LINCOLN — Willie Greenlaw came back to life Saturday as Nebraska swept Missouri off the Orange Bowl trail with a 15-14 homecoming upset.
The blonde senior from Portland, Me., provided the topper in a day of many thrills for the estimated 35 thousand fans who jammed Memorial Stadium.
Missourians were preparing for the customary post-game condolences for their underdog rivals when Willie went into his act.
One minute and 46 seconds remained.
Nebraska trailed by 9-14. It was fourth down and 15 yards to go for the Huskers on the Tiger 25.
Willie took the ball from quarterback George Harshman and rolled out to his left on the pass-option. Meanwhile, his home-town pal, halfback Frank Nappi, raced for the end zone.
And while unbelieving fans held their breath, Greenlaw put into the air one of the most beautiful spirals in Cornhusker football history.
The southpaw toss arched into the end zone, where Nappi beat Missouri's brilliant Jimmy Hunter for possession—and the victory margin.
The boys from Maine held no monopoly on heroics this wild afternoon. The roll call would have to include:
—Quarterback Gordon Englert, whose recovery of Charley Jame's fumble on the Missouri 24 in the first quarter set up Nebraska's initial touchdown.
—Fullback Jerry Brown, whose six-inch smash into the tough Mizzou middle put that touchdown in the score-book; who also had a 52-yard quick kick, a 4.7-yard rushing average and a gritty defensive game to his credit.
—Gorgeous George Harshman, whose 33-yard field goal gave the Huskers a 9-7 advantage in the third period; who once punted 41 yards under pressure after victimized by a bad snap from center.
—Big Max Kitzelman and fast-rising Dick McCashland, who flung themselves on Missouri fumbles to help keep Nebraska in the game.
—The tackling tandems of Don Kampe-Marlin Hilding, Jack Fleming-Mike Lee and Bob Berguin-Stu Howerter, who crashed through on three occasions to spill ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage and thwart Bengal bids.
Nebraska's first touchdown came with 4:35 left in the opening period. It was anything but easy going, with the Huskers needing nine plays to travel the 24 yards.
Later in the period, Don Faurot's visitors started a drive that carried 56 yards to the U.N. 10 before fierce line play robbed them of possession on downs.
Early in the second quarter, the next time it got the ball Missouri scored on a 53-yard sweep featuring Hunter's artistic play.
The senior quarterback twice tagged James with passes.
He bootlegged, he faked, he kept the ball and ran. But the touchdown privilege was George Cramer's.
The blocky fullback literally rolled into the end zone after cracking the line from the three. Missouri went agead by one point on the first of two conversions by Charles Rash.
After Harshman twisted the Tiger tail with his three-point boot in the third period, Nebraska was backed 70 yards.
Hunter mixed a few passes with the hard running of Sonny Stringer, James and Cramer to put the ball within four inches of the goal in 13 plays.
Again Cramer made the pay-off plunge.
Nebraska started its grand finale in the early minutes of the fourth quarter after Harshman had taken Hunter's punt with a fair catch on the U.N. 22.
Pete Elliott's huslters, straining to snap a three-game losing streak, actually covered 93 yards. A personal-foul penalty set them back to the Tiger 35 when they could have been on the 20.
Nappi kept things moving with three passes, all juggled but held by the receivers.
He hit Bill Hawkins for 12 yards and twice found sophomore end Clarence Cook for 11-yard gains.
The shouting wasn't over even after he reversed roles and caught the winning toss from Greenlaw. With 1:46 left, Missouri got off eight scrimmage plays.
No. 7 found Harshman breaking up a Hunter-to-Kuhlmann pitch in the end zone. On No. 8 James grabbed a pass but fumbled to Berguin as he went down.
Following that, the gun sounded, the Huskers danced and the Bengals slammed their helmets in dismay.
Missouri isn't completely out of the bowl picture but Cornhusker determination has made the Faurot club a long shot instead of an outstanding contender.
Nebraska is 65-36 all-time against Missouri.
|South Dakota||Sept. 22|
|Ohio State||Sept. 29|
|Iowa State||Oct. 6|
|Kansas State||Oct. 13|
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