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Nebraska beats Colorado, clinches Big 12 North

Nov 27, 2010 - 6:05 AM Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Rex Burkhead accounted for three touchdowns -- one rushing and two passing -- as No. 16 Nebraska punched its ticket to the Big 12 Championship game with a 45-17 victory over Colorado.

Burkhead rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and also threw two touchdown passes totaling 30 yards for Nebraska (10-2, 6-2 Big 12), which will head to the Big Ten following this season.

Cody Green, who started in place of injured quarterback Taylor Martinez, threw for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 10-of-13 passing and also scored one rushing touchdown in the victory.

Cody Hawkins threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 10-of-26 passing, but was intercepted twice for Colorado (5-7, 2-6), which needed a win to become bowl eligible.

"My hat is off to the Nebraska Cornhuskers," said Colorado head coach Brian Cabral. "They outplayed us. They made more plays and we didn't.

"We didn't make the plays we needed to make, so my hat is off. They rebounded from their loss in great fashion. My hat is off to them."

Paul Richardson caught two passes for 62 yards and a score and Will Jefferson tallied a receiving touchdown for the Buffaloes, who will make the move to the newly expanded Pac-10 conference next season.

Nebraska led 38-17 entering the fourth and was forced to punt on its opening possession. The Cornhuskers got the ball back on the following play as Colorado's Scotty Knight was stripped on a short-yardage pass that DeJon Gomez returned to the Buffaloes' three-yard line.

Green got his rushing score two plays later, taking the keeper between the tackles at 12:55 to account for the game's final score.

Nebraska opened the scoring with an Alex Henery 42-yard field goal with 5:13 left in the first.

Continuing a drive from the end of the first quarter, the Nebraska offense added a Burkhead two-yard score at 13:47 in the second to jump out to a 10-0 advantage.

Colorado got on the board with an Aric Goodman 22-yard field goal on its following drive.

With 49 seconds left in the half Nebraska extended its lead to 17-3 when, after taking a pitch from Green, Burkhead hit Brandon Kinnie in stride down the right sideline for a 26-yard touchdown.

"Nothing Rex does surprises me," said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. "He's a tremendous football player, tremendous kid...They ought to put his picture next to football player in the dictionary because he just does so many things to help you and he's a tremendous kid, tremendous individual. He epitomizes what this program is all about."

Burkhead, who is traditionally a running back, saw multiple opportunities in the Wildcat offense throughout the game.

Colorado received the second half kickoff and on the third play of the first drive Hawkins was picked off by Gomez, giving Nebraska the ball back at the Buffaloes' 43.

After working the ball down to the Colorado 16, Kinnie grabbed his second touchdown of the game, this time off Green's 16-yard pass, to put Nebraska up 24-3, just inside 12 minutes.

Like clockwork, Hawkins threw another pick on the second play of the following drive that Eric Hagg brought back to the Colorado four. On the next play, Burkhead took the direct snap and after running to the right side, cut back to his left. While heading for the sideline he threw a short pass to Kyler Reed in the end zone to put the Huskers up 31-3.

The Buffaloes stopped the Huskers' highlight reel as they added a 50-yard Hawkins-to-Richardson touchdown that pulled them within 31-10 with 8:19 left in the third.

Colorado attempted an onsides kick, but the ball bounced out of bounds. Green added his second passing score of the game nine plays later when he hit Reed for a one-yard dump pass.

Colorado was driving in the final minutes of the quarter and Hawkins hit Will Jefferson for a 29-yard score as time expired to cut the deficit to 38-17 heading to the fourth.

Game Notes

This was the 69th and final meeting between these two schools as conference rivals, Nebraska holds the all-time record 49-18-2... Since the Big 12 was formed Colorado and Nebraska have met in their regular-season finales every year... Nebraska was without Martinez, who has an ankle injury, and Niles Paul, who has a broken foot...Roy Helu Jr. finished with 77 yards on 15 carries for Nebraska... The Huskers converted on 11-of-17 third down opportunities.