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Wednesday, September 28, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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College Football -- Early Fall Rerun Of `Rudy': Nebraska Freshman Goes From Team Manager To Qb

AP

LINCOLN, Neb. - Adam Kucera enjoyed the movie "Rudy," the inspirational story of a 27-year-old benchwarmer at Notre Dame who got to play briefly in his final home game.

"I liked it because it was about an underdog who made his dreams come true," Kucera said.

On Saturday, he starred in a "Rudy" revival in Lincoln, Neb.

A 5-foot-8, 180-pound freshman who was a student manager for the Nebraska football team a month ago, Kucera found himself playing quarterback for the second-ranked Cornhuskers in the closing minutes of a 70-21 rout of Pacific.

With fans chanting "Rudy, Rudy" and his father cheering from the stands, Kucera entered the game with 5:22 left and guided the Cornhuskers to two first downs. He left after five plays, gaining 4 yards on his only run and throwing an incompletion with his only pass.

"It was a dream come true for me," he said. "I grew up in Nebraska, my dad was a coach at Nebraska, and I went to football camps there every summer.

"I was always a big Nebraska fan. My closets are still filled with red things."

Kucera was a good high-school quarterback in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., but was too small to be recruited by big-time colleges. Determined to participate in Nebraska football, he joined the team as a student manager, setting up tackling dummies, fixing helmets and doing odd jobs.

Even though starter Tommie Frazier is sidelined by a blood clot in his leg, Kucera knows his playing time will be limited to scrimmages and blowout victories.

"I'll never be a starter or a second-string quarterback at Nebraska because of my size," he said. "But I'm comfortable with the position I'm in. I'm happy being the fourth-string quarterback. Asking for more would only lead to disappointment."

Junior Brook Berringer will make his first career start Saturday against Wyoming, Coach Tom Osborne said yesterday.

Also ahead of Kucera in the depth chart are converted safety Tony Veland and sophomore Matt Turman.

O'Neil still hospitalized

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon quarterback Danny O'Neil remained hospitalized for treatment of a rare infection that mysteriously appeared last week in the ring finger of his right hand.

Oregon Coach Rich Brooks said O'Neil would miss this week's Pac-10 opener at USC "and probably will not play next week."

He needs just 14 yards to move ahead of Chris Miller as the school's No. 2 all-time passer.

Notes

-- Alabama, its football team charged with violating NCAA rules, has hired the same law firm that helped Florida State respond to its football scandal. Bond, Schoeneck & King of Overland Park, Kan., was retained by Alabama to investigate bank loans made to former Crimson Tide football player Gene Jelks and the eligibility of another ex-player, All-America cornerback Antonio Langham.

-- Texas receiver Mike Adams, who missed the first game of the season for violating NCAA rules, will be sidelined at least three weeks with a knee injury.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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