"We needed to win impressively," said Nebraska rover Mike Brown. "I don't think this looks very impressive. Do you?" Nope. The Cornhuskers squandered a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter and had all but conceded the game as the Buffaloes' Jeremy Aldrich lined up to attempt a 34-yard field goal with the score tied at 27-27 and only one second left. "Man, it really looked bleak," said Nebraska junior I-back Dan Alexander, who rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns but mishandled a pitch that set up Colorado's final drive with 1:43 to play. "I thought, Hey, this game is over, and it's all my fault. It was kind of depressing."
Aldrich's kick sailed right, and his 33-yarder in overtime didn't atone for the miss, because the Huskers answered with a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Eric Crouch. Even in the locker room afterward, they didn't celebrate much. How could they? They'd won the game, but they'd lost a chance to make up ground and possibly squeeze into the national championship game.
Coaches in North Carolina
A Game of Inches
On the night of Nov. 11, with 88 seconds left in the game between North Carolina and North Carolina State, Tar Heels corner-back Errol Hood stopped Wolfpack wide receiver Chris Coleman at North Carolina's one-yard line on fourth down to preserve a 10-6 Tar Heels upset victory. When the game ended, North Carolina coach Carl Torbush embraced his friend and rival, N.C. State coach Mike O'Cain, at midfield. Torbush, who had brought a 1-8 team into the game, was fighting for his job. The Wolfpack fell to 6-5 but could still have qualified for a bowl game.
One of those coaches got fired last week, but it wasn't Torbush. O'Cain, whose Wolfpack fell—along with its hope for a postseason berth—to East Carolina 23-6 on Nov. 20, lost his job after compiling a mediocre 41-40 record in seven seasons.
Go back to Nov. 11. If Hood hadn't made that game-saving tackle, Torbush wouldn't have kept his job, and O'Cain would be taking North Carolina State to a bowl. Every play counts, indeed.
Oklahoma State's Stumble
Cowboys' Lost Opportunity
Oklahoma State's 44-7 loss to Oklahoma flips the pressure in that state onto Cowboys coach Bob Simmons. The Sooners stunk the three seasons before this one, yet the Cowboys didn't raise their level of play and seize the recruiting advantage. In fact, after going to a bowl two years ago, Oklahoma State has had consecutive 5-6 seasons.