LINCOLN — Nebraska failed to make a first down and didn’t complete a forward pass as Colorado defeated the Cornhuskers, 7-0, on a soggy field Saturday.
It wasn’t so much the slippery turf and the mild blizzard which started sifting in the final quarter that bothered the Cornhuskers as it was the aggressive brand of football displayed by the Buffaloes.
A crowd estimated at 26 thousand, remarkable considering the sub-freezing temperature and the cloudy damp day, found little to cheer.
Colorado partisans, although happy over the outcome, saw their Buffaloes fumble away three scoring chances, then need a Cornhusker bobble to escape the stalemate.
This came late in the third quarter when Husker Dick Callahan let the ball pop from his grasp deep in Scarlet territory.
C.U. defensive specialist Claude Crabb recovered on the Nebraska 11 and Quarterback Gale Weidner sneaked from the one on the third play.
End Jerry Hillebrand, who during the drab matinee missed three field goal attempts, converted and that was the ball game.
Nebraska faithful, most of whom stayed to the end, hoped for a miracle.
Although their Cornhuskers were outplayed they were within reach of victory until the final gun.
But, the hitless Huskers never got past midfield and only twice were within nine yards of the mid-stripe.
So, all the Nebraska bitter-enders had to cheer was a stubborn-goal line defense which stymied the Buffs two yards from a second touchdown as the clock ran out.
The nearest approach to Nebraska’s inept Saturday performance, I can recall, was the scoreless tie with Pittsburgh in Lincoln 33 years ago.
In the 1928 game Coach Ernie Bearg’s Huskers failed to a make first down although favored to beat the Panthers. Nebraska, which finished 7-1-1 that season, didn’t try a pass.
Against Colorado Saturday, Nebraska threw a dozen times, mostly in desperation after the Buffs had scored.
The Scarlet tried eight times with sophomore Dennis Claridge and fourth time with senior Ron Meade.
Nebraska passers and receivers were subjected to heavy pressure and Scarlet pitches either were wide of the mark or muffed.
Gale Weidner, C.U.’s sensational thrower, made merry with the Nebraska aerial umbrella, completing 10 of 14 efforts.
Rushed in a half-hearted fashion until the second half, Weidner had ample time to get off his pitches. There also was good opportunity for Buff receivers to get in the open.
Big Jerry Hillebrand, a favorite target, gathered in four for 84 yards and Halfback Bill Harris grabbed two for 45.
Although Weidner’s passing was sensational it didn't hurt the Huskers as badly as the bull-like rushing of Loren Schweninger, the finest fullback to show in Lincoln this season, and the sharp slants of Harris.
Schweninger’s best plunge, a smash which broke the Husker middle to the one, set up a Weidner’s touchdown sneak.
While the lone fumble set up the C.U. touchdown and beat the Huskers, it was ability to recover fumbles that kept the Scarlet within range.
Covering Buff bobbles and drawing personal fouls was about all Nebraska seemed able to do well.
A roughness penalty moved Colorado half the distance to the goal from the five just ahead of the touchdown.
Bob Brown, Gary Toogood and Monte Kiffin made the recoveries which stymied C.U. threats. Inability of Hillebrand to score from the field also cost the Buffaloes.
He missed three. His try from the Nebraska 37 landed in the snow in front of the goal posts. A second period try from the 25 was far to the right.
The game was scoreless when Hillebrand failed the second time. It was 7-0 when his attempt from the 23 was partially blocked by Husker Tri-Captain Don Purcell.
Camping in Nebraska territory most of the afternoon, C.U. had drives halted on the Huskers 37,39, 44 during the first quarter; 45 and 19 in the second; 12 and four in the third and 46, 16, 35 and two in the final session.
The Huskers got to their own 41, 15 and 21 when in possession during the first quarter, to their 41 and 32 in the second, had the ball only on their six during the third quarter and were stopped on their six, 26, seven, eight and 28 in the final period.
Colorado’s All-America Guard Joe Romig lived up to expectations. Tackle John Denvir and Guard Ralph Heck, who went all the was, were the other standouts up front.
Thunder Thornton was the only Nebraska back able to get past the line of scrimmage with any consistency. He got only 30 yards in nine carries. Purcell was the heavy duty man on defense.
Colorado had such firm command Nebraska for in only 23 running plays. Schweninger of the Buffs almost matched this with his 21 rushes.
While Nebraska backs were skidding into solid flanks of Buff tacklers, Colorado rushes for 217 yards. With 150 yards passing, this gave the Buffs and amazing 343 yards total offense.
The victory assured Colorado of at least a Big Eight tie but the one-touchdown margin may not impress the Orange Bowl committee.
The Buffs can sweep the conference platter by winning over Iowa State at Boulder Saturday. A non-conference argument with Air Academy also is on the Buffs’ slate.
Nebraska soloed in seventh place after the defeat. The home finale with Oklahoma Saturday gives the Scarlet a chance to finish in at least a tie for sixth place.
The Huskers are 3-5-1 for the year so hopes for a long-awaited winning season are out the window.
Nebraska is 49-19 all-time against Colorado.
|North Dakota||Sept. 23|
|Kansas State||Oct. 7|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 21|
|Iowa State||Nov. 11|
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