Mizzou bursts NU’s bubble

I-back Rick Berns broke the school single-game rushing record with 255 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening play, against Missouri in 1978. But the Huskers lost 35-31.

the Lincoln Journal Star

Nov. 18, 1978

The Nebraska football team and its fans were euphoric. The Huskers had defeated top-ranked Oklahoma and Billy Sims 17-14 the week before and were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. They were ranked No. 2 and on the verge of playing Penn State for the national championship.

Then coach Warren Powers brought his Missouri Tigers to town and burst NU’s bubble. Despite a school single-game-record 255 rushing yards by Rick Berns, the Tigers and James Wilder were too much for Nebraska. Wilder ran for 181 yards and four touchdowns in Missouri’s 35-31 victory.

“We didn’t want to get into a scoring contest with them,” NU coach Tom Osborne said, “but that’s what happened. They had trouble stopping us, but we couldn’t stop them.”

The loss consigned the Huskers to an unenviable fate — a rematch with the Sooners in the Orange Bowl. NU lost 31-24.

— Julie Koch