LAWRENCE, Kan. — Tougher-than-ever Nebraska rose to another great challenge Saturday, choking Kansas’ fourth-quarter threat at the one-yard line and holding Gale Sayers to his smallest rushing total in three years to clinch a 14-to-7 victory.
With the Jawhawks’ victory string snapped at four, Nebraska took clear command in the Big Eight football championship race.
The Huskers are 8-0 for the year and have hiked the nation’s longest winning streak to 15. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are the only remaining barriers between Nebraska and its first perfect season since 1915.
Kansas was repulsed before a homecoming throng of 45 thousand, largest in the 71-game rivalry. Emotions rode so high, two police dogs were used in quelling several small disturbances after the final gun.
Sayers, the All-America out of Omaha Central, netted only 27 yards rushing, one less than he produced against Oklahoma in 1962 for his previous low.
Meanwhile, Halfback Bob Hohn, the senior co-captain from Beatrice, was turning in one of his most glorious performances as a Cornhusker.
Hohn was the game’s leading ground-gainer, collecting 84 of Nebraska’s 219 yards. Fullback Ron Oelschlager got 49 of Kansas’s 100.
That total was 122 yards under the K.U. average.
Nebraska’s tremendous all-around job included the longest touch-down pass play in the school’s history — a 92-yard thriller with rookie Bob Churchich throwing to junior End Freeman White.
Even then, the N.U. Black Shirts’ dynamic trench work in front of their own goal line could be considered the highlight of the struggle.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, 240-pound George Harvey shot the gap and forced a fumble by Churchich. The Husker quarterback is a 176-pounder, but so jarring was the impact, a man twice his size would have buckled.
End Bob Robben claimed the ball for Kansas on the K.U. 43.
Eight plays, including a short pass from Bob Skahan to End Sandy Buda, the sophomore from Omaha Creighton Prep, moved Kansas to the Nebraska 18.
Then Coach Jack Mitchell called for the play that had broken Oklahoma’s back.
Skahan faked to Sayers and handed off to Halfback Mike Johnson. Skahan then swept to his right, took a lateral from Johnson and sped toward the Husker goal.
Larry Wachholtz bumped him out on the five.
Sayers picked up two through the middle, and Oelschlager was restricted to one as the Black Shirts dug in. Johnson then whirled around his right end, but was smacked down on the one by Ted Vactor, Joe McNulty and Langston Coleman.
Situation: Fourth down, one yard to make for a touchdown.
Any fan could have carved his initials in the tension — if he hadn’t been too engrossed with the drama on the field. Kansas took time out. Coach Mitchell talked by phone with his strategists in their cubicle on the rim of the stadium.
Then Mitchell sent in Larry Fairchild with the do-or-die play.
The play never developed as plotted, however. The lines crashed together and the ball popped from the hands of Quarterback Skahan. Jayhawk Johnson picked up the dribbler, and zoomed to his right.
Once more the Black Shirts, led by Vactor, belted him out of bounds on the one. Kansas had driven 56 yards only to be shown why the Huskers are No. 1 in the nation on total defense.
Harry Wilson and Kent McCloughan then squeezed the ball out on the 10, giving Ron Kirkland punting room. Sayers a heart-stopping threat regardless of what the cold statistics say, returned to the Nebraska 40.
With five minutes and 44 seconds remaining, the Black Shirts again faced a crisis.
A couple of plays later, Kansas was on the N.U. 49, pondering the might of the enemy defense.
On third down, Skahan fired a perfect pass to Sayers.
Gale had a stride or two advantage on the deepest defenders — and the ball settled into his hands on the 15-yard line. However, Kansas was denied the type of climax play that had nipped Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Sayers runs with high-and-mighty keen action. And as he pulled in the ball, it was knocked loose by the upstroke of a knee. Kansas punted; Nebraska guarded the ball with supreme pride and muscle the final four minutes.
In the first half, when both attacking platoons were fresh, three consecutive drives resulted in 21 points.
Late in the opening quarter, Wally Hinshaw bounced a punt out on the Husker six. Hohn made a two-yard advance at left end. Then came the record strike against a team which had not been pierced by a “killer” pass in seven previous games.
Churchich scooted to his right, received precious seconds as Guard John Dervin eliminated a Jayhawk, then shot the ball to White. The six-foot-five wingman from Detroit made the catch on the Husker 36 and put those long legs in beautiful motion.
Gary Duff dived and missed as White galloped past the K.U. 23 en route to his first touchdown of the year. The first of two vigorous placements by Duncan Drum made N.U. a 7-to-0 leader with 2:31 remaining in the first period.
On the first play following the next kick-off, the Jayhawks swooped 53 yards to the N.U. 17 on a pass from Skahan to Johnson.
Five downs later, Oelschlager moved his 199 pounds through left guard to score from the three on the second play of the quarter.
Duff’s placement made it a dead heat.
But these Huskers thrive on challenges. Following Frank Solich’s 20-yard return of the kick-off, they stormed 75 yards to grave a lead that was to stand unscratched.
Hohn contributed one of his finest runs, weaving and bulling from his 35 to the K.U. 24, where Skahan managed to pull him down.
Solich, Churchich, Kirkland, McCloughan and Wilson also chipped in with yardage.
After reaching the 10, it was McCloughan for four and Solich for three. An offside by Kansas split the final three yards. Wilson made half a pace at left tackle. With McCloughan helping create a hole, Hohn knifed through the left side to score.
With 8:40 remaining before the intermission, it was a little early to hand the game back to the defense. However, Nebraska does not have ordinary defense.
|Yards per carry||2.9||5.0|
Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.
|South Dakota||Sept. 19|
|Iowa State||Oct. 3|
|South Carolina||Oct. 10|
|Kansas State||Oct. 17|
|Oklahoma State||Nov. 14|
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