Running back Rex Burkhead passed for two touchdowns and ran for 101 yards and another score as Nebraska clinched the Big 12 North with a 45-17 victory over Colorado Friday in their final meeting before they head to different conferences.
Nebraska (10-2, 6-2) will go to Arlington, Texas next Saturday hoping to win its third Big 12 title and first since 1999, before going to the Big Ten next year. Colorado (5-7, 2-6), which played its third game under interim coach Brian Cabral, failed to become bowl eligible in its last season before joining the Pacific-12.
With Taylor Martinez out because of injuries to his right ankle and left foot, the Huskers relied heavily on Burkhead to take pressure off backup quarterback Cody Green.
Burkhead went to the bench early in the second half when the Huskers converted three turnovers into touchdowns to break open the game. Before that, Burkhead, who finished with 19 carries, took handoffs and pitches from Green and direct snaps in the wildcat formation. He also showed he could still throw a little bit.
Burkhead, who played quarterback as a high school sophomore, gave Nebraska a 17-3 halftime lead after he took a pitch and started running to his right. He pulled up and lofted a perfect spiral over Colorado's Jalil Brown and into the hands of Brandon Kinnie for a 26-yard touchdown.
Burkhead's other TD pass was worthy of the season highlight video. Lined up in the wildcat, he faked a handoff and ran right, pumping once before he reversed field and headed left. He pushed away defensive end Forrest West and as he neared the sideline flipped a short pass to Kyler Reed for a 4-yard TD.
The Huskers capitalized on back-to-back interceptions of Cody Hawkins in the third quarter. DeJon Gomes got the first pick and Green passed 16 yards into the left corner of the end zone for Kinnie's second touchdown. Eric Hagg had the other interception, returning it 26 yards to the Colorado four before Burkhead threw his second TD pass.
Green scored from the one early in the fourth quarter after Gomes picked up Scotty McKnight's fumble and ran it 19 yards to the CU three. Green completed 10-of-13 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns and Roy Helu Jr. ran 15 times for 77 yards.
Fired Colorado coach Dan Hawkins watched from the press box as his son Cody became Colorado's all-time leading passer when he threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Will Jefferson. Hawkins was 10-of-26 for 163 yards and two TDs. He finished his career with 7,409 yards, breaking Joel Klatt's record of 7,375.