MEMORIAL STADIUM, LINCOLN — After stumbling through 18 minutes of mediocre football, Nebraska came alive with a 21-point blitz to blast Utah State Saturday, 28-7.
Larry Wachholtz, fiery little co-captain from North Platte, touched off the late afternoon fireworks with a 39-yard field goal which had just enough height to clear the crossbar.
The mighty boot was the first of three spectacular Wachholtz plays which sent a Band Day record crowd of 63,543 toward the exits rejoicing.
After the field goal and a change of goals for the final quarter, Larry chased an Aggie punt 72 yards for the clincher which shoved the score beyond Utah reach at 22-7.
The field goal was the best of Wachholtz’s career and the return was the first touchdown runback by the lad who last year led the nation in punt runback yardage until the final week.
The spirited North Platte veteran climaxed his finest performance with a pair of interceptions which stymied late Aggie efforts.
While Wachholtz was contributing the points which broke the game open, the defense gave one of the greatest shows in Nebraska history.
The Utah State ground offensive was so tightly shackled the Aggie backs failed to finish with plus yardage.
This log is even more impressive than the net 10 yards by Texas Christian in the opener.
The front stalwarts, headed by Wayne Meylan, Jim McCord, Carel Stith, Lynn Senkbeil, Jerry Patton and Langston Coleman, on occasion applied an effective pass rush.
Utah State had no offense other than the pass.
It was not a shock that Ron Edwards, who with 2,458 yards passed the Utah State career record for total offense, was able to connect on 20 of 42 pass attempts.
The big surprise was that Edwards escaped unharmed — the Scarlet rushers smacked him that hard.
While Edwards was able to finish under his own power, his teammates were not as fortunate. Two were helped from the field and others were carted off on stretchers.
The Husker pattern against Utah State was the reverse of the Texas Christian opener.
Against the Horned Frogs, the Scarlet played its worst two quarters after intermission.
Band Day, Bob Devaney’s club jammed most of its poor maneuvers into the first two quarters.
As in the 14-10 win over TCU, the Huskers scored the first time they had possession.
Nebraska got its chance after three pass attempts by Edwards, deep in Utah territory, were smothered by Kaye Carstens, Marvin Mueller, and Wachholtz.
Ron Stewart’s 47-yard punt almost went for naught when Wachholtz hiked it back 36 yards to the Aggies’ 32.
A five-yard penalty merely delayed the Scarlet offensive as, six plays later, with only 2:16 gone, Nebraska led, 7-0.
Charlie (Choo Choo) Winters, who also drew first blood against TCU, rambled off tackle from the two. Dennis Morrison got the big bite on a 16-yard pitch from Bob Churchich.
The second Husker drive stalled 14 yards from the end zone. More from errors than the Utah State defense, the Devaney machine started backfiring.
The Huskers managed to survive in spite of a couple of weirdies.
Joe Armstrong, Beatrice sophomore making his debut as a punter, watched a wild snapback soar over his head.
Retrieving the ball on about the Husker five, Joe danced around before kicking with his left foot.
The ball traveled out of bounds on the Utah 37, a carry of around 55 yards.
The wobbling Huskers had one more bad play in their system before intermission.
This was in the closing seconds when a Wachholtz field goal attempt was blocked.
Both teams appeared slow realizing it was a live ball.
Finally, Winters saved what might have been a tying touchdown by recovering on the Utah State 31.
Grumbling in the stands over the 7-0 early showing was drowned by splendid halftime music from 60 bands.
Despite the small margin, the Huskers had held Utah State to minus 12 yards rushing, out-passed the Aggies, 10-9, in completions, 125-79 in yardage and had forced two fumbles.
The third quarter opened with Nebraska continuing to flounder.
A Stewart punt bounced into a Husker lineman, and Utah State, after being halted on its 31, suddenly had the ball on Nebraska’s 38.
On a third pass attempt, Edwards hit MacArthur Lane for 32 yards, Mueller finally bumping him out of bounds inside the five.
Edwards worked the keeper to score on the second play. Jim Murphy, place-kicker who doubled as student manager on the trip, tied it at 7 with an easy conversion.
The Huskers still had one bad series left.
The final blooper came after a Churchich third-down pass in the end zone drew an interference call on Craig Boyer.
This gave Nebraska a first down, one yard out.
The scarlet-hatted crowd of more than 63 thousand sat bleary-eyed as the Huskers, instead of scoring, had to settle for a 39-yard field goal.
Tackle Bill Staley, who played a great game for the visitors, smacked Ron Kirkland for a two-yard loss on the first play.
Churchich, apparently in good position to score, decided to pitch out to Winters. When the pitch missed, Kirkland was lucky to recover for a four-yard loss.
Staley again hit Churchich and sent the ball scooting away, Nebraska’s Jim Osberg made the recovery on the Utah 23 — 22 yards from where the series started.
Wachholtz’s kick made it 10-7.
Suddenly, the Huskers who had difficulty buying a score, saw points come easily.
With eight seconds left in the third quarter Meylan, who was in the Aggies’ hair the entire game, blocked a Stewart punt.
Stewart had received a poor snap and Meylan, after smothering the kick, gathered it for a 19-yard ramble to the Utah State eight.
Kirkland powered his way from the three on the second play of the final quarter.
In crashing across the corner, he hit J.B. Christeson and Henry King of the Utahans so decisively they had difficulty picking themselves off the sod.
Four plays later, Wachholtz clinched a win with the 72-yard rushback.
In three minutes and seven seconds, the Utah Staters had watched their 7-7 tie turn into a 28-7 rout.
Coach Devaney rushed in the subs for the last 12½ minutes.
These youngsters, with Wayne Weber at the controls, drove 64 yards for the final touchdown.
They covered the distance although a 30-yard sprint by Paul Critchlow, Omaha Benson junior, was nullified by holding.
Weber fired two passes to Miles Kimmel, Sioux City, Ia., sophomore, for eight yards each, then faked a pitch and ran 17 yards to the Utah State 10.
Critchlow hustled down the sidelines from the six on the third play.
Utah State was badly demoralized and the Husker second unit was bidding for another tally when the game ended.
Barry Alvarez’s interception had given his team life. A Weber pass to Tom Penney was good for 14 yard and a first down on the Utah State eight.
A second pitch whistled through Penney’s hands in the end zone as the clock ran out.
Armed with only an aerial threat, Utah State profited mostly on Nebraska miscues.
Tackle Staley, the Logan team’s All-America nomination, more than lived up to his press notices. The 285-pound Spain Musgrove, the other tackle, showed nothing more than size.
Utah State meets New Mexico State next Saturday. Viewing Memorial Stadium proceedings from the press box, publicist Harvey Kirkpatrick after the game confided:
“Nebraska was so tough, I doubt if we can field a team next week.”
|Yards per carry||0.0||2.3|
Nebraska is 8-0 all-time against Utah State.
|Utah State||Sept. 24|
|Iowa State||Oct. 1|
|Kansas State||Oct. 15|
|Oklahoma State||Nov. 12|
Nebraska has played 11 games on Sept. 24. See them all »
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