Husker Look Back: NU offense keeps it simple

The Nebraska game plan for its game against the No. 11-ranked Kansas State Wildcats in 1994 was simple: nothing fancy, just run the ball and let the defense do its job.

October 15, 1994

Manhattan, KS - The Nebraska game plan for its game against the No. 11-ranked Kansas State Wildcats was simple: nothing fancy, just run the ball and let the defense do its job.

The second-ranked Huskers faced a stiff test in Manhattan as they had to start sophomore walk-on Matt Turman at quarterback. It was Turman's first career start for Nebraska, giving the Wildcat football team and its fans high hopes for the upset.

But Turman didn't have to do too much for Nebraska to topple the Wildcats in their backyard, as the Blackshirt defense rose to the occasion to stymie KSU's offense. Turman only threw the ball four times, connecting on two for 15 yards, and he ran it four times for 10 yards.

The Huskers did just enough on offense to keep the clock running, and scored enough to build a sufficient cushion to get the job done and post a 17-6 victory.

NU scored on its second drive of the game with sophomore I-back Lawrence Phillips leading the way, carrying the ball six times for 28 yards, and culminating the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to give the Huskers a 7-0 lead.

KSU answered in the second quarter when quarterback Chad May hooked up with wide receiver Mitch Running on a 29-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was blocked, so NU still led, 7-6.

There was no more scoring until the fourth quarter, when Husker fullback Jeff Makovicka rumbled in from 15 yards out, giving the Huskers a 14-6 lead.

Nebraska later iced the game on a late field goal by Darin Erstad to make the final score 17-6.

Brook Berringer, NU's starting quarterback prior to this game, made an appearance at the end of the first half and played the second half despite wearing a flak jacket to protect a partially collapsed lung that he suffered in the Wyoming game two weeks earlier.

Berringer completed 2 of 7 passes for 37 yards and rushed twice for 5 yards. He primarily handed off to Phillips, who was the workhorse for the Big Red offense, carrying the ball 31 times for 126 yards.

"I thought Brook did well as the game went along," NU head coach Tom Osborne said. "I think above all else, the thing we wanted to do was to get Brook through a game without having that lung collapse again."

For the game, Nebraska ran the ball on 50 of its 61 offensive plays meanwhile the Wildcats rushed 23 times for minus-seven yards.

Linebacker Troy Dumas intercepted May once, returning it 54 yards, and the team sacked the KSU quarterback six times.

The other stars on defense were linebacker Ed Stewart, who led the team with nine tackles and cornerback Barron Miles, who broke up six passes.

"Nebraska is still Nebraska and K-State is still K-State," Stewart said.

This win was big not only because it allowed the Cornhuskers to stay undefeated, but it showed the nation that this group played as a "team", no matter who was behind center.

"There's a feeling at Nebraska that if we stay in the game until the fourth quarter, we're going to win. I had that feeling on the sidelines today," Makovicka said.

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