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Story ran on October 23, 1994

Nebraska -- Quarterback Curse U.

Heisman hopeful Tommie Frazier finished his season with recurring blood clots
behind his knee after starting the first four games of the season for the
Cornhuskers (8-0, 3-0 Big Eight).

In his first start replacing Frazier, Brook Berringer suffered a collapsed
lung. The junior started the next week against Oklahoma State, but X-rays at
halftime showed some recurrence of the lung collapse. His lung was re-expanded
but he couldn't return to play until last week at Kansas State, where he
entered the game late in the first half and finished for NU.

The Huskers' other quarterback option, walk-on Matt Turman, started last week
at Kansas State. He entered yesterday's 42-7 victory against Missouri with
four minutes remaining, only so an unnecessary injury would not happen to
Berringer, who is still a little vulnerable.

He checked out soon afterward. After sprinting 21 yards, he injured his
shoulder on a late Tiger hit that resulted in a personal foul. That forced NU
coach Tom Osborne to bring in walk-on freshman Monte Christo, who the coach
had hoped to redshirt. Christo just returned to practice a week ago after
missing six weeks with torn ligaments in his throwing hand.

But if it's any consolation to Nebraska fans, yesterday's game was just want
the doctor ordered for Berringer. Literally.

Doctors told Osborne to keep Berringer from taking any hefty blows, and he
should be 100 percent by next week. He'll have to be -- Nebraska hosts

After yesterday's performance, Osborne believes Berringer can do it all for
the Cornhuskers. He completed nine of 13 passes for 152 yards and three
touchdowns, including a 43-yard bomb. He was neither intercepted nor sacked.

``We've got a heck of a passing game, and sometimes we don't get to it as much
as we'd like to,'' Berringer said. ``Today, we came out and they gave us the
opportunity so we took it.''

But the playbook was still limited against MU.

``We used a lot of our offense, except for the options,'' said I-back Lawrence
Phillips, who finished with 110 yards rushing. ``We used more passing than
usual and that helped our running game out a lot.

``Today, Brook showed us a lot and I think he's confident he'll be able to do
the job. I think the adjustment period is over.''

The only adjustment to be made is to unleash the entire gamut on Berringer.

``It makes it more complicated to run the ball. It's a little more
restricted,'' Osborne said of the interim offense. ``It's more like a pro
offense, and I never have liked pro football because I feel like you're
fighting with one hand tied behind your back.''

But the players think Berringer proved yesterday that he can throw the ball
and scramble if he needs to. That will make the offense even more respected
when Berringer attempts the option offense next week, the players said.

``These last two weeks, if anything good came out of our quarterback
situation, it gave us a chance to work on our inside run, and let people know
that we can come at them if we need to and then bring the option game along
with that,'' said I-back Damon Benning. ``I think they complement each other

Before Frazier's injury, it was a safe bet that not many people could name
Nebraska's backup quarterbacks. Certainly not to the fourth-string, which is
how low Christo goes.

Berringer might just be stepping out of Frazier's shadow. He is with his

``Brook's an outstanding quarterback,'' Benning said. ``He's spent a lot of
his time in Frazier's shadow, but we know that he's a good quarterback in his
own right. He brings his own assets to the game.

``He shows good leadership out there. He's kind of taken control of the team.
He knows the team is his. It's important for him to show those qualities,
because it makes us believe in him.''



Nebraska quarterback Brook Berringer eludes diving Kay Blake and other
Missouri defenders while running down the sideline. (Mike Stewart photo)

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