Tom's Time
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Tom’s Time: New-and-Improved Kansas, Same Old NU-KU Result

August 19, 2020

Fans began leaving at the start of the fourth quarter of the Kansas game. They’d seen enough.

Seriously, Nebraska fans, heading to their cars . . . or bars.

That was the scene outside Memorial Stadium on the first Saturday night in November 1992.

The score was 49-7. It had been that since 8:03 remaining in the third quarter, following a 5-yard touchdown run by fullback Lance Lewis and a Byron Bennett extra-point kick.

Of course, with a sellout crowd of 76,165, many remained to watch the reserves. Nebraska used six quarterbacks, for example. Tommie Frazier was followed, in no particular order, by Mike Grant, Joel Cornwell, Jon McMillen, Brook Berringer and Tony Veland, who got in briefly for a second game in a row after being sidelined by a broken collarbone suffered in late August.

Still, a lot of fans, relatively speaking, were heading out.

They didn’t miss any scores. The final was 49-7.

Even though Kansas was No. 13 in the Associated Press poll and Colorado the previous week had been tied with Nebraska at No. 8, the Jayhawks were the better team, according to Tom Osborne.

He would say that, of course, because Kansas had been next up.

The Jayhawks came to Lincoln with a 7-1 record, their only loss against California in Lawrence five games before. And they led the Big Eight in total defense, allowing 283.4 yards per game.

There was context to consider, however. Nebraska, which had climbed one spot to No. 7 in the AP poll, hadn’t lost to Kansas since 1968, 23 consecutive victories, including a 59-23 pounding the previous season after the Jayhawks had taken an early 17-0 lead.

Nevertheless, there might be a letdown in the wake of the 52-7 victory against the Buffaloes.

But there wasn’t.

A minute and a half into the game, Frazier teamed with tight end Gerald Armstrong for 36 yards and a touchdown. And fans threw oranges onto the field, drawing a warning from Osborne.

Six seconds into the second quarter, Frazier passed to Armstrong for 11 yards and another touchdown to make the score, with Byron Bennett’s kicks, 14-0.

The second touchdown reception was Armstrong’s sixth in a row—six catches, six touchdowns—to tie an NCAA record. The streak would end later in the game when Armstrong caught a 13-yard pass.

Two minutes after Armstrong’s record-tying catch, Frazier passed to Corey Dixon for 46 yards and a touchdown. Though Kansas would get on the board, the rout was on.

The halftime score was 35-7.

Afterward, Husker I-back Derek Brown held up a sign that said: “We backs for Heisman.” He had rushed for 156 yards on only 15 carries. Calvin Jones, the other “We back,” had carried 13 times for 107 yards, and the final two touchdowns of the first half.

Through eight games, the two had combined to rush for 1,712 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Nebraska finished with 533 yards of offense, including 351 rushing—its season average, to lead the nation—while the Blackshirts limited the Jayhawks to 273 yards. They also contributed a touchdown on free safety Tyrone Byrd’s pass interception return 42 seconds into the third quarter.

Osborne made special mention of the offensive line afterward—the starters were Lance Lundberg and Zach Wiegert at tackle, Ken Mehlin and Will Shields at guard and Jim Scott at center. Much to Osborne’s surprise, following the Colorado game, ESPN’s Gary Danielson had said Nebraska’s run-oriented, option offense might be college football’s offense “of the future.”

ESPN also televised the Kansas game. As a result, kickoff was moved from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., a move which Osborne was not in favor. It was inconvenient for the fans, he said, and there was a chance of bad weather. The Huskers had been forced to practice inside early in the week because of snow on the field. But the players voted unanimously to move the start time for ESPN.

After the Colorado game, the goal posts had come down, Osborne said he wondered where replacements could be found on short notice. He was joking, sort of.

Grounds keeper Bill Shepard came through, finding some old goal posts in storage and reshaping them to meet current NCAA standards.

Despite defeating ranked teams back-to-back by a combined score of 101-14, Nebraska remained at No. 7 in the AP rankings. The Huskers had won five games since their lone loss at Washington by an average score of 47-12, with four of the victories in Big Eight play.

Iowa State was up next in Ames. Coach Jim Walden’s Cyclones were 3-6, including a loss at home against non-major Northern Iowa.

Nebraska hadn’t lost to the Cyclones since 1977.

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