Mike Petco sacks CU quarterback Darian Hagan.
Colorado tailback Eric Bieniemy went from goat to hero in the fourth quarter as the ninth-ranked (Associated Press) Buffaloes erupted to knock off third-ranked Nebraska, 27-12, in the battle for the Big Eight Conference lead. Playing in wind-driven rain for most of the game, and in temperatures hovering under 40 degrees, Bieniemy fumbled five times in the first three periods, three of which were recovered by Nebraska.
The first lost fumble stopped a CU drive at the Husker 3 on the Buffs’ first possession, and the third ended another drive at the NU 20 in the third quarter. Five plays after that fumble, Husker quarterback Mickey Joseph found freshman tight end Johnny Mitchell wide open on a 46-yard touchdown pass that gave NU a 12-0 lead with 2:38 left in the third period.
It was then that Bieniemy made his transformation. In the game’s final 17 minutes, he picked up 75 of his game-high 137 rushing yards and scored touchdowns on each of Colorado’s next four possessions following the Husker TD, as the Buffs came from behind to win for the eighth time in an 8-1-1 season and hand Nebraska its first loss in nine games. CU went to 5-0 the conference and dropped the Huskers to 4-1.
Colorado also ended the Huskers’ 19-game home win string and won at NU’s Memorial Stadium for the first time since 1967, ending a 10-game losing streak in Lincoln. The Buffs’ 27 points in the fourth quarter were a record against NU, and the win virtually assured them of a return trip to the Orange Bowl, making them the first Big Eight team other than Nebraska or Oklahoma to make back-to-back Orange Bowl trips.