MEMORIAL STADIUM, Lincoln — The highest-scoring team in University of Nebraska football history wrapped up a share of the Big Eight championship Saturday with a 51-13 stomping of Kansas State, then sat back to consider pending bowl invitations.
The Orange Bowl was the first to extend an invitation to the Huskers to its New Year’s Night classic.
Coach Bob Devaney says he will let his players vote on bowl bids today and will announce the decision late this afternoon.
Joe Katz, Sugar Bowl executive director who was watching the Huskers for the sixth time this season, said his committee probably would not extend any “official” invitations until a committee meeting today.
Cotton Bowl representatives also were present Saturday as Joe Orduna scored four touchdowns and the N.U. defense pulled passer Lynn Dickey’s stinger with a record-setting seven interceptions, three by Columbus, Neb., sophomore cornerback Joe Blahak.
“Nebraska looks to me like the kind of team which should play for the national championship,” commented Cliff Speegle, a Cotton Bowl official.
Nebraska’s overwhelming superiority over the most successful Kansas State team of recent years was witnessed by a series-record turnout of 67,986 cold-nosed fans on a cloudy, windy afternoon with sub-freezing temperatures.
As the Cornhuskers raised their season record to 9-0-1 with an eighth consecutive victory, they branded themselves as the undisputed power kings of Devaney’s nine N.U. seasons.
Their 179 ground yards and 182 yards passing gave them a season total offense figure of 4,217 yards, surpassing the previous Devaney-era high of 4,040 yards for the 10-0 regular season of the 1965 Big Eight champs.
Their seven touchdowns gave them a season total of 52, compared with pace-setting 45 by the ‘65 unit, which, until this season, has been regarded by Devaney as his strongest team.
With only this week’s home game with title-contending Oklahoma remaining on the schedule, Nebraska has accumulated a school-record 381 points.
Orduna, the Bible-quoting son of an Omaha preacher, now has 13 touchdowns for this season and a career total of 30. Previously, the one-season high of the Devaney regime was Kent McCloughan’s 12 touchdowns with the 9-1 Huskers of 1964, another title-winning aggregation.
Starting Husker quarterback Jerry Tagge, who was not relieved by Van Brownson until midway in the final period with the count at 51-7, hurled his 10th touchdown pass of the year.
That strike wiped out the season record of nine touchdown passes by Fran Nagle in 1950.
Dazzling the jubilant N.U. partisans as much as the scoring show was the Blackshirts’ glittering pass defense.
Blahak’s third interception of the afternoon, bringing the total to seven, matched Dana Stephenson’s one-game record set a year ago.
Two of Dickey’s flips were stolen by junior safety Bill Kosch, a former teammate of Blahak’s at Columbus Scotus High. Monster back Dave Morock and linebacker Jerry Murtaugh made one interception apiece.
It was another fine all-around performance by All-America candidate Murtaugh, who took part in a team-high nine tackles, including four solo jobs that boosted him three past the one-season record by two-time All-American Wayne Meylan in 1967.
Despite being outmanned and outclassed, Kansas State put up a rugged if not particularly effective defense. This is reflected in the fact that Tagge was bulldogged for losses totaling 42 yards and the usually artful Brownson was downed twice for a minus 14 on the ground.
Jeff Kinney, who alternates with Orduna, was lost early in the first quarter with a shoulder injury (trainers expect him to be ready for the Oklahoma game). Still, the relentless attack achieved the highest N.U. total of the old rivalry.
The only other time Nebraska reached the 50-point mark against K-State was the 53-2 triumph of 1940.
Dickey did produce one touchdown with a pass, that being a nine-yard collaboration with fullback Mike Montgomery in the second quarter.
Montgomery was ejected later in the period after giving back judge Wayne Cooley a vigorous poke in the back. Montgomery thought the officials had missed an interference call when a Dickey pass was broken up in a jumble of players at the goal line.
Cooley, executive secretary of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, whirled about, motioned Montgomery, son of K-State Assistant Coach Leroy Montgomery, to the bench and called the visitors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
K-State’s other touchdown came later in the final quarter on a one-yard plunge by Chris Chapin. That concluded the day’s scoring as an attempted two-point conversion pass, Dickey to end Mike Creed, was incomplete.
All of Nebraska’s touchdowns were achieved with a flair. They came in this sequence:
—Following Murtaugh’s interception and 25-yard return to the visitors’ 30, halfback Johnny Rodgers shot through his right guard on N.U.’s first offensive play of the game and sped to the end zone. It was the Omaha rookie’s 10th touchdown. He has missed scoring on only one game.
—Still in the first quarter, N.U. drove 48 yards. Orduna tallied from the three. He landed on his stomach, quickly recapturing the ball after it rolled free.
—A drive of 61 yards was climaxed by Orduna’s 16-yard burst through the N.U. right side in the second period. The rampaging senior broke several tackles.
—Seven plays after a Blahak interception runback to the enemy 30, Orduna jumped and seemed to literally float over three would-be tacklers and two blockers on the N.U. right side. Officially, it was a one-yard run.
—The setup was Blahak’s 43-yard interception return to the K-State 13 late in the third. With the ball on the 12, Tagge hurled a third-down pass over the middle to fullback Dan Schneiss, who galloped into the end zone unchallenged.
—On the last play of the third period, end John Adkins recovered a fumble by Bill Butler on the K-State 36. After a drive to the two-yard line, Orduna again appeared to float through the air as he scored through the Husker left side.
—On K-State’s first play after the ensuing kickoff, monster back Morock stole a Dickey pass, ran to his right and then took a crescent route to his left on a 43-yard touchdown trip.
Added to those points were six conversion kicks and a 23-yard field goal by record-breaker Paul Rogers.
The impetus that led to the third-quarter field goal started with a 60-yard pass, Tagge to Rodgers. That play ended on the K-State 22. N.U. hammered seven times but only got to the seven. It was fourth-and-six when Rogers’ low liner carried through the goal posts.
The kicking king from Rock Rapids, Ia., has career totals of 88 extra points and 24 field goals. Both are school records.
Offensively and defensively, this University of Nebraska team has toppled so many records, every reporter should be accompanied by an accountant and a secretary.
|Yards per carry||3.2||3.0|
Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.
|Wake Forest||Sept. 12|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 24|
|Iowa State||Nov. 7|
|Kansas State||Nov. 14|
Nebraska has played 18 games on Nov. 14. See them all »