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Story ran on October 22, 1994

For those who watched Nebraska play Kansas State last week on national
television, don't get too excited.

Sure, the Cornhuskers' high-powered option offense could manage a mere 210
rushing yards, its lowest total of the season. And Nebraska also scored just
17 points in the game, another season low.

But when No. 3 Nebraska (7-0, 2-0 Big Eight) plays Missouri (2-4, 1-1) at 1
p.m. today at Faurot Field, its offense should be quite a bit more potent.

``We limited a third to 40 percent of what we normally do,'' said Nebraska
coach Tom Osborne. ``But hopefully this week we won't be that limited.''

``Limited'' might be a bit of an understatement. Forty of NU's 61 total plays
were between tackles, and I-back Lawrence Phillips carried much of the burden
himself. He tallied 31 carries for 117 yards and ran 27 times between the
tackles. Phillips, a sophomore, is currently No. 3 in the nation, averaging
160 rushing yards per game.

Part of the credit must be passed to Nebraska's offensive line. The line
average is 6-foot-41/2 and weighs 295 pounds. The Cornhuskers have rushed for
more than 300 yards in six of seven games this season.

But last week, Nebraska was taking precautions to ensure the health of
quarterback Brook Berringer. Osborne wouldn't let Berringer audible any option
plays, and pass plays were carefully selected so as not to leave Berringer
vulnerable to a hit.

While it might sound like paranoia, the Cornhuskers have had more than their
share of problems at quarterback. Starter Tommie Frazier, who was a Heisman
Trophy candidate, is out for the season because of a blood clot. Berringer
stepped into his place, but suffered a partially collapsed lung against
Wyoming on Oct. 1.

Berringer reaggravated the lung the next week against Oklahoma State and did
not start against the Wildcats.

``They might put me at quarterback,'' joked offensive tackle Zach Wiegert.
``But if they put me at quarterback, they might hit me in the knees or
something. It's just not a very lucky position so far this year.''

Berringer hopes to change that this week. Since he made it through the Kansas
State game unscathed, Osborne said Berringer has been cleared to play
``barring something unusual.''

So don't expect the same basic play calling this week.

``I think Brook will be given clearance to do all the things he does,''
Osborne said.

And don't think Missouri coach Larry Smith doesn't know about what the
Cornhuskers can do when they are at full strength.

``They've done the best job in the country of combining their base run, if you
check, they've really maintained all those years the option game, and the
quarterback play-action pass,'' Smith said. ``I've'' seen former NU
quarterback and now quarterbacks coach ``Turner Gill in an all-star game.
They've gone out and recruited the best athletes they can find and put him at

While the offense has had its share of injuries, Nebraska's defense has helped
pick up the slack. The Cornhuskers have held their opponents to less than 40
yards for three consecutive weeks. Last week, Kansas State was held to -7
yards rushing. That was the 11th-best defensive effort for a Nebraska team.

Osborne has also said he is more comfortable with his defensive secondary.
Last week, cornerback Barron Miles broke up a school-record six passes.

``Things are a lot sounder, more stable in the secondary than they were a few
weeks ago,'' Osborne said.

And those who have hopes that the Cornhuskers will somehow look right past
Columbia in lieu of a return trip to Lincoln to face Colorado, they might want
to think again. After Missouri has had a taste of success, Nebraska players
don't want the Tigers to get too intoxicated just yet.

``You might think this is crazy, but this game is going to be as tough as
Colorado,'' said linebacker Doug Colman. ``They don't have anything to lose.''

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