This game wasn't just Frazier running the option, uncannily knowing when to turn upfield or when to flip the ball over to a Cornhuskers tailback, as he has done throughout his Nebraska career.
Yesterday, Frazier was the best passing quarterback on the field. He completed a career-high 14 of 23 passes for a career-high 241 yards and two touchdowns.
"We expected them to pass," Colorado linebacker Matt Russell said. "Just not as well as they did."
Nothing shook Frazier. In the second quarter, he got blindsided just as he was throwing, was hit square in the back, and still managed to get off a 35- yard completion.
"You should see him in practice," Nebraska fullback Jeff Makovicka said. ''He's got a cannon on him. You don't see the same Tommie Frazier in a game. A lot of our offense is pent-up. We've only started showing our whole offense in the last two games."
Nebraska showed some new looks from its very first play, surprising Colorado by putting an extra blocker on the left side instead of pulling a guard. Freshman tailback Ahman Green took a pitch from Frazier just as Frazier was getting hit and went 57 yards down the left sideline, completely untouched.
Colorado had to be perfect to have a chance, but it was the second-ranked Cornhuskers (8-0 overall, 4-0 Big Eight) who played mistake-free. No fumbles, no interceptions, no quarterback sacks and, for the first time since a 1976 game against Oklahoma, no penalties.
"It's a very hard job to both take away the run and also take away all the play-action things they do," Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel said after his team, hurt by two interceptions, fell out of the Big Eight and national championship races. "They are a real machine when they get rolling."
Unlike last year, when the Cornhuskers felt they had to campaign for the top spot because they couldn't play Penn State on the field, they are quite
satisfied to go to the Fiesta Bowl's national-championship showdown ranked No. 2.
"As long as we can stay either one or two, we've got a shot," linebacker Grant Wistrom said.
Frazier also is in contention for the Heisman Trophy, although he declines to show any interest.
"I'm just playing football," Frazier said. "I'm just out having fun. We have three games left. Anything can change between now and then."
Before the game, the Buffaloes stormed down to the field through the crowd, offering high-fives all the way down the steps, firing themselves up. A window opened on a balcony above one end zone and Buffaloes fullback Sulu Petaia, an American Samoan who is out for the season following knee surgery, emerged bare-chested to beat on a drum. The Folsom Field scoreboard blared WARTIME. Colorado players were hopping all around the field.
This was before Nebraska got out on the field.
The crowd was loud, but it couldn't be called a factor, other than the couple of times it forced Frazier to burn timeouts.
"At times the players said they couldn't hear, but we still changed the play," Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said. "Now how they knew what we changed it to, I don't know. Again, I think it has to do with the poise and leadership of Frazier. To play an error-free game is tough to do."
Right off the bat, the Buffaloes (6-2, 2-2) threw everything they had at the Cornhuskers. On their first series, they showed an option pitch, then three wide receivers lined up right, then two tight ends on a passing down, then no backs, then three receivers lined up left.
Then they punted. It was that kind of day for them.