11 – Matt Turman. As a walk-on from Wahoo, his selection has nothing to do with his statistics or ability. Ask anyone, anywhere outside of Nebraska football about the “Turmanator” and they will not have a clue. In 1994, Turman was thrown under center against Oklahoma State when Brook Berringer suffered a collapsed lung and Tommie Frazier was already sidelined with blood clots. The following game vs. #16 Kansas State and Heisman hopeful QB Chad May, Turman started and successfully handed the ball off to Lawrence Phillips while committing zero turnovers and guided the Huskers to a 17-6 win. Although Berringer would return against #2 Colorado several weeks later, Turman proved to be an integral part to Tom Osborne’s first National Championship. Turman would play sparingly the rest of his career behind Frazier, Berringer, and Scott Frost, but for a few weeks in 1994 he was a hero. Turman has since gone on to coach high school football at Omaha Skutt Catholic.
12 – Turner Gill. As a three year starter from 1981-1983, Turner Gill compiled an outstanding 28-2 record. In 1983, Gill, along with Mike Rozier and Irving Fryar, guided the “Scoring Explosion” to 547 yards/game and an average of 53 points/game, which many still consider the most potent offense in college football history. Sadly, in the Orange Bowl that year after Rozier was injured and Fryar threw the game, Gill’s two point conversion fell short in a 31-30 loss to Miami in what still remains the most gut wrenching Husker football game ever. Gill was a three time All-Big 8 selection, second-team All-American in ’83, and a 4th place finisher in the Heisman balloting that year. When his time was done, Gill finished his career with 3,317 yards passing with 34 TDs and 11 Ints. Gill also became the first QB at Nebraska to finish his career with over a 1,000 yards rushing with 1,593 yards and 18 TDs. After a brief two year stint in the CFL, Gill returned to coaching as an assistant at Nebraska from 1992-2004 and eventually as the head coach of the Buffalo Bulls from 2004-present. Bet on him becoming the next head coach at Syracuse next season.
Here is the video of the final minutes of the 1984 Orange Bowl – good quality but don’t watch on a full stomach.
And of course, the “Scoring Explosion”….
13 – Carlos Polk. As an All-American out of high school, Polk still ranks among one of the best high school defensive players statistically to ever come out of Illinois. In 1999 and 2000, Carlos became the anchor to one of the best defenses in college football. He was a first team All-Big 12 selection in both of those years and a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award in 2000. Polk would finish his career with 227 tackles, 32 tackles for losses, and 10 sacks. Carlos was a two-time selection to the Big 12 academic honor roll in 1997 and 2000. In 2001, Polk was drafted in the fourth round by the San Diego Chargers and remained there until this year when he was cut shortly after training camp.
14 – Jerry Tagge. Behind only Zac Taylor and Dave Humm, Tagge still remains third in the all-time Nebraska career passing record book with over 4,700 yards. Amazingly, his completion percentage of 63% in the 1971 season still is a Nebraska single season record. In Tagge’s final two seasons in 1970 and 1971, he guided the Huskers to their first ever National Championships while along the way gathering All-Big 8 and All-America honors in 1971. In those two years, the only smudge on the schedule came in 1970 where Nebraska was a two-touchdown underdog to USC. Tagge and Johnny Rodgers (who was snubbed by USC) hooked up for two touchdowns and left the Coliseum with a 21-21 tie. Tagge’s most memorable moment came in the 1970 Orange Bowl where he scored the game winning touchdown vs. LSU in the 4th quarter. He would win the “Most Outstanding Back” award in both the ‘71 and ‘72 Orange Bowls. After being drafted 7th overall by the Green Bay Packers, Tagge would go on to become a colossal NFL bust.
15 – Tommie Frazier. The greatest big game player Nebraska has ever had. The best player Nebraska has ever had. Along with having #15 retired at Nebraska, Frazier was also voted as one of “Top 10 Greatest Players of the Century” by Sport magazine. Frazier lead Nebraska to four straight New Year’s bowl games. In the 1994 Orange Bowl vs. Florida State and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, Frazier almost lead the 18 point underdog and undefeated Huskers to a miracle win if not for Byron Bennett’s horribly inaccurate leg, a mysterious block in the back on a punt return for a touchdown, and a missed fumble that gave Florida State a free seven points. Regardless, Frazier would still win “Most Outstanding Player” of that game in an 18-16 loss. Next year, after battling blood clots for most of the season, Frazier would score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter of the 1995 Orange Bowl vs. Miami to give Tom Osborne his first National Championship. In his senior season in 1995, Frazier lead the greatest football of all-time to the most dominant season in college football history. With Lawrence Phillips and Ahman Green in the backfield, the Huskers rushed for 7.0 yards/carry as a team which is a NCAA record that will never be broken. In the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, Frazier won his 3rd straight National Championship game MVP (only player ever to accomplish that feat) as the Huskers crushed Florida 62-24 behind his 199 yards rushing with two TDs and 105 yards passing with one TD. Shockingly, Kirk Herbstreit and the Heisman voters of 1995 still think Eddie George was better. Wow. Frazier would go on to coach Doane College in Nebraska in 2005 and 2006 to a dismal 3-17 record.
The great, great career highlights of Tommie Frazier…
Greatest Huskers By Number: