Eric Bieniemy, who battled one of the country's toughest schedules to finish within 14 yards of the national rushing title, was named Wednesday as United Press International's Back of the Year.

Bieniemy was the overwhelming choice of a panel of UPI sportswriters from across the country. The only other player to earn mention was Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer, the Heisman Trophy winner who was named UPI's Player of the Year earlier this week.Bieniemy will complete his Colorado career Jan. 1 when the top-ranked Buffaloes face No. 6 Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. He owns 15 school records, including rushing yards in a season (1,628), career rushing yards (3,940) and consecutive 100-yard games He averaged 98.5 yards rushing over his 40 games for Colorado.

He averaged a Colorado record 148.0 rushing yards a game this season, coming within 1.27 yards a game of national rushing champion Gerald Hudson of Oklahoma State.

A 5-foot-7, 195-pound firebrand, Bieniemy impressed coaches with his competitive nature. He was a runaway selection of Big Eight Conference coaches when they were asked which player they would most like to start a program.