LINCOLN — Substitute Quarterback Fred Duda steered slow-starting Nebraska to its first four touchdowns Saturday en route to the biggest margin of victory over Iowa State in 43 years, 44 to 0.
The spunky Chicago senior is small of stature but may have the memory of an elephant. It was Iowa State a year ago that he suffered a severe leg fracture and was shelved for last eight games.
In his cock-of-the-walk comeback, Duda hurled two touchdown passes and scored on a belligerent keeper through the Cyclone line.
For the day, he completed eight passes for 112 yards.
He not only inspired the Cornhuskers, but earned full-throated tribute from N.U. rooters in the record crowd of 54,125.
Blessed by 80-degree weather, this largest assemblage of all time in Nebraska included 36 hundred Band Day musicians and 23 hundred Iowa State followers.
That throng saw the Huskers punch out a 16-to-0 margin in the first half, then utilized wave after wave of fresh players to mount a rout.
Not since Fred Dawson’s stalwarts of 1922 had run away with a 54-to-6 triumph, had any N.U. team had this much success against Iowa State.
Coach Clay Stapleton of the visitors remarked at the start of the season: “Under platoons, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Nothing happened this day to change his opinion.
The Cyclones never managed to pass mid-field, the deepest penetration coming just inside the ISU 48 in the first quarter and to the 46 in the fourth.
Bob Devaney employed 28 Huskers on offense, another 30 on defense. He used four fullbacks, including third-stringer Charlie (Choo-Choo) Winters, a 217-pound rookie who accounted for 50 yards rushing and the final two touchdowns.
Another sophomore having his first big day was End Denny Richnafsky. The sure-handed Pennsylvanian caught a Duda pass for the opening points and tucked in five others for a total of 66 yards.
The Iowans played mighty hard to get at the outset as Nebraska opened its quest for a third consecutive Big Eight Championship.
Nebraska had scored the first two times it got the ball against Texas Christian and on the first three opportunities in the Air Force game.
But running against the Cyclone defense in the first period was about as much fun as swinging a pick in a granite quarry. No until Nebraska had possession for the fifth time — early in the second quarter — could it generate a touchdown steam.
One factor in the slowdown had been the spectacular punting of Steve Balkovec, Cyclone senior from Omaha. He averaged 49 yards on half a dozen punts the first half.
Larry Wachholtz, the old reliable in Nebraska’s deep secondary, finally took the edge off a Balkovec boomer by returning the ball 46 yards to the Iowa State fourth-yard line.
The North Platte junior juggled the ball momentarily, then streaked away. He stiff-armed Balkovec deep in Iowa State territory, but was bumped out of bounds.
With defenders such as Wayne Lueders and Dick Paukert charging fiercely, Nebraska had been shoved back to the seven after two plays.
Duda’s solution was a flip to Richnafsky, who bulled his way past Doug Robinson for a touchdown just inside the flag. Wachholtz then opened his perfect string on six placement conversions. His season record is 13 of 14.
Two judo-like defensive plays by Husker End Langston Coleman and a third-stop by beefy Dick Czap quickly forced another Balkovec punt.
Starting from their 35 after a clipping penalty, and responding sharply to Duda’s whip, the Huskers needed only five plays. The giant gainer was by Halfback Pete Tatman, who rode his invisible motorbike 47 yards before overworked Dennis Esselmann wrestled him down on the Iowa State 18.
Frank Solich executed a slick 13-yard run before Harry Wilson followed Tackle Dennis Carlson through the middle and over the goalline from the four. He even bounced off Empire Harold Saunders, who evidently didn’t believe anyone could emerge upright from the mob in the middle of the field.
Nebraska’s Black Shirts were at their toughest as the visitors attempted to strike back.
Bill Johnson, senior cornerback, delighted the “Johnson Day” delegation from Stanton, Neb., by smacking Baker for a six-yard loss. Coleman then fought off a blocker and rassled Quarterback Tim Van Galder for another minus-six.
End Bill Haug knifed through on next down to smear Van Galder for an addition loss of three. Balkovec punted.
The next time Iowa State got its sweaty hands on the ball, Haug and End Mike Grace were the prime culprits forcing a Balkovec kick. It was a gem — for 56 yards.
Wachholtz bobbled the catch but beat diving Larry Brazon to the fumble on Nebraska’s four.
Duda jockeyed Nebraska at a swift pace as the final minute of the first half ticked away. A 15-yard pass to Freeman White produced a first down on the enemy 14 with 32 seconds to play.
Tony Jeter jumped for a pass, but missed. Duda again threw to Jeter, who dropped it. Esselman recovered, circled back into the end zone and was hog-tied there by Tatman for a safety.
Nebraska had 16 points when the high school musicians put on their tremendous show of color and melody at intermission.
In a complete turnabout from previous games this year, Nebraska checked in with devastating play in the third quarter.
Duda was still at the helm on a 75-yard drive which he capped by spurting through his right side. Solich helped with an artistic fake.
Twenty-three seconds later, N.U. had its fourth touchdown.
When Willie Robinson fumbled a running catch of the kick-off, Johnson immediately flung himself onto the ball on the Cyclone 26.
White hurried down the right side, took a liner from Duda as he crossed the five, then strode across the goal line in the face of frustrated Doug Robinson.
Bob Churchich, who had encountered difficulty locating the bullseye in the first quarter, returned to seek redemption when Nebraska regained the ball moments later in the third period.
He had the disadvantage of a 15-yard clipping assessment that followed Wachholtz’s punt return and pushed Nebraska back to its 27.
Winters and soph Ben Gregory made up that yardage quickly. Churchich tagged Gregory with a pair of passes and hit Ken Brunk once as the Huskers rushed to the Cyclone 11.
Winters choo-chooed for nine, then two for a touchdown despite being in Paukert’s tight grasp.
Even with a 37-point lead, Nebraska’s relief platoons were hungering for scoreboard acclaim.
Sophomore Al Kuehl furnished the opportunity with a fourth-quarter interception of a Van Galder pass on the I.S. 41. Basically, it was the No. 3 offensive unit that dug out the touchdown in 10 plays.
Rich Haasch and Denny Morrison helped. Gregory, Brunk and Winters contributed. When only a short two yards remained, Winters moved a tangle of six or seven plays just far enough to nose the ball over the plane of the goal.
The statisticians reported a total of 501 yards for Nebraska.
That included 294 on the ground, compared with the skimpy average of 82.5 which Iowa State had yielded against Drake and University of the Pacific.
And the N.U. figure was achieved despite the perspiring heroics of Iowa State defenders such as Lueders and Paukert and Dave Mayberry, who were among Cyclones who had no relief.
The effort was there but as Coach Stapleton feared, the rich got richer.
|Yards per carry||1.3||4.8|
Nebraska is 86-17 all-time against Iowa State.
|Air Force||Sept. 25|
|Iowa State||Oct. 2|
|Kansas State||Oct. 16|
|Oklahoma State||Nov. 13|
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