BOULDER, Co. -- Tommie Frazier showed Colorado what it missed out on last year.
Frazier, who missed Nebraska’s 24-7 win over the Buffaloes last season, racked up 281 yards of total offense in the Cornhuskers’ 44-21 win over No. 7 Colorado Saturday in front of a Folsom Field record crowd of 54,063 fans.
The win propelled the Huskers past Florida State into the No. 1 spot in both the Associated Press and USA Today/CNN coaches polls. But Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said Sunday that he was wary of being in the top spot.
“I think it’s still too early to get too excited about it,” he said. “Being No. 1 has its pluses and minuses. You attract a lot more attention when you’re No. 1, and that sometimes takes more time and energy and everyone gives you their best shot.
“The plus side, of course, is it puts you in the position you are striving for -- to play for the national championship.”
The victory was Nebraska’s fourth straight over Colorado. The Huskers improved to 8-0 and 4-0 in the Big Eight. Colorado fell to 6-2 and 2-2 in conference play.
“We got a win on the road against a very good football team,” Osborne said. “I like the chemistry of this team. I enjoy being around them. I like the way they play. I like the way they approach the game. I like the way they practice.”
Freshman I-back Ahman Green didn’t waste time getting the Huskers on the board. He took an option pitch from Frazier and turned Nebraska’s first play from scrimmage into a 57-yard touchdown in front of the Colorado bench.
Green’s run, sparked by downfield blocks from fullback Jeff Makovicka and split end Brendan Holbein, put the Huskers up 7-0 with 13:13 left in the opening quarter.
“They told us all week that that was going to be the first play, and I was prepared for it,” Green said. “I knew where my linemen were going to be, and everybody did a good job. Jeff always gets out there and cuts them down, and Brendan does a good job of holding the defensive backs up.”
But after the teams traded punts, the Buffaloes proved they weren’t ready to lie down, as they put together a seven-play, 85-yard scoring drive.
Phil Savoy capped the drive when he hauled in an 18-yard pass from John Hessler to tie the game with 8:19 left.
Colorado regained possession after it stopped Nebraska on a fourth down, but gave the ball right back when Husker linebacker Terrell Farley intercepted a Hessler pass and returned it 42 yards to the Colorado 13-yard line.
“Our defense is getting a little bit better,” Osborne said. “I thought the strongest part of Colorado was their offense. So, I still think we played a good defensive ball game, even though we gave up 21 points. We made some big plays.”
Green scored four plays later on a 1-yard run to give the Huskers a 14-7 lead.
Nebraska looked to have taken control when it followed Green’s second score by holding Colorado to three downs and forcing a Buffalo punt.
Frazier then connected with Clester Johnson for a 52-yard touchdown pass on the Huskers’ first play of the drive.
“I think our overall game was excellent today,” Frazier said. “We knew we had to come out and pass the ball. To be able to complete most of my passes against a defense like this builds my confidence up.”
But Colorado again bounced back, this time with a 15-play, 78-yard drive that used up 7:08 of the clock.
The Buffaloes’ touchdown came when Lendon Henry fumbled the ball on the Nebraska 1-yard line, and guard Heath Irwin recovered the ball in the end zone to cut Nebraska’s lead to 21-14 with 9:34 left in the first half.
Nebraska came back with scoring drives of 72 yards and 83 yards, the first ending in a 35-yard Kris Brown field goal and the second in a 7-yard touchdown pass from Frazier to Jon Vedral, giving the Huskers a 31-14 halftime lead.
Frazier’s pass to Vedral came with 10 seconds remaining in the half, marking the third year in a row that Nebraska has scored a touchdown against Colorado in the last 36 seconds of the first half.
After stopping Nebraska on fourth down in the opening drive of the second half, Colorado faced a 4th-down-and-2 on its next possession, and Hessler hit James Kidd for a 49-yard touchdown pass.
“That certainly regenerated the crowd and gave Colorado momentum,” Osborne said. “That was a real credit to our team. I think most teams would begin to crumble a little and begin to doubt themselves. We seemed to be able to regroup defensively.
“But it was a perfectly thrown ball. It was just one of those things that happen.”
Nebraska, leading 31-21, began to work on the clock and took its next possession 69 yards on 14 plays in 6:12, and Brown capped it with a 36-yard field goal.
After trading punts, Colorado took possession at its own 13-yard line, but it didn’t last long. On Colorado’s first play, outside linebacker Grant Wistrom hit Hessler as he released the ball, and linebacker Doug Colman intercepted it.
Nebraska could do nothing with the ball and settled for a 37-yard field goal from Brown and a 37-21 lead with 11:49 left in the game.
Frazier, who finished 14 of 23 for 241 yards, added a touchdown run late in the game to secure the 44-21 win.
Nebraska didn’t let the noisy crowd at Folsom Field bother it. The Huskers didn’t have any turnovers or penalties and allowed no sacks.
Meanwhile, Colorado had two turnovers, 12 penalties and was sacked twice.
“We have a pretty mature group of players,” Osborne said. “They seem to rise to the challenge. A lot of them have played in the Orange Bowl, so this type of thing doesn’t intimidate them at all. In the matter of fact, it brings out the best in a lot of them.
“To execute that well out here with the crowd noise was exceptional.”