Luke Graham.

staff

Luke Graham.

Luke Graham: Buffs vs. Big Red

Remembering the Colorado-Nebraska rivalry

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— It seems the general consensus among University of Colorado fans is the move to the Pac-10 Conference is a good one.

The Pac-10 allows for more desirable travel locations, features more alumni hotbeds and has the potential to provide more money to programs.

But if there is one general area that people will miss, it’s the annual football game against the University of Nebraska.

Some in Big Red might still say it’s not a rivalry, but it is.

Now, though, with Nebraska looking to get into the Big 10 and Colorado on its way west, the rivalry may go by the wayside.

It’ll certainly make the day after Thanksgiving look different. As an admitted Colorado football fan and alum, I’ll really miss the series.

I started going to Colorado games in 1988. In 1989, I saw my first Colorado-Nebraska game.

I’ve hated the ’Huskers ever since.

So before I can start hating our next presumed rival, a look back at my three favorite and three most painful CU-NU games.

The good:

■ 1989

Colorado 27, Nebraska 21

In my first taste of the rivalry, J.J. Flannigan had two touchdown runs, and Colorado jumped out to a 17-14 halftime lead. Colorado was ranked No. 2 in the nation, and Nebraska was No. 3 at the time. Despite getting outgained by Nebraska, Colorado was able to hold on in the second half for the win. 

■ 1990

Colorado 27, Nebraska 12

Maybe one of the greatest games in Colorado history. The Buffs went into Lincoln, Neb., as the ninth-ranked team in the nation — and nobody wins at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. The Cornhuskers led, 12-0, after three quarters, before Eric Bieniemy became a Colorado legend. He scored four rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help propel Colorado to its first national title.

■ 2001

Colorado 62, Nebraska 36

Probably the most notable recent game. Second-ranked Nebraska simply was run over. Chris Brown scored six rushing touchdowns and the goalposts came down. Strangely enough, Nebraska still went on to play for the national title — and got drubbed by Miami, 37-14.

The bad:

■ 1994

Nebraska 24, Colorado 7

In my opinion, this was the most talented Colorado football team I’ve ever seen. This was supposed to be the Buffs’ year to get back to the national title game. But Nebraska dominated the time of possession and went up, 24-0, early in the third quarter. Nebraska would go on to win the national title.

■ 1997

Nebraska 27, Colorado 24

Colorado was unranked at the time, and Nebraska was No. 2. Nebraska led, 27-10, after three quarters before Colorado stormed back. I can remember asking my dad if we could storm the field when Colorado cut it to 27-24. Unfortunately, the Buffs couldn’t get over the hump.

■ 2005

Nebraska 30, Colorado 3

Colorado was a heavy favorite and Nebraska coach Bill Callahan was hated by every Cornhusker fan. The Buffs should have been the last straw. But Nebraska pounded Colorado in every part of the game. Denver’s own Cory Ross picked up a rushing touchdown and had 129 yards receiving for Big Red. Of course, Colorado followed it up in Gary Barnett’s last game with a 70-3 loss to Texas.  

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