The distance: 18 yards
The star: Corey Dixon
The date: Dec. 5, 1992
The outcome: Huskers 38, Kansas State 24
Tom Osborne said his first instinct when approached about playing Kansas State in Japan “was ambivalence.”
His coaching staff didn’t know what to think, either.
“We talked to the players … players are always enthusiastic to try something new, so they said they’d like to do it,” Osborne said, shortly before Nebraska headed overseas.
“Now, there’s a few of them probably wondering whether they did the right thing or not.”
And that’s the short version of why Nebraska once won a Big Eight Conference championship in Tokyo.
The teams were originally scheduled to play that October in Manhattan, Kan., but had agreed that spring to move the game, in what Japan was calling the Coca-Cola Bowl.
Each team was guaranteed $200,000 (minus the approximate $9,000 spent on passports). Entourages from both schools left on the same plane the Tuesday before the game for the 13-hour flight. They also shared the same return flight.
Osborne joked about using the same ticket prices — $230 for one of the best seats in the Tokyo Dome — for Nebraska’s home game the following year against K-State.
About 500 Nebraska fans attended game, and some 100 from K-State. The rest of the sellout crowd of 50,000 were locals.
“Can you imagine that? … $230 and then not even understand what you’re seeing out there,” Osborne said. “It’ll be a little bizarre.”
Nebraska opened the scoring on freshman quarterback Tommie Frazier’s fake handoff to Lance Lewis and roll-out pass to wingback Corey Dixon deep in the end zone. The 18-yard touchdown — the first in NU history outside U.S. soil — came with 6:35 to play in the first quarter.
The Huskers stretched the lead to 21-0 and were never seriously threatened. Those who stayed up and listened to the radio broadcast — the game kicked off at 10 p.m. in Lincoln and wasn’t televised — heard Nebraska win its first Big Eight crown since 1988.
A loss would’ve given the title to Colorado, which went 5-1-1. NU finished 6-1 in conference play.