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Tom’s Time: Osborne Gets Win No. 200 Under Thursday Night Lights

October 08, 2020

Barron Miles was listed at 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds. But the junior cornerback came up much bigger in Nebraska’s 27-14 victory at Oklahoma State to open Big Eight play in 1993.

Check that, in Tom Osborne’s 200th victory as the Huskers’ head coach.

And yes, if you check Nebraska’s 2020 roster, you’ll find the name Barron Miles Jr., a freshman receiver. Miles Jr. is a walk-on from Chandler, Arizona.

His dad blocked a punt and covered it in the end zone for the touchdown that gave the No. 7 Huskers the lead 51 seconds into the fourth quarter at Lewis Field.

Nebraska, which went into the Thursday night game averaging a nation-leading 47.0 points per game, had struggled offensively to that point.

Thursday night? That’s not a misprint. The game was played on a Thursday night to accommodate ESPN’s national telecast. Osborne said he wasn’t opposed to playing Thursday night games, providing they were preceded by a week off. It would be good exposure for the program.

Good exposure if the Huskers played up to their ranking, which hadn’t necessarily been the case, though the Blackshirts stepped up in the second half, limiting Oklahoma State to only two first downs and 61 yards after intermission. The Cowboys went three-and-out on five possessions.

And, of course, there was Miles’ punt block, preceded by a Trev Alberts 9-yard sack of quarterback Tone’ Jones that left Oklahoma State facing fourth-and-25 at its 2-yard line.

Miles said afterward he had told the Cowboy lined up across from him that he was going to get to punter Scott Tyner, who stood at the back of the end zone, and block the punt. Tyner punted seven other times, averaging 46.1 yards. His longest was 63 yards.

Oklahoma State tried a fake punt on its next-to-last series, gaining 3 yards but needing 8. That set up Nebraska’s final touchdown, on a 44-yard, I-back Calvin Jones touchdown run. Jones had missed the previous three games because of a knee injury—though he had “participated” in the Colorado State game, the third, going in for the first play so he could qualify for NCAA statistics.

The junior from Omaha Central finished with 136 yards on 21 carries.

Quarterback Tommie Frazier scored the Huskers’ other touchdown on a 4-yard run to tie the score at 13 with 5:24 remaining in the third quarter. Before that, Nebraska’s only points had come on Byron Bennett field goals, from 28 and 26 yards.

Bennett also punted six times, for 40.0-yard average.

Junior weakside linebacker Ed Stewart led the Blackshirts with 12 tackles. Alberts had 11 tackles and nine quarterback hurries as well as the sack. Senior free safety John Reece had 10 tackles.

Miles had eight tackles and a pass breakup, in addition to the punt-block touchdown, and was named the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Week.

Immediately after game, as Osborne began an interview with ESPN, he “got a ceremonious dunking from two mischievous players,” the Omaha World-Herald reported. It did not identify the players.

The Lincoln Sunday Journal and Star reported that Osborne “was soaked with a bucket of Gatorade,” and that senior defensive tackle Kevin Ramaekers was pleading his case” as he and Osborne walked off the field. “‘No hard feelings on that,’ he (Ramaekers) said.”

Osborne said he knew who had done it.

Ramaekers blamed junior outside linebacker Donta Jones.

The “mischievous” players can’t be identified clearly from video of the ESPN telecast. But a Husker in a No. 67 jersey can be seen behind Osborne, moving quickly away.

Ramaekers wore a No. 67 jersey.

Osborne was just the 12th coach in college football history—the third active in 1993—to reach 200 victories, and he had done it faster than any other, in 21 seasons, 249 games.

Former Oklahoma coach and Osborne nemesis Barry Switzer—his record against Osborne was 12-5-0—was at the Oklahoma State game and interrupted Osborne’s post-game news conference to congratulate him and encourage him to go for 300. Osborne wouldn’t reach 300.

But he would get more than halfway there in just the next fourth-and-a-half seasons.

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