LINCOLN — Nebraska lived up to Bob Devaney's promise of a full-throttle offense Saturday, beating woefully undermanned South Dakota University, 53-0, in the new coach's debut.
It was apparent to the crowd of 27 thousand that Nebraska's fattest point production in 17 years was, in itself, of no great significance.
But the rooters were delighted by the methods used in achieving victory.
The Cornhuskers came out shooting, and completed 11 of 17 passes for 142 yards before mercifully holstering their biggest guns.
They introduced two new halfbacks with exciting speed — Dave Theisen and Kent McCloughan. They exhibited three quarterbacks with aerial ability — Denny Claridge, John Faiman and Doug Tucker.
Defensively, they held South Dakota without a first down until midway in the third quarter — when the score had already mounted to 32-0.
But the victims were so completely overwhlemed — Nebraska used more backs than South Dakota had linesmen in suit — that there was little indication of what can be expected in this week's test at Michigan.
Nebraska hadn't run up as many points since Potsy Clark's team of 1945 defeated the same school by the same score.
Saturday's rout started slowly enough.
There was only a single touchdown in the opening quarter. It came on a 78-yard sweep originated by the first team and fulfilled by the No. 2 unit.
The pay-off was a fourth-down play, with quarterback Faiman of Omaha pitching to Larry Tomlinson of O'Neill for 20 yards.
Tomlinson, a 6-1 junior end, took the ball a couple of strides from the goal line and easily outmanuvered defender Denny Hanson.
Faiman, used only four minutes last season, connected on three other passes for a total of 55 yards and two touchdowns.
The second score this day, however, was engineered by first-team quarterback Claridge. Nine and five-yard sprints by Riudy Johnson and a Claridge-Theisen pass for four helped set the stage for Claridge's long-striding gallop to the end zone from the 15.
This raised the count to a modest 12-0 midway in the second period.
A fumble by rookie Willie Paschall cost Nebraska possession on its next opportunity following a thrust to the South Dakota three. Still in the second period, Theisen found McCloughan with a running pass for 14 yards, McCloughan raced wide to his left for 17 and fullback Joe McNulty barged over from the two for the third score.
When burly Jim Baffico, the former junior college All-American, kicked the conversion, Nebraska had its halftime advantage of 19-0.
The visitors had lost some of their stamina but none of their grit at this point.
On the second play of the second half, Sodak quarterback Dick Walsh fired what appeared to be a sharp pass to fullback Ken Janvrin.
However, Theisen breezed into the picture at just the proper split second, leaped for the ball and came down running. The tall transfer student from Marquette kept kicking up his heels until he had covered the 27 yards required for a touchdown.
Just a couple of minutes later, Theisen gave another breath-taking demonstration of speed and maneuverability.
He grabbed Hanson's punt on the Nebraska 43, skipped to the sideline as blocker Dick Callahan erased Mamon Keys and raced all the way to the South Dakota 27, where he was squeezed out of bounds by Walsh.
Letterman halfback Willie Ross went over from the 15 on a sprint wide around right end three players later.
Nebraska was offside, however, shoving the ball back to the 20.
This time McCloughan, the sophomore from Broken Bow, fielded a lateral from Claridge and scooted all the way round the opposite flank.
Several good line bucks by fullback Gene Young and a seven-yard keeper by Faimon put the ball on the Sodak 14 with a couple of minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Under a heavy rush, Faiman fired a perfect pass to sophomore John Vujevich alone in the end zone.
Early in the fourth period, McNulty, the rookie from Wymore, contributed rushes of eight, seven and six yards to a scoring push of 54 yards. Paschall's offering was a 23-yard trip around left end.
With the goal line two yards away, Tucker got across on two straight keepers.
The final touchdown — with nine minutes to go — covered less than a yard and was the pleasure of veteran fullback Noel Martin.
It followed two outstanding pass plays — Tucker to end Curtis-Bryan for 29 yards and Tucker to Martin for 14.
Although there was little opportunity to cheer the underdog, the crowd departed with great admiration for South Dakota halfback Dick Scott.
The 5-5, 151-pound junior from Watertown produced 73 yards on 16 carries. One brilliant effort covered 25.
Scott was symbolic of a dogged but hopeless resistance.
|Yards per carry||2.1||7.5|
Nebraska is 14-1 all-time against South Dakota.
|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 9 games on Sept. 22. See them all »
©2019 BH Media Group