Tom Osborne had predicted that defense would probably be the deciding factor when No. 4 Nebraska played No. 5 Colorado on Friday.
Osborne was entirely correct--and not altogether comfortable with it.
“We’re glad to get out of that one,” Osborne said after his Cornhuskers held Colorado to four field goals in a 17-12 victory.
Nebraska, 10-1 overall and 8-0 in the Big 12, won its 36th consecutive home game despite losing four fumbles and being penalized 11 times for 70 yards.
The Cornhuskers won the Big 12 North title and will play Texas for the conference title next Saturday at St. Louis. The Longhorns won the South by defeating Texas A&M;, 51-15, on Friday.
Colorado (9-2, 7-1) had two passes intercepted, including one that was returned for a touchdown, and was penalized nine times for 50 yards.
“I thought maybe we were in trouble, but fortunately they couldn’t get it into the end zone,” Osborne said. “Probably the best thing we did offensively all day was the last drive, simply because we didn’t give the ball back to them.”
Nebraska freshman DeAngelo Evans, from Wichita, Kan., rushed for 123 yards and one touchdown in 25 carries after replacing senior Ahman Green, who suffered a toe injury in the first quarter.
Green, from Omaha, gained nine yards in three carries before he was injured but still reached 2,000 yards rushing in his career.
The Cornhuskers stifled Colorado quarterback Koy Detmer, who completed only 11 of 39 passes for 226 yards and no touchdowns.
The Buffaloes’ scoring came on four field goals by Jeremy Aldrich.
Colorado, which has lost five in a row to Nebraska, failed to capitalize on good field position in the fourth quarter. The Buffaloes advanced to the Nebraska nine but managed only a field goal. Minutes later, linebacker Jamel Williams intercepted a Detmer pass on the Nebraska 24.
“If you like defense it was a great college football game,” Colorado Coach Rick Neuheisel said. “Unfortunately, if you like the Colorado Buffaloes, it was a heartbreaking football game.”
The Buffaloes held Nebraska to its lowest scoring output since the Cornhuskers’ 19-0 loss to Arizona State in September.
Nebraska was scoreless in the second half.
Colorado took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter as Aldrich kicked the first field goals of his career, connecting on a 45-yarder that hit the crossbar and bounced over and on a 40-yarder.
He added field goals of 38 yards in the third quarter and 27 yards in the fourth, tying the school record for field goals in a game.
Nebraska took a 7-6 lead as tackle Jeff Ogard batted a Detmer pass that linebacker Jay Foreman intercepted and returned 21 yards for a touchdown.
The Cornhuskers led, 17-6, at halftime on Kris Brown’s 30-yard field goal and Evans’ seven-yard touchdown run. Evans also had a 40-yard run on the drive that led to his touchdown.
Nebraska had 238 yards rushing and 56 passing. Colorado had 226 yards passing and only 51 rushing.