BOULDER, Colo. — The T-shirts advertised the message but they meant nothing without the delivery.
That came Friday with football so dominant you wouldn't have guessed which team was the two-touchdown favorite and budding Big 12 North champion and which team was apparently limping to the finish line.
"Restore the Order, " the shirts read — almost pled — and for 3 1/2 hours Nebraska fans could actually feel it was happening.
"After a while, enough is enough and you can only take so much," NU senior defensive lineman Titus Adams said. "You've got to do something about it or just give up. We did something about it."
Nebraska shoved a 30-3 victory down Colorado's throat Friday before a sellout crowd of 54,841 at Folsom Field. How's that for restoring order?
"Colorado's been talking about being at the top of the Big 12 now and taking everything away from Nebraska," NU quarterback Zac Taylor said. "We wanted to get this program back where it belongs, and it starts right here on Colorado's home field."
One game won't do it, obviously. But one game managed to show progress that wasn't readily visible the past month and maybe threw a bone to Husker fans thinking this season suddenly wasn't looking a whole lot different than the last.
"It's unbelievable," Taylor said. "This is finally the game we've been waiting to play."
Taylor threw for 392 yards and two touchdowns as the Nebraska offense generated 497 total yards. Taylor routinely hit receivers running free through the Colorado secondary, completing 27 of 48 passes without an interception.
"I just felt that there were some really good things we could take advantage of," NU coach Bill Callahan said. "But you still have to make plays."
The Husker defense allowed an opening-drive field goal and then no more, holding CU to 212 yards. The Buffs went one stretch of 11 straight possessions without getting inside the NU 40-yard line.
"I did not see this coming in any way," said CU coach Gary Barnett, who later added: "They just played harder and better, more than anything else."
The Big 12 North championship Colorado could have clinched now hangs on today's Iowa State-Kansas game. The lower-level bowl invitation Nebraska was anticipating could be replaced by something a little better.
Remember not long ago when Callahan was asked if he were the NU athletic director would he fire himself? The real athletic director, Steve Pederson, was smiling Friday and feeling vindicated, at least for a few moments, about the coaching change that went down two years ago.
Callahan looked emotional starting his postgame press conference. He took a bear hug from defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove on the field that had to hurt. He waved to Husker fans who sounded ready to forgive him for the 11-10 two-year record he carried into Friday.
"I think it's such a huge win for our team and for our program, to do this," Callahan said. "To win in the fashion and the style that we did — on the road, on national television, in front of America — it spoke volumes for the character and the pride of our kids."
Nebraska (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) finally sampled the luxury of playing with a lead, going ahead 10-3 on Taylor's 19-yard touchdown pass to I-back Cory Ross six plays into the second quarter.
The Huskers' next two possessions ended with Cody Glenn scoring on a 1-yard run and Jordan Congdon kicking a 30-yard field goal. Leading 20-3, they shut down Colorado in the third quarter and added Taylor's 21-yard TD pass to Nate Swift.
Everything, for once, seemed to go Nebraska's way. Ross and Taylor epitomized that on a second-quarter trick play that went from failing to producing 25 yards.
Taylor lateraled to Ross, who threw back to Taylor. The quarterback thought better of going deep to a well-covered Terrence Nunn and instead dumped a pass back to an alert Ross who wandered down the right side.
"That play was kind of funny," Ross said.
Several other things weren't that amusing Friday.
Pregame warmups concluded with Colorado antagonizing NU near midfield and Callahan among those trying to separate the teams. Debris came out of the stands on several occasions. Two different fans ran onto the field during breaks. Students had to be cleared from two sections in the fourth quarter.
After the mayhem came "Restore the Order." Some Huskers raised jerseys to show off the T-shirts coming off the field. Others like linebacker Bo Ruud donned them during postgame interviews.
"All year when we'd be talking to the press it was, 'We didn't do this good, ' or we knew we weren't playing our best," Ruud said. "But you could see today we played at another level that we've been trying to get to. It finally came out today."
|Yards per carry||2.7||2.5|
Nebraska is 49-20 all-time against Colorado.
|Wake Forest||Sept. 10|
|Iowa State||Oct. 1|
|Texas Tech||Oct. 8|
|Kansas State||Nov. 12|
Nebraska has played 21 games on Nov. 25. See them all »
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