Memorial Stadium, Lincoln – Nebraska forced Minnesota to stay on the defensive throughout the fourth quarter Saturday but couldn’t come up with the touchdown needed to prevent a 13-7 Gopher victory.
The 40 thousand homecoming fans kept visioning another 14-13 Husker triumph as Coach Bill Glassford’s pupils controlled the ball after the visitors had taken a 13-7 lead in the third quarter.
But Nebraska just didn’t have the necessary punch to go all the way against the Big Ten team’s stout line.
The Huskers lost the ball three times in the last period, deep in Gopher territory.
Twice fourth-down plays fell short and the ball was handed over to Minnesota on its 15 and 23-yard lines.
The other time it was particularly painful for Husker fans to absorb – because Bob Reynolds was the goat.
On a first down play which started on the Minnesota 35-yard line, Reynolds ran wide for about five yards.
It wasn’t a bruising tackle which stopped him but he let the ball squirt out of his hands before he fell.
Tackle Stavros Canakes recovered just 27 yards away from the Gopher goal – and a promising march suddenly was over.
The Huskers rolled up yardage out between the 20-yard lines but failed to go all the way except for a 65-yard drive in the second quarter.
Nebraska wound up with an imposing total of 313 yards on the ground but added not a single yard by passing, so outgained the Gophers by only 20 yards.
Minnesota made 166 of its yards through the air, on six completions out of 18 passes, and went 127 yards on the ground.
The Husker running attack offered its best balance of the season. Sophomore Dennis Korinck of Ulysses blossomed as the top right halfback by gaining 69 yards on 11 carries.
He showed fine ability to start outside, then cut back and keep going.
John Bordogna picked up 62 yards and Reynolds ran for 56. George Cifra made 53 yards and Ray Novak 66.
But much of it was wasted when the drivers bogged down except for that one march which enabled Nebraska to take a brief 7-0 lead.
This came in the second quarter, with Bordogna breaking over center for a 27-yard run and the longest gain of the drive. It carried to the 24-yard line.
That was followed by a neat reverse, on which Reynolds handed off to Korinek, and Dennis was cut loose on a beautiful block by Bordogna.
Korinek finally was run out of bounds on the enemy nine-yard line.
Bordogna then ran wide for seven, Novak plunged for a yard and Bordogna sneaked for what appeared to be the game’s first points.
But the Huskers were offside and had to try again from six yards out.
Novak ran for three, then Reynolds went the last three untouched for his first touchdown since the Oregon game in September.
Bob’s kick made it 7-0 – but the Husker lead lasted less than a minute.
After the kickoff was downed on the Minnesota 26-yard line, the visitors uncorked a perfect pass play on first down.
Paul Giel, busy Gopher tailback, who gained 86 yards and passed for 152 during the afternoon, faded back and waited for the proper moment.
Sophomore End James Soltau, brother of Gordon of the San Francisco 49ers, ran as fast and as far as he could.
He raced back of the Husker secondary defense as Giel let fly.
On the Nebraska 45-yard line, Soltau made the catch without even slackening his pace – then ran the rest of the way untouched for a 74-yard scoring play.
Gene Cappelletti’s kick tied at 7-7 and that’s the way it stayed until Minnesota forged ahead by 13-7 with 2 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.
The Gophers made a 60-yard march for this decisive tally, with Giel keeping the Husker defense off balance.
You never could quite tell whether Paul was going to run or pass. He’d pull the Husker defense up or over to one side, then take off in the other direction.
And when they’d get set for a run, he’d pass it over their heads.
On the 60-yard march, Giel applied the clincher on a third-down play from the 20-yard line.
He faked a throw, found his opening and hot-footed it to the five-yard line before Carl Brasee ran him down.
Three downs left the ball still a yard short as the Husker defensive unit battled to the hilt.
But on fourth down Giel pulled back his arm as if to pass, then cut off to his right, slanted back inside end and made it over the goal for the winning touchdown.
It didn’t matter that Cappelletti missed the kick – because Nebraska never could muster that vital punch needed to tie the score and bring a chance for a one-point victory.
This setback in the closing game of the year at Lincoln made the Husker record five wins, three losses and one tie.
And Nebraska still has a chance to share the Big Seven crown by upsetting highly favored Oklahoma next week, providing K.U. beats Missouri.
Nebraska is 25-32 all-time against Minnesota.
|South Dakota||Sept. 20|
|Iowa State||Oct. 4|
|Kansas State||Oct. 11|
|Penn State||Oct. 18|
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