By Eric Olson
AP Sports Writer
LINCOLN (AP)—No one from the Big 12 staff was on hand to present Nebraska the North Division trophy it won by beating Colorado 45-17 Friday, and that’s all right with coach Bo Pelini.
For him, there’s no satisfaction at the end of Nebraska’s Big 12 Conference farewell tour unless commissioner Dan Beebe hands the league championship trophy to the Huskers this Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.
“We’re only halfway there,’’ Pelini said. “It was fun to win the Big 12 North, but we still have got some unfinished business. That wasn’t our main goal, but it’s a goal we had to reach. It’s part of the process.’’
The Cornhuskers will face 10-2 Oklahoma after they beat Oklahoma State 47-41 to emerge from a three-way tie for the Big 12 South title. The Huskers will be seeking their third Big 12 title, and first since 1999, before going to the Big 10 next year.
Memories of last year linger
Nebraska (10-2, 6-2) had national championship hopes to start the season, but the underlying theme for 2010 was to make it back to Cowboys Stadium and win the title that went to Texas last year, when it kicked the winning field goal after one second was put back on the clock.
“Oh, it means a lot. That’s still in the back of our minds. I’m not going to lie,’’ said running back Rex Burkhead, who ran for 101 yards and a touchdown and passed for two others in Friday’s win.
The “destination Dallas’’ goal became more urgent over the summer when Nebraska announced it would join the Big 10 and that this would be its last year in the Big 12.
Nebraska’s departure, along with Colorado’s move to the Pac-12 next year, threatened the existence of the Big 12. In Nebraska’s case, the divorce has been contentious, starting with the Huskers’ challenge of the amount of money it should pay as an exit fee under Big 12 bylaws.
The Huskers haven’t been happy about the officiating in several of their games this season, especially in last week’s 9-6 loss at Texas A&M. The Huskers were penalized 16 times, including seven personal fouls, and the Aggies were flagged twice.
The disparity and nature of some of the calls left Pelini in a rage on the sideline and, according to Beebe, spawned a flood of nasty and threatening e-mails from fans to his office.
Beebe told Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne last week that neither he nor anyone from his staff would go to Lincoln to present the North Division trophy because of safety concerns.
Buff win clinches north title
The Cornhuskers’ beat Colorado 45-17 to lock up the Big 12 North title last Friday without starting quarterback Taylor Martinez.
With 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, 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.
Students wave yellow flags
The Nebraska student section played off Pelini’s complaints about penalties in the A&M game, showing up with yellow flags that they waved en masse whenever it looked like a penalty was or wasn’t warranted.
The Huskers are in the Big 12 title game for the second straight year. A win will give them the ultimate going away present from the Big 12.