Tommie Frazier, late Brook Berringer’s nephew and mom, and Matt Turman.
By Randy York
Nebraska’s latest College Football Hall-of-Famer waved to Memorial Stadium’s record crowd Saturday night during the second quarter of the Huskers’ 41-31 win over Miami. But before he stepped into the spotlight on the northeast sideline near the Nebraska bench, Tommie Frazier shared something that continues to tug on his heart while celebrating the Huskers’ 20th anniversary of Tom Osborne’s first national championship team.
“It’s so special to look back and see what Brook Berringer and Matt Turman did to help us win the national championship,” Frazier told me. “Some people still don’t realize what those two guys did for our team. What they did was more important than what I did, and when I look back, it’s overwhelming and it’s humbling. Without both of their contributions, we don’t make the national championship game against Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl. It’s that simple.”
Frazier said the late Berringer had a bond, a relationship and camaraderie in leading Nebraska to seven wins during that national championship season while he was recovering from blood clots. “Brook was awesome, and Matt was a perfect example of what Tom Osborne taught people every day – you better prepare yourself every day because your number can be called when you least expect it and you better be ready.
One Got on the Field; Other Enabled National Title
“I tell people all the time that they should have made a movie about Matt Turman because he walked on from a little town 30 minutes away from Lincoln and played a major role in helping us win a national championship,” Frazier said. “They made a movie about Rudy just getting on the field on Notre Dame.”
Turman, the third-string star of a win over Oklahoma State that season and the starting quarterback for Nebraska’s late-season win at Kansas State, missed Friday night’s 20-year reunion banquet because he’s the head coach at Omaha Skutt High School, which defeated Omaha Roncalli that same night.
Saturday, during the second quarter, Frazier, Turman and Jan Berringer, Brook’s mom, represented Brook in a stadium salute to three quarterbacks from three states who led the charge for the national championship trophy – Frazier from Bradenton, Fla., Berringer from Goodland, Kan., and Turman from Wahoo, Neb.
Turman Calls His Role 15 Minutes of Personal Fame
“It’s good to go back to honor the glory years and my 15 minutes of fame,” Turman told me. “I was a kid from a real small town and played a real smart part in the whole deal. The guys around me were the ones who made it happen and helped me get the job done. My perspective is different. So many of these guys went on to play professional football, they’re the ones who made me a key contributor. My role just seems kind of small comparatively.”
Informed of Frazier’s “bigger than Rudy” comparison, Turman steps back and finds another way to deflect any special measure that focuses on him.
“Did you remember Brett Popplewell?” he asked. “He was a junior split end on our 1994 team and he came here from Melbourne, Australia. He moved back there and came back this weekend all the way from Australia, for this reunion.”
Tommie Frazier’s right. Someone should have made a film about Matt Turman, who would have had a fellow character from Australia take some of the heat off of him in the script.
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