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Colorado shocks Danger, 41-28

By Tony Chapman
Staff Writer

Nebraska and Colorado are the top two teams in the Intense Conference for a reason. And the battle of two of the top defenses in the IFL was just that for a half on Thursday night at the Heartland Events Center.

After Nebraska took the lead early in the second half, Colorado almost turned the game into a rout after halftime. The Ice used the big play on offense and an outstanding defensive game plan to snap the Danger's 14-game home win streak to earn a 41-28 win in front of nearly 3,300 fans.

"You have to give Colorado a whole bunch of credit," Nebraska coach Mike Davis said. "They had a heck of a game plan and we allowed way too many big plays on defense. Against a good team, you can't do that and expect to win."

One play, seemingly, did the trick for Colorado who scored four of their five touchdowns on plays of 40 yards or more.

After Nebraska took a 20-17 lead on Kayne Farquharson's 6-yard touchdown catch to open the second half, the Danger added a point on Darnell Terrell's rouge for a 21-17 lead. But, Colorado regained the lead for good on a desperate third-and-9 play from their own six.

On the play, the IFL's leading passer, Willie Copeland, was forced to scramble back to his own end zone before he connected with former Nebraska-Kearney receiver Kyle Kaiser for a 44-yard touchdown. Nebraska was never the same.

Nebraska quarterback Jameel Sewell — who had turned the ball over just once in the Danger's five-game winning streak — was intercepted for the second time of the game on the next possession and Colorado quickly turned it into a 29-yard yard touchdown from Copeland to Jasonus Tillery.

"Our turnovers were big and we didn't force any either," Davis said. "That's huge in a game like this. You have to win the turnover battle or it is going to be an uphill battle."

The Danger fought back late and had one final chance. Down 34-28 and facing fourth-and-4 from their 10 with 21 seconds left, Sewell's pass to Farquharson was broken up perfectly by Corey Sample preserving the victory for Colorado. Two plays earlier, it appeared Sewell had connected with Andre Piper-Jordan in the end zone but the ball went through his hands.

"We have to be able to bounce back," Davis said. "And, we have to do it quickly. We'll see how our guys we respond."

Colorado hung on to a 17-13 halftime on a pair of big plays in the first quarter. After Nebraska opened the scoring on a Joe Houston 28-yard field goal, the Ice struck on their first play from scrimmage when Copeland connected with Kaiser for a 45-yard score.

The Danger drove to the Colorado 1-yard line on their next possession but a mishandled snap moved the ball back to near mid-field and Houston missed a field goal. On the next play, Copeland connected with Tillery for another 45-yard score and a 14-3 lead at the end of the first period.

Nebraska chipped in to the lead early in the second quarter when Sewell hit new wide receiver OJ Simpson for a 5-yard touchdown that capped a 9-play, 45-yard drive. The teams then traded field goals as Houston's 31-yard kick with no time left cut the Ice lead to four points at the break.

Colorado now controls its destiny for hosting the IFL playoffs even though Nebraska (9-3) has clinched a berth. The win for the Ice draws them even in the loss column with the Danger and they would own head-to-head tiebreakers. Colorado (8-3) can clinch a berth in the playoffs with one win in their final three games.

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