LINCOLN — Trick plays were the order of the day in Friday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, but Brandon Jackson wasn't involved in any of them.
That doesn't mean Jackson didn't have a big role in a win that allowed the Huskers to roll into next week's Big 12 championship game with a 37-14 victory over Colorado before a Memorial Stadium record crowd of 85,800.
Jackson carried the ball 34 times for 142 yards to help the Huskers improve to 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12. That 6-2 record included a perfect 5-0 mark against the Big 12 North.
Jackson also caught six passes for 42 yards, including an 18-yard scoring grab in the fourth quarter that helped put the game away.
"He's an (All-Big 12) back in my opinion," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "He made a huge play on the wheel route there in the south end in the fourth quarter that was huge. He got isolated on the 'Mike' linebacker and wheeled him up, then made a terrific catch in the end zone."
Jackson's 41 all-purpose attempts tied the school record set by Lawrence Phillips against Iowa State on Nov. 12, 1994. Callahan said Jackson also did a great job as a blocker as well.
"He's a complete back. He surely demonstrated that today as you watched him play," Callahan said. "Those plays go unnoticed, but not by this staff. We commend him for his efforts and his ability to make those things happen."
Jackson said it was important for the Huskers to beat Colorado and finish unbeaten against Big 12 North competition.
"It was one of our goals," Jackson said. "Coming into the season coach talked about how we had to dominate the North to get back to where we were when Nebraska was winning national championships and Big 12 championships."
Nebraska offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said the Huskers have a number of backs who could carry the ball 30 times if needed.
"Brandon is a tough, physical back," Norvell said. "He runs hard. He gives you everything he has out there. He's an all-purpose guy. His return yards, his receiving yards, they were all big today. That's just a tribute to his competitiveness."
When the game was over, the Huskers celebrated the Big 12 North title with a trophy presentation in the center of the field. Adam Carriker, who had a big day with seven tackles including two sacks, hoisted the trophy high above his head as the crowd roared.
Nebraska cornerback Andre Jones said he had never been a part of anything like the Big 12 North title.
"I give thanks for this whole staff and this whole team because they've showed me so much love even giving me a chance," Jones said. "I'm a part of something great, one of the greatest things I've ever seen. I've never been a part of something like this.
"I still sometimes don't understand the magnitude of it, but I'm starting to get there. I'm learning of how important this team is and I'm very appreciative of just being alive to play this game."
Callahan said the fact that the Huskers went unbeaten against the North made it that much sweeter.
"I think it's awfully tough to go through a division undefeated in this day and age," Callahan said. "I'm really proud of that accomplishment. I'm proud that we finished 6-2 in conference play and only lost one game at home and that was by two points."
This game was in doubt well into the fourth quarter. The Buffalos (2-10, 2-6) tied the game at 14 on a 45-yard TD run by Mell Holliday with 11 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
"My hat goes off to Colorado," Callahan said. "They came in here and gave everything they had. They fought hard. You saw some of the hits they had out there. Their record is not indicative of the team that they can be.
"We have a lot of respect for Colorado, for their players and their coaches. They came in here with a whole different offense that we hadn't seen or prepared for. We had to adjust on the fly at the half."
The Huskers responded a bit later with a 65-yard drive to retake the lead on a 2-yard run by Jackson.
NU took that 21-14 lead into the fourth quarter, but then began to pull away. A safety by Carriker and Corey McKeon made it 23-14 early in the fourth, then came Zac Taylor's 18-yard TD pass to Jackson to up the lead to 30-14.
"I'm truly proud of the way we came back in the second half," Callahan said. "We talked about our second-half execution and performance at great lengths. I was really pleased with the way we came out in the second half and gained momentum and took over in the end."
The Huskers completed the scoring on a Kenny Wilson 7-yard TD run with just 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
"I was proud of Kenny Wilson," Norvell said. "That was a big-time run he had there at the end."
Callahan was also proud of the senior class of 19 players who played their final game at Memorial Stadium.
"We opened the day with an isolation play in honor of (fullback) Dane Todd," Callahan said. "We figured he'd blocked enough isolation that we'd give him one more.
"I'm proud of all those guys. I could sit here and list all 19 of them. They all contributed to this football team's success in a lot of different ways. Not everybody is all-conference, but they have the heart of a champion."
Now the Huskers set their attention on the Big 12 championship game Dec. 2 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The Huskers will play Oklahoma if the Sooners beat Oklahoma State today.
If the Cowboys win, then Nebraska will play Texas in a rematch of an Oct. 21 game the Longhorns won 22-20 at Memorial Stadium.
"We're excited about going to Arrowhead and being a part of a championship game," Callahan said. "We don't have much to say about who we'll play, but we're excited to win the North."