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Friday, November 24, 2006

Huskers seeking momentum for title game

Colorado, meanwhile, sees today's game as chance for some redemption

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— Nebraska and Colorado enter their meeting today with different motivation.

The 23rd-ranked Cornhuskers (8-3, 5-2) have locked up the Big 12 North and are hoping to generate momentum for next week's conference championship game.

The Buffaloes (2-9, 2-5) are out to finish a disappointing season with a measure of satisfaction.

For the fifth time since 1984 there will be no bowl for the Buffs, who are in danger of losing a 10th game for only the third time in 117 years. This is an opportunity for them to knock off the team that former coach Bill McCartney in the 1980s designated as their chief rival.

"This is their biggest game," Nebraska receiver Maurice Purify said. "They're obviously going to try to ruin our season."

Colorado offensive lineman Brian Daniels said the Nebraska game remains a point of emphasis even though McCartney has been gone 12 years.

"I don't know if it can salvage the season, but it would sure make me feel better to go out on top and wreck Nebraska's Top 25 standing," Daniels said. "Being able to win there would go a long way in alleviating some of the pain from this year."

The Huskers, who won the Big 12 North for the first time since 1999, are trying to become the first North team to sweep its divisional games since Kansas State in 2003.

"Coach tells us that even though we have the North, it doesn't mean we can just relax," running back Brandon Jackson said. "We still have goals to accomplish - just winning the North, dominating it, going out and doing our best."

Nebraska is coming off a 28-27, come-from-behind victory at Texas A&M; on Nov. 11. A win would give the Huskers three in a row heading into the Dec. 2 conference championship game in Kansas City, Mo. The Huskers will play either Texas or Oklahoma, with the winner reaching a BCS game.

Callahan said he won't rest any of his personnel against Colorado.

"We've never talked about backing a player down," he said. "This is an important football game for us. We treat it seriously, like we do every game. Nothing has changed from how we approach this game."

Colorado will go for a second straight win for the first time since beating Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri in succession in the middle of the 2005 season.

The Buffs beat Iowa State 33-16 on Nov. 11, with Mell Holliday running for 126 yards and Bernard Jackson throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third.

It's the second straight year little is at stake in the Nebraska-Colorado series. Colorado had clinched the North going into last year's game, and Nebraska was playing to enhance its bowl position. The Huskers won 30-3.

In the old Big Eight, the game decided the champion in each of the conference's seven final years.

Nebraska has won seven of 10 against the Buffs since the game moved to the day after Thanksgiving in 1996, the first year of the Big 12.

"It's one of the big games on our schedule and certainly in the tradition of Colorado football," Buffs coach Dan Hawkins said.

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