3Countdown to USC - Five best opponents to visit Memorial Stadium, No. 3 Counting down the five best Nebraska opponents to visit Memorial Stadium since 1978. • No. 5: Florida State, 1980 • No. 4: Colorado, Nov. 3, 1990 If you had uttered "triplets" in 1994, football fans would've pictured the Dallas Cowboys' three stars: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. But college football that fall had its own dynamic trio: Kordell Stewart, Rashaan Salaam and Michael Westbrook. Behind them, Colorado had gone to Michigan and won on a Stewart-to-Westbrook "Hail Mary." It had beaten four additional ranked foes by an average of 23 points. Salaam, the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, had blitzed Texas for 317 yards rushing. Rare was an offense of such potency and balance. Meanwhile, the third-ranked Huskers had lost Tommie Frazier to blood clots. Backup Brook Berringer was still recovering from a collapsed lung. And Nebraska had lost 12 straight games to top five foes. No. 2 Colorado seemed the reasonable pick. By halftime, the Buffs trailed 17-0 and reason made no sense. Berringer completed 12 of 17 throws, including a 30-yard touchdown to Eric Alford early in the third quarter. Colorado possessed the ball for just 21 minutes, finished 0-for-15 on third and fourth downs and never sniffed the Huskers, losing 24-7. The win vaulted Nebraska to its first national title in 23 years. Colorado also finished the season strong, beating Notre Dame 41-24 in the Fiesta Bowl. But Nebraska marred an otherwise spotless record. "We practiced for the things they were going to do," said CU coach Bill McCartney, "but maybe the speed was something we couldn't prepare for." Nebraska linebacker Troy Dumas explained it another way: "We pounded away and punished them from the first snap until the last." —Dirk Chatelain Countdown to USC - Five best opponents to visit Memorial Stadium, No. 4 • No. 5: Florida State, 1980 • No. 4: Colorado, Nov. 3, 1990 When Colorado showed up at Memorial Stadium on a cold, rainy night in the fall of 1990, no one considered it a national title contender. The Buffaloes, who hadn't won in Lincoln since 1967, already had one loss and one tie. They were ranked No. 7 and No. 9 in the polls. It was No. 2 Nebraska who seemed on the cusp of something big. Late in the third quarter, just minutes after the public address announcer informed a snuggled crowd that top-ranked Virginia had lost to Georgia Tech, NU quarterback Mickey Joseph found Johnny Mitchell for a 46-yard touchdown to give Nebraska a 12-0 lead. A blowout was coming, but not the kind Nebraska expected. Over the next 16 minutes, Colorado quarterback Darian Hagan handed to Eric Bieniemy again and again and Nebraska's interior line wilted in the cold. Down 13-12 midway through the fourth quarter, Tom Osborne attempted a fake punt from his own territory. It failed, and Bieniemy scored his third and fourth touchdowns of the quarter to ice it. Walking off the field, the No. 7 Buffs proclaimed their new dominance of the Big Eight Conference. Dominance was short-lived — CU wouldn't beat Nebraska again until 2001 — but that fourth quarter began a run to the Orange Bowl, where a 10-9 victory over Notre Dame produced Colorado's only national championship.