Memorial Stadium, Lincoln—Nebraska used Kansas State as a springboard for a 26-6 victory Saturday.
The Cornhuskers thus became the first Scarlet team to win its first five games since Coach Dana Bible’s 1933 club ran up seven in a row en route to a Big Six championship.
For the second straight week, the Cornhuskers had to come from behind.
In sharp contrast to a week ago when Nebraska with a two-touchdown rally took a cliff-hanger from North Carolina State, 19-14, in the closing seconds, the Saturday hassle was exciting only during the opening moments.
Nebraska scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the second quarter. The remainder of the afternoon was given over to a weird display of wasted energy.
The Cornhuskers, as drab as they were brilliant in the first four outings, took command after a floundering start and never eased the pressure.
So decisive was Nebraska superiority, the Scarlet ran and plunged for an amazing 317 yards and passed for 87 more for a 404-yard offensive harvest, tops for a Scarlet team in modern conference competition.
Defensively, the Huskers were equally as convincing on the ground while attempting to spread an aerial umbrella that leaked badly in the early play.
A Kansas State team that could garner only 38 yards rushing clicked for 156 through the air.
This air supremacy produced Kansas State’s early touchdown, breaking a scoreless streak that had plagued the Wildcats for five games.
The Cornhuskers, meanwhile, were carrying the ball all over the gridiron, soggy from an all-night rain strained through a porous field cover.
But they were shackled by fumbles, pass interceptions and Coach Bob Devaney’s decision to parade all his talent.
The Huskers, with even the usually reliable Dennis Claridge having difficulty handling the slippery ball, fumbled six times and lost possession twice.
Kansas State lost control on its three bobbles, one setting the stage for Nebraska’s fourth and clinching touchdown.
Three passes, two by the hitherto unerring Claridge, fell into Wildcat hands.
Each spoiled a Husker threat and one in the first five minutes spoiled a 50-yard drive which, if successful, might have turned the game into an early rout.
The Nebraska aerial bombarding did harvest the go-ahead touchdown but clicked on only six of 15 tries.
Faulty pass protection was costly, due in part to Devaney’s use of 48 players’ including 19 backs, 15 of whom qualified for the statistical summary.
Apparently not mad at K-State or Wildcat Coach Doug Weaver, Devaney played most of the second half with reserves and left the fourth stringers in when K-State in the last couple of minutes was threatening a second touchdown.
All the Kansas State cheering was crowded into the first five minutes.
Badly outmanned for any attempt to gain on the ground, the Wildcats set their pattern the first time they had the ball.
This was a sensational 86-yard pass-run collaboration by two lithe juniors—Larry Corrigan from Kansas City and Eugene McFillen from Belleville.
McFillen took the ball back of Husker sophomore Doug Tucker, who momentarily appeared to be counting the 30 thousand spectators.
Gene made the grab on the K-State 38 and hustled down the west sidelines well ahead of the frustrated Huskers, who could muster only half-hearted pursuit.
It was the busy McFillen who gave the ‘Cats their scoring chance. He swiped a Claridge pass intended for Larry Tomlinson and got back two yards to the Wildcat 14 to set the trap.
There were less than five minutes played when K-State tallied.
Having broken their long scoring drouth, the pepped up ‘Cats came within a whisker of getting a second touchdown.
They promptly forced a punt and, taking immediately to the air, needed only six plays to advance 66 yards to the Nebraska six.
This invasion was hastened by two Corrigan passes—a 37-yarder to Halfback Joel Searles and a 10-yarder to End Jack King.
Unable to silence the aerial bombardment, Nebraska held with a fumble recovery.
The ball popped from the arms of Fullback Willis Crenshaw with Husker Halfback Dave Theisen recovering.
Noel Martin, a Kansas boy who has bloomed as a top-flight fullback under Devaney, carried the ball out of dangerous territory and sparked the first touchdown thrust.
Martin picked up consecutive first downs on plunges of six and 13 yards before the Husker attack bogged down.
His 24-yard thrust once his mates regained possession put Nebraska near midfield while trailing, 6-0, going into the second quarter.
The Cornhuskers needed only 1:16 of the second period and four plays to score.
Kent McCloughan, the Broken Bow sophomore, ignited the fuse with an 11-yard scamper. He appeared headed for the score until slipping on the loose sod.
A Claridge pitch to End Dick Callahan was the pay-off. The throw was from the 37. The junior had sprinted into the end zone unnoticed.
John Faiman’s toe furnished the tie-breaker.
The Huskers hurried their bulge to eight points the next time they gained control.
This was a 66-yard drive that was kept in gear in spite of a holding penalty deep in K-State territory.
Claridge fired the march with option-keepers and kept it alive with a 21-yard fourth-down throw to Theisen which eased the penalty handicap.
Rudy Johnson got the tally on a third-down sweep, which saw Texas Cornhusker beating Wildcat Gary Heinz to the corner. Again Faiman’s toe was unerring.
Two touchdowns in the third quarter hiked the game beyond K-State reach.
Claridge, who had a better day running than passing, made it 20-6 with a keeper from four yards out. This drive started from mid-field.
A few minutes later Martin rammed over from the three. Again it was a keeper by Claridge that ate up ground. He rammed 15 yards after Larry Donovan had covered a Corrigan fumble on the 18.
Paying their respects to Willie Ross, who ran to three touchdowns as Nebraska won, 24-0, at Manhattan last year, K-State “gave” the Scarlet the middle in order to protect the flanks.
Husker fullbacks made the most of this strategy.
While the injured Thunder Thornton watched, Gene Young shamed for 61 yards, Martin for 54 and Ron Powers for 30.
Once ahead, it was evident Nebraska was conserving its strength for the next Lincoln assignment—Missouri the November 3 homecoming attraction.
About the only thing new the Huskers showed against K-State was Jim Baffico in the role of punter and Faiman as kick-off man.
Baffico lifted three for a respectable 37-yard average compared with the 41 charted for Claridge, who handled all the chores in the four early games.
Faiman bombed two kick-offs into the end zone. In view of the poor showing of Colorado at Iowa State, it is doubtful if Devaney will raise the lid at Colorado Saturday either.
|Yards per carry||1.5||5.2|
Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas 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 19 games on Oct. 20. See them all »
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