LINCOLN, Neb. — A tired Tom Rathman all but exhausted Colorado's upset hopes Saturday when he dashed 84 yards for a touchdown to snap a tie and send No. 5 Nebraska to a 17-7 victory.
Rathman, a 6-foot, 200-pound senior, took the ball from quarterback Travis Turner, cut off left guard and then ran down the right sideline, outracing two Colorado defenders to fall into the end zone and put Nebraska ahead, 14-7, late in the third quarter.
Dale Klein's fourth-quarter field goal ended the scoring.
"I was pretty tired, but I was feeling pretty good at the time," said Rathman, who finished with 115 yards.
"There are not too many people his size who can block like he can and can also run a 70- or 80-yard play," Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said. "He is a remarkably good player."
Nebraska, 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Eight Conference, ranked second in rushing in the NCAA going into the game. The Huskers finished the day with 332 yards on the ground and 445 yards in total offense while holding Colorado (5-2, 2-1) to 151 yards rushing and 218 total yards.
The Buffaloes ranked fourth in the NCAA in rushing entering the game.
Bill McCartney, who is in his fourth year as Colorado coach, said the game would be the most important in his career. He said he was proud of how the Buffaloes played.
"Our Buffs have grown up, we're really proud of them," he said. "When you get a defense to play that successfully against one of the best offenses in the country you've got a lot to build on."
Osborne said he was impressed with the strength of Colorado.
"We beat a very good football team," he said. "Our offense as the game went on got better. We wanted to run at them, run at them, run at them."
Colorado drove 70 yards on 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a run by backup quarterback Craig Keenan. Starting quarterback Rick Wheeler directed most of the 70-yard, 10-play drive but hurt his left knee on a seven-yard run.
Keenan replaced Wheeler and completed passes of 10 and 17 yards before scoring on a two-yard run.
Nebraska scored in the second quarter on a one-yard run by I-back Doug DuBose after Colorado twice had stopped the Huskers on the one-yard line. DuBose finished with 125 yards in 26 carries.
Klein came into the game with a school-record nine straight field goals, but missed two attempts before connecting on a 32-yarder. A week ago, he set an NCAA record by kicking 7 of 7 field goals against Missouri.