BOULDER, Colo. (Ticker) -- Nebraska's national title hopes collapsed under a Colorado avalanche.
Chris Brown rushed for six touchdowns and 14th-ranked Colorado posted a stunning 62-36 Big 12 Conference victory over the second-ranked Cornhuskers.
Nebraska's performance was about as rare as the current dearth of snow in the Rocky Mountain State. The Cornhuskers (11-1, 7-1 Big 12 North), who controlled their own destiny in the national title chase, allowed the most points in school history, topping the 61 surrendered in a loss to Minnesota on October 6, 1945.
Colorado jumped to a 28-3 lead after one quarter and shredded Nebraska's normally stingy defense for 223 first-half rushing yards to build a 42-23 advantage at intermission.
The Buffaloes (9-2, 7-1) will play either Texas or Oklahoma on December 1 in Dallas.
In the process, Colorado ended any national title dreams for Nebraska and may have enhanced the chances of one-loss teams such as Florida and Oregon.
Colorado led 21-0 less than 10 minutes into the game. It started with tailback Bobby Purify, who raced threw a gaping hole up the middle for a 39-yard TD run 2:43 into the contest.
Nebraska's Dahrran Diedrick fumbled on next possession and Bobby Pesavento followed almost immediately with a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Graham.
Pesavento later threw a 49-yard pass to Graham, setting up a one-yard TD run on a quarterback sneak.
Soon it was Brown's turn, and the sophomore had TD runs of 12 yards late in the first quarter and one and 36 yards in the second.
Nebraska slowly battled back and a 25-yard run by Crouch in the third quarter put the Cornhuskers deep in Colorado territory. But Diedrick fumbled at the goal line with 8:33 left to keep the score at 42-23.
A six-yard TD run by Crouch cut the deficit to 42-30 with 4:17 left in the third quarter, but the gap already was too great for the Cornhuskers, who could not overcome four turnovers.
Brown added TD runs of one, 13 and eight yards to increase the lead to 62-30 with 9:41 left.
Game #12...Postgame Notes...Nov. 23, 2001...No. 2/2/1 NU vs. 14/14/15 Colorado
No. 2/2/1 Nebraska lost its first game of the season, and lost its first game to Colorado in 10 tries, as the No. 14/14/15 Colorado Buffaloes put on a record 42 first-half points, and a record 62 points on the Huskers, winning 62-36 in Boulder. NU closed to within 42-30 at the end of three quarters, but could not overcome the 32-point deficit NU found itself in, as CU led 35-3 with 12:2 remaining in the second quarter.
Colorado will represent the Big 12 North in the league championship, as NU drops to 11-1 and 7-1 in the conference, while Colorado improves to 9-2 and 7-1 in league action, earning the bid based on head-to-head action. Colorado ended Nebraska?s 13-game winning streak and a nine-game losing streak against NU.
Colorado jumped out to a 14-0 lead, after scoring on its fist drive on a 42-yard Bobby Purify run in four plays; and converting a Nebraska fumble on NU?s second drive into a TD pass (Bobby Pesavento to Daniel Graham, 21 yards) one play later. The one-play drive was the first against the Huskers this season, and the 14 points after the ensuing PATs marked the first time an opponent had scored 14 points against the Huskers this year (Texas Tech scored 13). A 74-yard kickoff return by Josh Davis set up Nebraska?s first score of the game, a 27-yard field goal by PK Josh Brown. NU trailed 28-3 at the end of the first quarter, after CU scored on a 12-yard run by Chris Brown. The 28 points scored by Colorado ties the school record for most points in a first quarter by an opponent, as UCLA scored 28 vs. Nebraska in a 41-28 loss on Sept. 10, 1988. Nebraska has trailed in a game five times this season (also Troy State, Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas State). NU recovered to lead at halftime against four of the teams, but trailed Colorado (and K-State 14-13) at halftime.
Colorado extended its lead to 35-3 after a second Chris Brown rushing TD. NU pulled to back within 25 points after redshirt freshman Steve Kriewald scored on a 24-yard run with nine minutes remaining in the first half. I-back Dahrran Diedrick scored on a 32-yard run with 5:46 remaining in the half, but Brown missed the PAT to pull within 35-16. CU?s Chris Brown scored his third rushing TD of the second quarter on a 36-yard run, and Flores made the 35-yard PAT to go up 42-16. The 42 points were the most in any half against NU, bettering the 38 by UCLA on Sept. 10. The Huskers responded two plays later as Crouch hit Wilson Thomas on 78-yard non-scoring pass that brought the Huskers to the 2-yard line. Diedrick scored one play later to close to 42-23. Nebraska went into the locker room at halftime with a 19-point deficit, despite driving to the CU 35 yard line as time expired.
Nebraska drove to the 1-yard line, after holding Colorado to three and out to start the second half, but fumbled at the 1-yard line, which proved to be pivotal in the game. NU got the ball back after a strong defensive stand on the CU 39-yard line and drove seven plays for the first score of the second half, with Crouch scoring on a six-yard run to pull NU within 12 (42-30). NU held CU to three and out, but there were no other scores in the third quarter.
Aided by two pass interference calls, CU drove to a fourth-quarter score on a Chris Brown one-yard TD, his fourth of the game. The ensuing PAT gave CU a 49-30 lead with 12:50 remaining. Colorado scored two more times on Chris Brown runs, giving Brown a record six in the game. Crouch added a fourth-quarter seven-yard rushing TD, set up by his 78-yard run, but it wasn?t enough.
CU scored 62 points, the most ever against Nebraska. The previous school record was 61 points by Minnesota in 1945 in Lincoln (61-7). The last time any team scored 55 points against Nebraska was in 1954 when NU lost 55-7 to Oklahoma at Norman. The last time any team scored 49 points against the Huskers was Oklahoma in Norman in 1956, when No. 1 OU defeated unranked Nebraska 54-6. The last time any team scored more than 40 points against the Huskers was Oklahoma State (63-42 Husker win) and UCLA (41-28 loss) in 1988. Colorado?s eight rushing TDs breaks the school record of six rushing TDs vs. NU held by Oklahoma (three times 1949, 1955 and 1956). Colorado had 582 yards of total offense, which ranks as the fourth-best total all time vs. NU and 380 by rush (the most since Iowa State rushed for 373 vs. NU in 1992)
Nebraska also had impressive numbers, rushing for 354 yards and a total of 552 yards (second most this season). Crouch led the Huskers with 162 rushing yards and 198 passing and a school-record 360 total-offense yards.
* Senior quarterback Eric Crouch struggled early against a tough Colorado defense keying in on the Heisman Trophy candidate. Crouch rebounded to rush for 29 in the first half and pass for 174 yards. On the first drive of the second half, Crouch became the 13th player in NCAA Division I-A history to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in a season. He is the second Husker to accomplish the feat, as NU?s Scott Frost accomplished the feat in 1997 (1,095 rush; 1,237 pass). Crouch carried 18 times for a team-high 162 yards and two rushing TDs and completed 13 of 28 passes for 198 yards (the second most in his career). Only one other Big 12 quarterback has accomplished the 1,000/1,000, Colorado?s Darian Hagan in 1989. He now has 1,115 rushing and 1,510 passing yards this season (16th best rushing season in NU history, seventh-best passing total in NU history), for 2,625 total-offense yards this season (NU school record). Crouch scored on a six-yard TD run in the third quarter to pull NU within 12 (42-30) on NU?s second drive of the second half. Crouch also scored on a seven-yard run with 7:14 remaining in the game. The TD was set up a 70-yard run, which put him over 100 yards for the 16th time in his career. Crouch?s second touchdown gave him 18 this season and combined with his 20 last season, gives him 38 in two seasons, tying the NCAA record of 38 by Stacey Robinson, Northern Illinois, 1989-90, 19 and 19). It was Crouch?s 59th rushing TD of his career, a continuing NCAA record by a quarterback. Crouch had a career-best and school-record 360 total-offense yards in the game, breaking the school record of 319 by Jerry Tagge at Missouri on Oct. 9, 197. For his record-breaking efforts, Crouch was named the ABC/Chevrolet Player of the Game. Crouch had two second-half interceptions thrown (one tipped by John Gibson).
Crouch is 35-6 as Nebraska?s starting quarterback. Crouch's 59 TDs rank fifth overall in NCAA Division I-A and his 368 points rank sixth among non-kickers. Crouch owns Nebraska school records for career rushing yards by a quarterback (3,434), most rushing TDs by any player (59), career total offense (7,915) and most total-offense TDs (88), to name a few. Crouch is also the NCAA Division I-A record holder for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, passing Ohio's Kareem Wilson (49). Crouch's rushing yards rank third overall at NU, fourth in the Big 12 (first among quarterbacks) and fifth among NCAA Division I-A quarterbacks. Crouch ranks third all time at NU in passing (seventh in Big 12) with 4,481 yards and is just the third Division I-A quarterback to rush for 3,000 and pass for 4,000 yards (also Brian Mitchell, Louisiana Lafayette, 3,335 rush, 5,447 pass, 1986-89), Antwaan Randle El, Indiana, 3,496 rush, 6,905, 1998-01). Crouch has already become just the third Husker quarterback to pass for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, joining Jerry Tagge (1969-70-71) and Dave Humm (1972-73-74).
* Junior I-back Dahrran Diedrick carried the ball 16 times for 94 yards, scoring twice. He scored on a 32-yard run with 5:56 remaining in the second quarter and scored again in the second quarter on a two-yard run with 2:53 remaining. Diedrick led the Huskers with 66 yards in the first half was second to Crouch with 94 total. This season, Diedrick leads the Huskers with 1,299 yards in 11 games. Diedrick's 1,299 season yards rank as the ninth best total by a Husker in school history, the fourth-best rushing total by a junior. Diedrick has 1,814 career rushing yards to rank 24th on NU's all-time rushing list. Diedrick fumbled twice in the first half, and No. 2 I-back Thunder Collins saw significant action in the second half.
* I-back Thunder Collins carried 11 times for 61 yards and caught four passes for 19 yards, including three on NU?s last drive of the first half. Collins is NU?s third-leading receiver this season and has 19-189 on the season.
* Tight end Tracey Wistrom had two catches for 33 yards. He now has 21-323 on the season and 58 career catches for 1,150 career yards. He leads all Husker tight ends in yards and is second in receptions, three catches behind school record-holder Jerry List (61 receptions from 1970 to 1972) . Against Rice, Wistrom became just the 11th Husker to total 1,000 or more yards receiving. Wistrom has caught at least one pass in nine of 11 games this season.
* Turnovers...Colorado scored its second its second touchdown of the game after recovering a Dahrran Diedrick fumble on the NU 21 yard line. CU scored one play later on a Bobby Pesavento 21-yard TD pass to TE Daniel Graham. It marked the first time this season that an opponent had a one-play drive. Diedrick also fumbled on the CU one-yard line on NU?s first drive of the second half, but CU did not convert. Crouch threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, which Colorado converted to 14 points. Nebraska opponents have converted just five of NU?s 25 turnovers (14 fumbles, 11 interceptions) into 35 points this season (21 by Colorado).
* Davis breaks NU kickoff return yards record...Sophomore I-back Josh Davis broke the NU record with his first 17-yard kickoff return to open the game. Davis had 517 return yards entering the game and with his first return passed the 523 by Tyrone Hughes in 1990. Davis now has 25-675 and no TDs. Davis had a 74-yard return to give the Huskers the ball on the Colorado 25-yard line with five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Davis? long return led to Josh Brown?s 27-yard field goal. Davis? previous career long was 43 yards vs. Notre Dame. Davis also had a 32-yard return giving him 11 returns of 25 yards or more this season. Davis also broke the school record for kickoff returns in a season with 25, breaking the record of 23 by Dana Brinson in 1988 (510 yards).
* Split end Wilson Thomas...caught at least three passes for the eighth time this season. Thomas caught a career-best 78-yard pass from QB Eric Crouch. The score was the longest non-scoring pass play in school history. Thomas?s previous best was a 42-yard TD reception (from Crouch) vs. Rice earlier this year. In the game, Thomas had three receptions for a career-best 109 yards, the only 100-plus yard receiving game by a Husker this season and the first in Thomas?s career. His previous game-best was 83 yards vs. Troy State (the previous most by a Husker this season).
* Place-Kicker Josh Brown...connected on a 27-yard field goal with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter for Nebraska?s first score of the game and only score of the first quarter.
* Against the D...Entering the game, NU ranked 13th against the rush entering the game and had only allowed one rusher to rush for 100 yards this season (Ell Roberson, KSU, 119 yards). The Huskers had allowed just seven long runs of 25 yards or more, but CU had several today, including two by Bobby Purify in the first half (39, 44) to put him over the 100-yard mark in the first half. Purify had 123 yards in the first half, and 138 total. CU?s Chris Brown had 92 yards in the first half and 154 in the game, rushing for six TDs. The last time Nebraska allowed two 100-yard rushers in a game was Texas A&M on Oct. 10, 1998, when Dante Hall had 113 and Ja?Mar Toombs had 110. Chris Brown?s 154 yards rank one yard short of the top 10 best against NU all time.
* Firsts and Bests...Redshirt freshman fullback Steve Kriewald scored on a career-long 24-yard run, his first touchdown of the season and his career. The TD came with 9:32 remaining in the half and pulled the Huskers within 25 points (35-10). Linebacker Scott Shanle tied the NU position record for most pass breakups in a season with one breakup today. Shanle now has eight this season, tying Steve Forch who had eight in 1987. Eric Crouch?s non-scoring pass to SE Wilson Thomas of 78 yards put the Huskers on the CU 2-yard line and NU scored one play later on a Dahrran Diedrick two-yard run. It was Crouch?s longest of his career, the longest of Thomas? career and was a school-record non-scoring play, bettering the 73 yards from Steve Taylor to Todd Millikan at South Carolina on Oct 4, 1986.
*- Prior to Friday, NU had won 236 consecutive games when scoring 35 or more points and was 300-1 all time when scoring 35 or more points, losing only to Oklahoma, 49-35, in 1950.