HONOLULU — Nebraska’s top-ranked Cornhuskers, who had basked in the Hawaiian sun amid fears of Husker fans that they might be primed for an upset, showed that the trip was not entirely a vacation Saturday night.
The Huskers put together their own brand of Hawaiian Punch as they slammed Hawaii University, 45-3.
Quarterback Jerry Tagge led the bruising attack by throwing two touchdown passes and running for another.
The Cornhuskers rolled to a 17-0 first-quarter lead, striking quickly for two touchdowns after Rich Sanger broke the scoring ice with a 33-yard field goal.
That field goal came after Nebraska’s first march drove 75 yards before fizzling at Hawaii’s 15.
Coach Bob Devaney’s Irish temper flamed a bit at the end of that drive as on third and nine Johnny Rodgers was cracked by Rainbow cornerback Jeris White while the pass from Jerry Tagge was in the air. No interference was called and Sanger was called upon to kick his fifth field goal of the season.
Although the Hawaii quarterback tandem of Elroy Chong and Jim Biscotti completed six of 12 passes for 108 yards the first half, the Rainbow aerial attack was rudely jolted at the outset.
Bill Janssen and Larry Jacobsen tagged Chong with an eight-yard loss the first time he attempted to pass. Then, on third and 18 at his own 13, Chong found that middle guard Rich Glover was bent on tacking on another huge loss.
Chong retreated back to his own goal line with Glover still in pursuit. Out of fear more than anything else Chong flipped the ball and Husker monster Dave Mason picked it off at the 20 and scampered in untouched.
The Blackshirts weren’t as devastating as they appeared during the victory over Oklahoma on Thanksgiving. The Rainbows powered deep into Nebraska territory three times the first half.
The first drive came after Mason’s touchdown and Hawaii moved 49 yards in 11 plays to Nebraska’s 27. There, however, the Blackshirts stiffened and forced Henry Sovio to attempt a 44-yard field goal.
The kick was short and N.U. took over on its own 20. It didn’t take long for the Huskers to show their No. 1 class.
Tagge rolled out to his right and spotted tight end Jerry List all alone at the N.U. 45. List took the perfect pass, turned and sprinted untouched down the sideline for an 80-yard lightning-bolt touchdown.
Early in the second quarter Johnny Rodgers gave the Hawaii fans a look at another phase of Nebraska’s multi-threat offense.
Johnny the Jet hauled in a punt on his own 17, then snaked and squirmed 65 yards to the Rainbows’ 18. That polished bit of running, however, was nullified by a Husker clipping penalty that brought the ball back to N.U.’s 14.
Two thrusts by Jeff Kinney and a screen pass to fullback Bill Olds failed to produce a first down and Nebraska was forced to punt.
Hawaii took over on its own 47 and then substitute quarterback Biscotti flashed his own dynamite capability.
Rainbow fullback Don Mahli slammed through the line on a pass pattern and Biscotti found his target. The surprise maneuver worked for a 45-yard gainer and quickly ushered the Rainbows down to the N.U. eight-yard line.
A charge up the middle by Mahli netted one yard. Then halfback Larry Sherrer lost two. Biscotti managed just one yard and the ball was back on the eight-yard line. The Blackshirts had come through again.
However, Sovio’s second field goal attempt — this a 29-yarder — put the Rainbows on the board.
Late in the second quarter Nebraska started a 54-yard drive that resulted in the first Husker touchdown as a result of a sustained march.
The drive needed only 10 plays before Tagge applied the clincher with a 12-yard burst with 3½ minutes left in the half.
Included in that march was another Rodgers burst — this time a 19-yarder that took him into the end zone — that was nullified by a clipping penalty. Instead of a score, the Huskers found themselves with a second and 18 at the 31.
A pass from Tagge to Kinney gobbled up 17 yards. Kinney slashed for two. Then Tagge unleashed his 12-yard scoring jaunt.
The Rainbows, trailing by 24-3 at intermission, made things a bit difficult in the third quarter before the roof caved in.
Nebraska drove to the Rainbows’ 14-yard line the first time it handled the ball in the third period. But the pesky Hawaii defense corralled Kinney for a three-yard loss and then batted down three straight Tagge passes.
N.U., however, scored the next time it had possession after a short punt gave the Huskers possession on the Hawaii 39.
But it took another breathtaking performance by Rodgers to produce the score.
Nebraska faced fourth and 17 on the 33. The long yardage, however, didn’t cause much flap with Tagge, who found Rodgers through the air for the touchdown.
As usual, the reliable sophomore Sanger booted the extra point to hike Nebraska’s advantage to 31-3. From then on the reserves were given a chance to frolic.
N.U. quarterback Van Brownson, who didn’t play during the victory over Oklahoma, gave the Islanders a good look at Nebraska’s coveted signal-calling talent.
Brownson guided the Huskers 70 yards in eight plays, covering the final 21 himself on a picture-perfect option play that boosted the N.U. advantage to 38-3.
By this time the Rainbows were looking a bit discolored as they tried to halt the blitz of college football’s No. 1 team.
On the third play from scrimmage Chong suffered another interception — his second and Nebraska’s third act of piracy of the evening — as Randy Borg hauled it down at Hawaii’s 44.
Tagge returned, but the proud Rainbow defense still displayed some raised hackles and the Cornhuskers were forced to punt.
But disaster continued to hound Hawaii as Mahli fumbled and Borg again gave the Huskers another chance to score as he recovered on the 13.
A thrust by Gary Dixon produced nothing. Then Tagge found Frosty Anderson in the end zone on a 17-yard strike that closed out the scoring.
|Yards per carry||1.1||5.0|
Nebraska is 5-1 all-time against Hawaii.
|Texas A&M||Sept. 25|
|Utah State||Oct. 2|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 23|
|Iowa State||Nov. 6|
|Kansas State||Nov. 13|
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