MEMORIAL STADIUM, LAWRENCE, Kans. — Nebraska could have used a harsh word from Tommy Prothro Saturday.
The Cornhuskers made their record 8-0 with a 24-13 Big Eight triumph over cellar-sharing Kansas, but exhibited none of the meanness that had been inspired by UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro’s alleged scorn the previous week
Told that Prothro questioned their national ranking, the Huskers then stormed out to slap down Missouri, 35-0.
Against Kansas, they turned in one titanic period of football — a three-touchdown outburst in a 14-minute span before intermission.
The Jayhawks responded with a 13-6 edge over Nebraska the second half of a homecoming game which drew a stadium-record 45,500 fans. Seven thousand rooters were from Nebraska.
Perhaps Nebraska was lulled into drowsiness by its first-half effectiveness.
During the initial 30 minutes, Nebraska’s offense accounted for 186 yards while its defense was holding Kansas to three. The Jayhawks tried four ball carriers, all of whom were stuck with minus yardage at the half.
Kansas failed to work its way beyond the N.U. 45. The abrupt turnabout, however, provided the best excitement of the afternoon — that and the landing of a parachutist near the gridiron.
In addition to outscoring Nebraska the final 30 minutes, the eager Jayhawks outyarded the Huskers by 196 to 141 as little quarterback Billy Fenton and durable halfback Don Shanklin applied the pressure.
Despite the Huskers’ frequent dullness on offense, quarterback Bob Churchich turned in one of his better performances.
The senior ran 27 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and passed nine yards to Harry Wilson for another score to offset Kansas’ first touchdown.
With 101 yards in the air and 27 on the ground, Churchich raised his career total-offense yardage to 2,675. That wiped out the mark of 2,635 set by quarterback Denny Claridge in 1961-63.
Churchich’s 15 aerial attempts hiked his season total to 146, four more tosses than Claridge made when he set the record in 1962. Churchich is one short of Claridge’s record 975 passing yards for one season.
Best of his receivers in the victory, which gives Nebraska a formidable 5-0 record in the Big Eight, were sophomore end Tom Penney and the versatile Wilson.
Penney, a native Kansan, caught five for 36 yards. Wilson nabbed four for 38. A number of the completions were made in sticky third-down situations when the running game was running down.
Nebraska’s longest touchdown excursion was its first, a 69-yard effort that started late in the opening period and was climaxed early in the second.
There was one crisis — fourth and three to make after John Zook, K.U.’s brilliant rookie end, had jammed Wilson for no gain. Getting a steamroller escort from tackle Bob Pickens, Churchich ran seven yards to a first and 10.
Pete Tatman chugged for nine, Wilson added a tough one and Tatman came back for two. With the ball on the three, Gregory barely put it over at right tackle.
Larry Wachholtz’s kick was wide to the right, a first chapter in Nebraska’s most inept day for conversions. After the next three touchdowns, two-point passes were attempted. Each failed.
Nebraska still looked like the No. 6 team in the nation when, midway in the same period, it put a 67-yard drive in motion.
The Huskers arrived at the Kansas 22, when Gregory took a pitchout around right end for 11 yards. Bugged by a motion penalty and an incomplete pass, Churchich tried the same play.
This time he faked the pitchout. When the defender went for Gregory, Churchich made the turn. He neatly danced around the nearest Jayhawks, cut back and sprinted diagonally for the goal line. He didn’t need a block; no one got close enough to touch him.
On the first play after the ensuing kick-off, cornerback Dennis Thorell gave N.U. its seventeenth interception of the season. He grabbed Fenton’s toss and sped 20 yards to the Kansas 24.
Wilson carried on four of the next six plays, finally diving over left tackle from the two. The defense was overwhelmed by blockers on that side of the line.
Thus it was 18-0 at the half.
Any K.U. fear of a slaughter evaporated when Nebraska fumbled on three of its four series of the second half.
A 46-yard advance was wasted when end Bruce Peterson recovered a fumble by Charlie Winters. Another 23-yard chunk of offense went down the drain when large George Harvey claimed a fumbled Churchich-Tatman handoff. That one gave Kansas the ball on Nebraska’s 36.
Due mainly to the defensive excellence of Lynn Senkbeil and Jerry Patton, Kansas was no deeper than the 25 after five plays. But then Fenton popped a big one.
He passed to the end zone, where Halley Kampschroeder and Husker Thorell went up for the ball. Kampschroeder couldn’t hold it. The deflection went toward Junior Riggins, who hugged leather for six inspirational points.
Dave Bouda’s placement, with 1:44 to go in the third quarter, shaved Nebraska’s advantage to 18-7.
Nebraska got six of the points back in the final quarter, needing six minutes and one second to struggle 46 yards. The touchdown shot was for nine yards, Churchich passing to Wilson.
Still no rest for the ragged, Kansas slashed 78 yards on four big plays against Nebraska reserves, scoring in gallant defiance after time had run out.
Fenton passed to Sandy Buda for 13. Fenton passed to Kampschroeder for 38 yards. Fenton raced from the Nebraska 27 to the 12, calling time out with three seconds to go.
Then the 155-pounder rolled to his right and fired to Kampschroeder in the end zone. The same combination barely failed to produce another two points.
Because of a foot injury, Fenton hadn’t suited up for a game since the opener.
But in announcing the starting assignment, Coach Jack Mitchell predicted Fenton would fight Nebraska all the way. Fenton did that, never losing faith or courage although hounded unmercifully by Senkbeil, Patton, Langston Coleman, Wayne Meylan and other Husker Black Shirts.
Nebraska got its victory; Fenton and his pals earned a lot of respect.
|Yards per carry||2.2||3.8|
Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.
|Utah State||Sept. 24|
|Iowa State||Oct. 1|
|Kansas State||Oct. 15|
|Oklahoma State||Nov. 12|
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