Folsom Field, Boulder Colo. — Colorado ripped “the one big play” chapter from the Nebraska strategy book to whip the Cornhuskers, 19-6, Saturday.
Ted Woods, the Buffs 187-pound back and Olympic sprinter, whose tags reads “fastest man in collegiate football,” provided the Buffs with their big moment.
With 2:18 left in the half, his 95-yard kick-off return turned a 6-6 stalemate into 12-6 advantage. C. U. nursed this margin until the last minute and a half when Husker defense leaked for the Buffs’ clincher.
The spectacular touchdown dash by the speedy Woods came seconds after Nebraska had stormed from behind to tie the score.
The long kick-off runback, one of the most sensational in Big Eight history, kept the pressure on Nebraska throughout the last two quarters.
But, before yielding in the dying moments, Nebraska twice was in position to bid for what appeared to be certain tying and possibly winning points.
But each time the hitless Huskers had nothing in their bag of offensive tricks capable of solving the stubborn Colorado defense.
Woods’s run was accompanied to the thunderous shouting of the 43 thousand homecoming crowd which, except for the five thousand Nebraskans, was highly partisan.
The Cornhuskers faithful, who seconds before had cheered Thunder Thornton’s smash into pay territory, were stunned by the sudden turn of events.
Nebraska’s only chance to shout during the run was when Woods, at the C. U. 20-yard stripe, was momentarily thrown off balance by the outstretched arm of Husker Don Fricke.
Fricke made contact but not enough and Woods, who had broken down the middle, veered to the east sidelines and outsprinted the pack.
Quarterback John Faiman, rushing from an angle, was the last Husker with a chance to trap Woods. The Colorado sprint champion whizzed by without breaking stride and Faiman sprawled on the turf.
Woods took the catch away from Jerry Steffen, Crofton, Neb., left halfback, and whirled away from the onrushing Huskers who apparently were set to converge on Steffen.
Before Woods cut loose, Nebraska had moved into a 6-6 tie which appeared sufficient to assure the Cornhuskers an even start after the intermission.
David Rife, a third-string halfback whose 116 yards was by far the best rushing effort for the matinee, gave the Scarlet the scoring chance.
Rife obliged by fumbling an Archie Cobb kick. Fricke recovering to give Nebraska possession on the Colorado 38.
Cobb had fired from the end zone soon after Tyron Robertson’s fumble recovery stymied a C.U. drive which had carried from mid-field to the Nebraska 17.
Striking from 38 yards out, Quarterback Pat Fischer squirmed for 10 yards.
Thunder Thornton, whose all-around play was a Husker highlight, worked two delayed bucks for 10 more. Hitting the same hole with Thornton blazing the path, Pat Clare roar through for nine, just one yard short of a first down.
The Huskers required three plays to get this big yard.
Fischer got no where on a sneak and Noel Martin, who had relieved Thornton, got nothing at guard.
On the final thrust, Fischer’s sneak for the first down was so close the measurement showed the ball past the yard chains by less than six inches.
Nebraska needed three plays to score and had to call for a quick return of Thornton to get the last five yards.
Clare got only a yard on the first lunge. Thunder fought his way to the last foot, on the next try he rammed his way just across the final stripe.
Thunder’s juggernaut performance, having tied the score, the Nebraska section cheered as placekick specialist Ron Meade rushed off the bench.
The usually reliable Meade failed to break the deadlock, his kick angling off to the left.
There was 2:18 left when Thornton smashed into the end zone. Two minutes remained after Woods rushed Colorado back in front.
Ahead, 12-6, C.U. went for the two-point conversion and Gale Weidner’s pitch was wide of the mark.
It was the failure of Jerry Hillebrand, 230-pound end, to convert which had cost following the first C.U. touchdown. His placement sliced to the right after Quarterback Weidner had sneaked from the Nebraska one on the first play of the second quarter.
This early drive started from the Colorado 40 after Buff Center Bill Scribner had recovered a Dallas Dyer fumble.
Dyer’s error was particularly painful as a Frank Montera-Weiss hand-off on a fourth and one situation had given Nebraska possession on the C.U. 46.
This was one of the two times Nebraska had the ball the first quarter. The other brief acquaintance came after the Huskers had forced a punt, the first time in four games the Buffs failed to score the first time they owned the football.
C. U. opened its 60-yard scoring drive with 4:36 left in the opening period.
Right Halfback Ed Coleman, who suffered a possible fractured shoulder on the play, got the first three yards.
Weiss, a 204-pound fullback, smashed to the Nebraska 40 before Weidner, the Buffs ace passer, made his debut.
The Husker defense, concentrating on Weiss and possible Weidner pitches, overlocked Rife and the sub halfback slashed and ran to the Nebraska 12, then with two slants got the first down inside the Husker two.
The Scarlet held Weiss to one as the quarter ended, then bowed to Weidner’s sneak on the opening play of the second period.
Down six points, the Huskers fought the Buffs on even terms through a hard fought third quarter.
In the last 15 minutes, Nebraska saw two scoring gestures go for naught.
The first chance came immediately after the teams switched sides for the final quarter.
Gene Ward set up the pins for the first threat when he pirated Weidner’s lob to Hillebrand and romped to midfield.
With Fischer working the bootleg for five, Ward dive-bucking for six and the tired Thornton doing the heavy chores, the Huskers got to the Colorado 30.
They bogged down at that point as Fischer was caught inches short on a fourth-down sneak.
Colorado also was having difficulty making yards and the Huskers got their second opportunity when Rife’s fourth-down smash was short on the Nebraska 35.
The Huskers, with eight minutes remaining, carried the ball from their 31 to the Colorado 43 before taking the wraps off a passing attack which flopped miserably.
Fischer failed to get off the last two pitches. Hillebrand, Chuck Pearson and Bill Eurich collaborated on the all-important stop.
After their second surge past mid-field failed, the Huskers appeared to fold.
Colorado needed only seven plays to cover the 57 yards, with Weiss getting the pay-off romp from the 10.
The last touchdown was a gift, with one of two personal fouls committed by a Nebraskan factoring in the march.
This tough break came after Rife on a second down reverse had slipped on the turf for a five-yard loss. This was more than nullified when Nebraska Guard Darrell Cooper lunged onto the prostrate Rife.
When the referee stepped off 15 yards, the Buffs, instead of being faced with a third and 11 call, found themselves with a first and 10 on the Nebraska 15.
A Nebraska offside moved CU to the 10 and after Woods slipped for no gain, Weiss rambled the necessary distance unmolested.
Joe Romig, World-Herald Big Eight guard, surprised with the conversion. It was his first point in nearly two years of college football.
Romig was the standout in a heavy and aggressive Colorado line which had the Nebraska meat-grinder offensive well under control most of the afternoon.
The Colorado backfield was deeper, faster and more versatile than Nebraska’s secondary.
The Buff running attack was helped by Weidner’s passing threat which kept the Nebraska defense off balance.
Thornton through the middle, an occasional buck by Clare and frequent squirming by Fischer was all Nebraska had to offer.
This offensive maneuvering was far from enough when opportunity beckoned for Nebraska the last quarter.
The Huskers, now 1-2 in conference play, have the not-too-enviable assignment of tackling Missouri in the homecoming game at Lincoln Saturday.
Colorado, 3-0 in league play, has Oklahoma at home and goes to Missouri the following week.
Nebraska is 49-19 all-time against Colorado.
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