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Nebraska 20, Oklahoma 10

Earlier this month, former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev had to delay a scheduled late-October trip to the University of Nebraska, where he had planned to wax nostalgic about the Cold War. Too bad, really -- had Gorby showed, he could have stuck around for Saturday's NU-OU game, where his old party's favorite color was on full display. In front of a Sea of Red, the Big Red of the North battled the Big Red of the South, and the result was a massive defensive buildup that would have made Leonid Brezhnev proud. Stoops' Troops fought hard, but in the end it was the Cornhuskers who pushed all the right buttons. And how fitting it was, too, that the final strike in this epic war was launched by -- yep, you guessed it -- a Roosky.

A few takes:

THE COUNCIL BLUFF: So here was Nebraska, with the ball and clinging to a three-point fourth-quarter lead, and things looking shakier than a hostage situation being negotiated by Adrian Fiala. Our friends at ABC, safely assuming that Solich was going to call three straight fullback dives, were rummaging around for stock footage of Buster Rhymes, Elvis Peacock and Keith Jackson so they could rub some salt in what was obviously going to be an inevitable Sooner rally. But suddenly, in a flash of superlative scarlet, the world discovered why they call NU's head man "Fearless" Frankie. Key to The Play's success was the fact that Flash had already skewered the Okies earlier on a similar reverse. And how about "Babyface" Mike Stuntz of Council Bluffs, who is suddenly the most loved caucasian freshman since Matt Davison, hitting Eric The Red in full stride to convert the sweetest Cornhusker score in years? For Solich, this call answered a horde of nagging questions about his game-management skills. In fact, about the only question left now is: Frank, how in the world do you walk around with balls that big?

HOMELAND DEFENSE: After last week's track meet against the Red Rooters, many figured Oklahoma's fleet corps of receivers would do even more damage to the Blackshirts. Shaaaame, shaaaaame. This is the second straight year that the Texas Tech Litmus Test Theory has gone awry -- time to put it to rest. Behind inspired efforts by linebacker Jamie Burrow and a pair of hobbling cornerbacks, Nebraska's defenders went out and won one for the Gimpers. Kelsay was everywhere, and the Huskers' Petit-like rotation of D-linemen ensured that the 'Shirts were the strongest unit in the end. But we in The Pond would be remiss if we did not mention NU's honorary 12th defender on Saturday -- Tom Osborne. Field, that is. The key stat in this contest is not EC's one catch for 63 yards. It's FieldTurf 2, OU quarterbacks 0.

TAKING OFFENSE: NU, obviously, struggled to get its patented option game working. But as soon as they went to the power, with Dee Dee slashing through holes opened up on the Isolation -- pick a fullback, any fullback -- it was easier to see than Dirk Diggler in spandex biker shorts that the Huskers could move the ball, by golly. But what truly warmed the cockles of my red-clad heart was Eric the Red's timely tosses. Before the game, I was unsure that passing the football was the perfect answer to the Spooners' mighty D, but then again, I would never have let Benjamin Bratt leave "Law & Order," either. And now our very own "Lincoln Navigator" takes over the driver's seat for the Heisman Trophy. If not EC, then who? Dantzler? Two words: North Carolina. Foster? Outsmarted by Stanford. Harrington? He plays for freaking OREGON. The only thing that would keep No. 7 off a plane to NY is if they're serving unauthorized ham sandwiches during the flight. Just hand him the trophy.

AND JUSTICE FOR ALL: Loons, Saturday is proof that there is a god. Remember last year in Norman, when Andre Woolfolk caught a pass off his own tootsies against a snakebit Erwin Swiney? Well, No. 16 -- who has suffered share of bad breaks during his 7 1/2 years as a Husker -- finally got a bounce to go his way. His third-quarter pick off a ricochet was a huge game-changer. And apparently, it's easier to see a face-mask penalty in Lincoln than Manhattan -- a zeebruh actually saw Crouch's headgear getting tugged. Hey, they say justice is blind, but on Saturday, she was wearing red-colored glasses. 'Bout time.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The most pleasing thing about this win was not the fact that Nebraska passed its most difficult test of the year with flying colors. It was not Thunder Collins gliding down the sideline. It was not a peach-fuzzed understudy hitting his mentor for a 63-yard score. It was that the goal posts at Memorial Stadium still stand. Hey, I'm all for euphoria, except when granolas use it as their daughter's first name, but let's try to contain ourselves, eh? The 2001 season isn't a sprint, it's a marathon -- and there are still at least three big checkpoints left in this race, plus a possible rematch with the Okies. The home stretch starts this week in Lawrence, Kan. -- and in case your memory needs to be jogged, the last time NU ran into the Jayhawks on the road it was darned-near a photo finish. But it looks like these Cornhuskers are geared up to show a strong finishing kick. Run, Huskers, Run. Nebraska 42, Kansas 10.

Baud to the Bone.
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