|North Carolina State||6||0||8||0||14|
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln—Nebraska, a team accustomed to moving out front, proved it could come from behind Saturday.
The Cornhuskers scored twice in the last seven minutes to beat North Carolina State, 19-14.
Dennis Stuewe, senior halfback held out of the Iowa State game because of injury, came off the bench for the two touchdowns which enabled the Scarlet to overcome a 14-13 deficit.
With the victory, the Huskers became the first Nebraska team in 47 years to sweep its non-conference slate.
In whipping the Wolfpack, the Cornhuskers gambled and lost—then won.
The gamble came with 6:54 left in the game when the Scarlet following Stuewe’s first touchdown had pushed Nebraska within one point, 13-14.
Hoping the momentum of the 80-yard drive would carry through the conversion, Nebraska scorned a place-kick conversion tie and went for the two-pointer to win.
This strategy backfired as Dennis Claridge’s end zone pass to Stuewe was short and batted to the sod by defender Tony Kozarsky.
When the ball hit the turf the crowd—a capacity 38 thousand—settled back on the seats apparently satisfied the Huskers were doomed to a one-point defeat.
But, the Nebraska team which raced out at halftime to turn a dull game into a cliff-hanger was not through.
Facing the double assignment of getting possession of the football, then scoring, the Scarlet dug in.
The clock showed only 2:45 remaining when sophomore Kent McCloughan signaled a fair catch on the Husker 32. Great work by the Nebraska line had halted the Wolfpack at midfield. Tackle Lloyd Voss rolled Quarterback Bill Kriger on the key play which forced the punt.
Negotiating the 68 yards in less than three minutes brought the huge crowd up cheering as the Scarlet raced the clock.
As it turned out, Nebraska needed less than two of those precious minutes to score the winning touchdown.
Strategy called for four time-outs and out-of-bounds plays to stop the clock.
Claridge varied the offensive with pitches to Larry Donovan, Jim Huge and a screen pass to Willie Ross.
The big moment came when on a third down and three situation on the NCS 13, Claridge slipped the ball to Stuewe with a cleverly concealed hand-off.
Fans cheered for a first down which would keep the drive alive.
Stuewe and his mates had other ideas.
They went for the touchdown and with Warren Powers, Noel Martin and the tireless Claridge, who had sprung the trap with the hand-off, blazing a trail, Stuewe raced into the end zone.
Convinced this was the pay-off, the customers, exhausted from the wild second half, turned toward the exits.
But they soon returned to their seats as in the closing minute and eight seconds Nebraska was forced to muster a frantic defense to protect its five-point margin.
A 41-yard pass-run by Quarterback Jim Rossi to Halfback Les Young was ticketed to return the game to the Wolfpack.
Huskers McCloughan and Dick Callahan dragged Young down on the Nebraska 26 with 41 seconds left.
The Huskers rose in wild fury to smother the bid.
John Kirby broke up a pass, Powers smothered Montgomery as he took a pitch for no gain and Dave Theisen spoiled the third pass attempt.
Larry Tomlinson and Monte Kiffin rocked passer Rossi on the fourth down as the final gun popped.
At the start of the winning march during the closing minutes Nebraska got help from an interference call which spotted the Huskers a first down on a Wolfpack 42.
Wolfback Merrick Barnes rode Huge to the ground when the Holdrege veteran attempted to field a Claridge toss.
North Carolina wept bitter post-game tears over the decision.
They overlooked that when Nebraska was trying desperately to come from behind.
With Nebraska trailing, 14-7, a holding penalty nullified a brilliant 29-yard touchdown run by McCloughan which had the Carolinians grasping at air.
The penalty set the Huskers back to the NCS 43 from which point the Scarlet drove to a first down on the six, then failed.
After a pitch-out to Powers got nowhere, Stuewe was shot through the line and apparently lunged into the end zone.
Referee Joe Paulson ruled Stuewe’s knee touched a yard out.
In two downs the Huskers couldn’t get the three feet.
When Claridge’s sneak got only a foot even the insertion of Thunder Thornton for one play failed. Claridge used Thunder as a decoy, and both were buried under the pile still two feet short of the final stripe.
Before the hectic finale fans were treated to a variety of thrills.
The highly partisan Band Day crowd cheered the Huskers when they spurted to the lead after being outplayed during a drab first half.
A different club from that which plodded through the first two quarters, the Nebraskans, with Tomlinson, Ron Michka and Voss making the stops, hurled the Carolinians back 20 yards on three rushes.
They took possession on the NCS 23 when Roger Moore, Wolfpack relief punter, got only seven yards with a high kick.
The Huskers promptly rushed in with Claridge scoring from the four on a cleverly faked hand-off to Fullback Gene Young, who had sparked the drive. John Faiman place-kicked the conversion.
Nebraska used only five plays to get the go-ahead points.
North Carolina State needed only one play to regain the lead.
The Wolfpack broke Joe Scarpati loose on a 91-yard kick-off return. Scarpati broke down the middle, drifted to his right and won the race down the west sidelines.
When Rossi, the mastermind of the Mafia backfield, hit End Ray Barlow for a two-point conversion, the Southerners led, 14-7.
This looked like the final ticket until Nebraska’s two-touchdown uprising in the final period.
North Carolina State went into the intermission, 6-0, in front, thanks to a quick touchdown the first time the Wolfpack had possession.
When the speedy Scarpati converted a poor Claridge punt into a 29-yard return, the Pack was on its way.
It ate up 31 yards in five plays, with Rossi cutting back from the three to score with ease.
There was less than five minutes gone when NCS broke the ice.
This was a part of a listless first half which witnessed Nebraska being outdowned, 8-5, and outrushed, 117-54.
The magnitude of the Husker second half comeback is shown by the final chart which shows Nebraska ahead in first downs, 17-12, and in offense yardage, 356-178.
Nebraska had North Carolina State’s aerial weakness well scouted, the Huskers working the air lanes for an amazing 202 yards.
Claridge hit 14 of 23 tries for 184 and had his first interception this season. Powers joined the aerial circus with a looper to Tomlinson for 18 yards.
The Wolfpack had Nebraska’s running attack well defensed.
It had Claridge well shackled, had Willie Ross fairly well controlled and was going along smoothly until Stuewe stripped the NCS gears.
Gene Young, with nine carries for 36 yards, and Noel Martin, with two rushes for 13, lent encouragement to the Husker fullback situation.
The speed with which Thornton raced in for his one play hinted Thunder will be available for Kansas State Saturday as the Scarlet moves into the Big Eight slate.
|Yards per carry||3.0||3.3|
Nebraska is 2-0 all-time against North Carolina State.
|South Dakota||Sept. 22|
|Iowa State||Oct. 6|
|North Carolina State||Oct. 13|
|Kansas State||Oct. 20|
|Oklahoma State||Nov. 17|
|Miami (FL)||Dec. 15|
Nebraska has played 17 games on Oct. 13. See them all »
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