Memorial Stadium, Lincoln—The Huskers were complete washouts offensively Saturday.
But they put on a surprisingly rugged defensive show to hold Oklahoma to a 27-0 victory.
The top-heavy Sooners managed only two touchdowns on sustained marches, added one on a 72-yard kick runback and were handed the fourth when some late Nebraska strategy backfired.
Coach Bill Glassford’s defensive unit was so potent Dick Heatly was forced to punt 10 times.
It was a great effort from end to end by the defenders, who drew cheers from the crowd of 30 thousand which braved 26-degree temperatures for the final home game of the season.
Coach Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahomans won their twenty-sixth consecutive league game and nailed down a fourth-straight undisputed Big Seven crown.
But the talented Sooners knew they had been in a ball game—for sure.
Nebraska’s offensive, carried entirely by freshmen and sophomore backs as Bob Reynolds sat on the sidelines, was unable to move at all.
The net Husker gain was a measly 41 yards.
So it seemed that the Scarlet’s defensive platoon was on the field most of the afternoon.
Ends Dennis Emanuel and Bill Schabacker did a remarkable job against the split T’s most dangerous weapon—wide runs by Eddie Crowder with an option of keeping the ball or tossing a lateral.
Sophs Emanuel and Schabacker kept pushing blockers aside, floating out wide, waiting for Crowder to make his move, then closing in for the kill.
Tackles Jerry Minnick and Ed Husmann were bowling ’em over consistently, too, as were Guards Carl Brasee and Don Boll when the plays were directed toward the middle.
Oklahoma managed to gain 253 yards rushing against a season average of 314. But the only touchdown marches were on drives which covered 40 and 54 yards.
Ten other times the Sooners were held and forced to kick—and once they lost the ball on downs after four plays netted a yard loss inside the Husker 15.
And the nation’s No. 12 team was held to a 14-0 lead up until the last quarter.
The first points came early on a sudden burst of speed by Larry Grigg, sophomore safety.
He fielded a punt by Ray Novak and barely slipped out of the arms of Husker Dick Regier.
Then Grigg cut back and picked up an amazing wave of blocking.
The Huskers were toppled over left and right—and Grigg ran 72 yards untouched.
But that didn’t cause the Huskers to fade. They kept battling and weathered their usually fatal second period with only one more touchdown being scored.
A bad loss on an exchange of punts set off this Sooner push.
Freshman Jim Yeisley tried to field a punt deep in his territory, let it get away, and finally recovered on the Husker five.
Jim Cederdahl’s punt was brought back to the Husker 40 and the Sooners quickly moved this distance to a touchdown. Buddy Leake went the last eight yards.
The third quarter was a parade of punts as the Huskers kept checking Sooner bids—and likewise failing when they had the ball.
But the Sooners moved 54 yards early in the last period, a pass from Crowder to Leake eating up 18 yards and carrying to the five.
Heatly went across from there on a deceptive hand-off through a quick opening.
It took a gift to let the Sooners add their final points.
By this time George Cifra was the fourth man to try the tailback job in the Husker spread formation.
John Bordogna, Jim Cederdahl and Novak all had taken turns at the spot—and all had been shaken up by rugged tackling.
So Cifra took over for his first offensive appearance of the season. With a fourth down and less than a yard to go, George tried a gamble to keep the ball.
He intended to run into the center of the line but let the ball slip off his fingers.
He recovered but Nebraska had to hand the ball over on downs just 21 yards from the goal.
Crowder promptly bootlegged the ball on a beautiful fake, trotted back slowly, then whirled and raced to the one.
He sneaked across on the next play and Big Jim Weatherall’s third kick made the margin 27-0.
So Nebraska will go into its tenth and last game at Miami Friday night still seeking a second victory.
And a triumph will be needed to keep this team from being the first Nebraska eleven in history to win fewer than two games.
Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.
|Kansas State||Oct. 6|
|Penn State||Oct. 13|
|Iowa State||Nov. 10|
|Miami (FL)||Nov. 30|
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