. Grade: A
WR: For a guy who hadn't played a real game of football since his freshman year of high school, Joe Broekemeier had a helluva game replacing Niles Paul. He's not the playmaker that Paul is, but he made the plays he needed to. Brandon Kinnie burned the hapless Buffalo secondary for two touchdown catches. Kyler Reed keeps making nice catches as well. And how about that leap by freshman tight end Jake Long late in the game? Grade: B+
OL: At times, Nebraska just lined up in a power formation and simple told the line to impose their will. And Colorado assumed the position. Grade: A
DL: It was a quiet game statistically for the line, though they do get credit for deflecting the first interception. Cody Hawkins rollouts lessened the ability of the line to generate pressure. Grade: B-
LB: Will Compton started to help keep tabs on Rodney Stewart, and it was mission accomplished for the most part while he was in the game. Lavonte David had his usual gaudy stat game, along with some big plays. Grade: A-
Secondary: It was 31-3 Nebraska, and Cody Hawkins had thrown 11 passes, with only one completion and two interceptions. Yes, there were some breakdowns down the stretch, but the game was over at that point. Grade: A
Overall: A- Considering the injury situation, it was a total team win and a good performance by the Big Red. Exactly what this team needed going into the Big XII Championship game.
Elsewhere in College Football
Nevada A Chris Ault has taken this program quite a ways from getting blown out by Bill Callahan's final squad in 2007.
Second Halfs A+ Everywhere you turned around this weekend, somebody was putting on one heck of a second half performance (Auburn, Oregon, Nevada, Oklahoma, Nebraska basketball) Turn away if you must, but check back frequently seemed to the motto of the weekend.
Big East F I think there is a case to be made to get rid of each conference's auto-bids and just award the BCS spots on the basis of the standings. That might make it tight for the winner of the Big XII this season, but it would avoid the embarrassment of having the Big East champion in a top-tier bowl game this season.
Iowa F You lost Floyd of Rosedale to a Kevin Cosgrove defense that held you to 218 yards? The gang over at BHGP seemingly gave up in the morning, hours before kickoff. So this is what we have to look forward to on Thanksgiving weekend now?
Texas F If it wasn't for getting that second back in last year's Big XII Championship game, the Bovines would have lost nine of their last fourteen games. (And no, we're not going to keep asking what happened on October 16th again...)
Big XII Trophy rules: F As I understand it, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M all qualify for division co-champion trophies. If five out of twelve teams "winning" trophies doesn't scream "Participant", I don't know what does. You know what Dan? Just keep it. Or give it to your boss DeLoss; maybe it'll make him feel better.