Hello everybody! This is my first article. It is about one of my passions, and I hope you all enjoy it.

They could never win the big games, is what the pundits said. Despite never winning a game less than 9 in a season, the Huskers under Tom Osborne were unable to win a National Title, or even a bowl game, it seemed. Beginning his career at Nebraska in 1964 as a volunteer under head coach Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne quickly rose to Offensive Coordinator of the team, and by 1971, he was the assistant head coach to the team, and helped coach them to back to back National Titles and was the head-coach-in-waiting.




Devaney (Left) and Osborne strategizing.



In 1973, Osborne inherited a team that in the past three years won two national titles, over LSU and Alabama, respectively, and produced a Heisman Trophy Winner in Johnny Rodgers in 1972. The team in 1971 was considered (and still is) by many, the greatest team ever. Aside from a 4-point victory over #2 Oklahoma, the closest game that season was a 41-13 rout over Oklahoma State.




Johnny Rodgers' electrifying punt return against Oklahoma in 1971.



These past accolades, however, proved to mean nothing to Osborne and his team. Until 1978, Nebraska failed to beat Oklahoma. On a positive note, though, Nebraska only lost two bowl games during the 1970s under Osborne, one of them being an Orange Bowl loss to the Oklahoma team that Osborne had beaten earlier in the 1978 season.




Tom Osborne's reaction after hearing that NU had to play Oklahoma in the 1978 Orange Bowl.



The early 1980s looked very promising for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska had two near-national titles. In 1982, the Huskers suffered a controversial loss to eventual National Champions Penn State. In 1983, on the wings of Heisman Winner Mike Rozier, the Huskers averaged 52 points per game, and were heaveily favored to win the National Title game against Miami. Losing for most of the game, Nebraska scored with roughly a minute left. A field goal would tie the game, but a two point conversion would outright win it. Osborne opted to go for two, and failed, thus losing the game (this was in an era with no overtime, and the team wanted to win the full title, not just a share of it).




Quarterback Turner Gill dropping back to pass for the two point conversion in the 1983 Orange Bowl.



The late 1980s and early 1990s were filled with 9 and 10 win seasons for the Big Red, yet they managed to lose SEVEN straight bowl games, many being blow-out losses, beginning with the 1987 season, and culminating in two-point loss for the National Title in the 1993 season to Florida State. It should be noted, though, that throughout these years, all but one of the Bowl losses was to a Florida school, and that four of the Bowl games (1989-Miami, 1990-Georgia Tech, 1991-Miami, 1993-Florida State) were losses to that years' National Champions.




While this picture was taken after the 1993 16-18 Orange Bowl loss to Florida State, it also accurately sums up much of the last decade for the Huskers.



In 1992, however, change was in the air. A new freshman quarterback was in town, and he went by the name Tommie Frazier. In his first year as a starter, Nebraska lost three games, one of them being to Iowa State, marking both the only time an Osborne team lost to ISU, as well as the only time that an Osborne team lost to an unranked opponent. In 1993, as a sophomore, Frazier led the team to an undefeated regular season before losing the National Title by two points to Florida State. In 1994, Frazier went down with bloodclots mid-season, but reliable back-up Brook Berringer filled in seamlessly. Berringer even was out for a game, and walk-on third-team quarterback Matt Turman led Nebraska to victory over Kansas State. By the end of the season, though, Frazier was back and started int he Orange Bowl against Miami. In the second half, Osborne elected to go for two in the same end zone that he failed to convert in exactly 10 years prior, this time succeeding and aiding Nebraska in its 24-17 win for the National Championship, and the first for Osborne as a head coach.




Fullback Corey Schlessinger rumbling into the endzone for a touchdown against Miami in the National Title Game.



1995 proved to be a the best season ever for Nebraska, and arguably for any college football team ever. The closest margin of victory for the team that year was 14 points, and Nebraska managed to beat four top 10 foes that year by an average score of 49-18. Senior quarterback Tommie Frazier was the Heisman runner-up in 1995, and a 62-24 win over the favored Florida Gators capped the season for Nebraska, and gave them their second National Title under Osborne. This was also the only time since the 1970-71 Cornhuskers won back to back titles that ANY team has won consecutive titles, as well as the only teams to win consensus back-to-back titles since Oklahoma in 1955-56, both feats still standing today. While there was much on-the-field success in 1995 for the Huskers, standout running back Lawrence Phillips did tarnish the season by assaulting a woman and drawing negative media attention. Two days before the NFL Draft, reserve quarterback Brook Berringer died in a plane crash. He was projected to be drafted that year.




Tommie Frazier en route to the endzone in the National Title Game against Florida. He broke seven tackles this play.



The 1996 season started optimistically, but with much of the last years' team in the NFL, and a new transfer quarterback in Scott Frost, Nebraska managed to be shut out by Arizona State in the second game of the season,as well as lose a close game to Texas in the first-ever Big 12 title game. In Osborne's last season, senior quarterback Frost led Nebraska over a thrilling overtime victory against Missouri, as well as a thumping of a Peyton Manning-led Tennessee in the Orange Bowl to cap Osborne's career by sharing the National Title with Michigan.




Matt Davison making a miraculous catch as time expires to put the Missouri game into overtime in 1997.



Over his 25 year career as the Head Coach at Nebraska, Tom Osborne went 255-49-3, averaged 10 wins per season, and never won less than 9 games in a season. While playing regularly tough bowl games, Osborne managed to go 12-13. Only 2 years after retiring, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and despite coaching only 80% of the decade, Osborne won ESPN's Coach of the Decade for the 1990s. In his final eight years as a coach, Osborne lost only 11 games, with 5 of them being the National Champions in that year (Colorado, Ga Tech-1990, Washington, Miami-1991, Florida State-1993). Osborne won 250 games faster than any coach in history, finished in the top 15 in the nation 24 times, and was ranked in AP Poll every week except for the over his 25 year career. Going 60-3 over a five season period (1993-97) is still an NCAA record, and with a winning percentage of 83.6% made Osborne the winningest coach among active coaches at the time of his retirement.

For anyone wanting to see some great highlights, check out the link to the video below. Aside from the "Rudy" music, the video really is great. It shows a lot of key moments in Husker Football. Many of the plays shown above are featured in the video, as well as a ton more. Thanks for reading, I hope you all enjoyed the article, even if you are not Husker (or college football, in general) fans.

Video Link- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8oxg9xheXs