Finally, Tom Osborne will leave Miami with the ultimate souvenir.
Osborne's Nebraska team beat Miami 24-17 Sunday night in the 61st Orange Bowl, all but giving the Cornhuskers their first national title in the 22 years Osborne has been their coach.
Tommie Frazier, the beleaguered Bradenton quarterback who had been sidelined since Sept. 24 with blood clots in his right leg, came off the bench to lead the Cornhuskers to the winning points. Fullback Cory Schlesinger raced in from 14 yards with 2:46 to play to give Nebraska the lead.Nebraska's coronation should be official on Tuesday. Second-ranked Penn State _ which is also unbeaten _ plays Oregon in the Rose Bowl this afternoon, but even a lopsided victory over the 12th-ranked Ducks will probably not help the Nittany Lions and Joe Paterno.
No top-ranked team has won its bowl game and failed to remain No. 1. And winning dramatically against the third-ranked Hurricanes, on their home field, will surely weigh in Nebraska's favor.
On Sunday night, the Cornhuskers (13-0) trailed 10-0 and 17-7, but battled back. The defense posted a safety by sacking Miami quarterback Frank Costa. Then Frazier, who started the game but was benched after an ineffective first quarter, rallied the Cornhuskers to two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Nebraska won back-to-back national championships in 1970 and 1971 under Bob Devaney. Osborne, 57, took over in 1973 and has enjoyed tremendous success _ a 219-47-3 record and 22 straight bowl appearances _ but has not won a national championship.
Osborne had come close before _ perhaps no closer than here on this same Orange Bowl field.
In 1984 against Miami, the Cornhuskers failed on a two-point conversion with 48 seconds left and lost 31-30.
Then last year against Florida State, the Cornhuskers lost 18-16 when Bryon Bennett missed a 45-yard field goal on the final play of the game.
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