COLUMBIA, Mo. — Bombastic Missouri coupled titanic defensive play with a substituted quarterback’s last-period touchdown pass Saturday to win by 10-7 and knock out defending champion Nebraska out of the Big Eight title picture.
With the triumph, achieved before a crowd of 56,400, the twice-beaten Bengals kept alive their championship hopes and apparently will receive official invitations to at least two bowl games.
The killer play featured two sophomores, passer Garnett Phelps, from Louisville, Ky. And receiver Jon Staggers, a Jefferson City native with exceptional speed.
Ironically, third-stringer Phelps had been pressed into action after a hammering defensive play by Husker Wayne Meylan shook up starter Gary Kombrink.
Staggers caught the ball on about the three and tumbled across the goal line.
That shot wiped out a lead Nebraska established midway through the opening quarter on Frank Patrick’s end-zone pass to Halfback Joe Orduna and Bill Bomberger’s conversion/
Missouri trimmed the advantage to 7-3 in the second period on the longest field goal, a 45-yarder, ever kicked by sophomore Rocky Wallace.
The Tigers had not beaten Nebraska since scoring a 16-7 victory over Bob Devaney’s first club in 1962 and had not won over N.U. at Columbia since a 10-0 verdict over Bill Jenning’s 1961 team.
Fullback Dick Davis, for example, ran hard and well. He was the Nebraska leader. Yet he was held to 35 yards in 13 carries. The swift Orduna garnered 16 yards in 10 carries.
The longer the game went, the tougher Missouri behaved. Tough — but in approved football style, with the exception of 276-pound Tackle Russell Washington’s banishment for taking a swipe at N.U. Tackle Jerry Patton.
On offense, Missouri was stacking up 210 yards against a Black Shirt unit that had led the nation with a total-defense average of 133.9.
Still the smooth, cool master, Patrick picked up 16 yards with a pass to rookie End Paul Topliff. Gregory added three at right end. When Orduna was checked for no gain, Nebraska had third down and seven to make at the Missouri 34.
As Patrick threw, Orduna and Topliff entered the end zone in the company of Missouri’s Butch Davis and John Meyer. When the ball came down, all four men leaped.
Orduna was a six-point winner. Nebraska had swept 84 yards in seven plays.
In the second period, following a freakish play on which Dana Stephenson’s punt bounced off the top of Orduna’s helmet on the Tiger 22, Dan Devine’s hosts drove 51 yards through the Black Shirts.
There was a 15-yard pass, Gary Kombrink to End Chuck Weber, and four runs by Staggers worth 27 yards.
The Black Shirts then buckled down at the Nebraska 38. Tackle Jim McCord clutched Staggers for no gain. Adrian Fiala broke up a Kombrink pass. Staggers failed to find his target on a pass off a reverse. That’s when Wallace came in to kick his field goal.
On the first play after the kick-off, Barry Alvarez who had his mightiest day as a Husker, recovered a fumble by Staggers on the Missouri 25.
But it came up fourth and three at the 18. Disdaining a field-goal attempt, Nebraska sent Orduna ripping into the left side.
Because End Bill Schmitt, Guard Sam Adams and Tackle Wallace were good football players doing a great job, Orduna was a yard short.
Fate knocked again on the second play of the fourth quarter, this time asking for Missouri. Dana Stephenson’s punt was deflected by Wallace. It carried only 17 yards to the N.U. 37.
Phelps tried his second pass of the game. It made him 0 for 2. Al Larson and McCord backed up Staggers one yard. Foiled on the ground, Phelps then threw the first touchdown pass given up by Nebraska this season.
Nebraska did show some momentum with 6:38 to go when Stephenson recovered another Staggers fumble. But that was on the N.U. 22–like 10 miles from the Missouri goal this day.
Patrick completed passes to Orduna, Gregory and Davis, but Benhardt and his mates kept the gains short while inflicting frequent losses. After Nebraska reached the Tiger 36, Benhardt wrested down Patrick for a loss of seven, making it third and 15. One pass was incomplete. The next, under heavy rush by Lee Mungai, was no good, and Missouri took possession.
In a short while, fans were tearing apart the south goal posts.
“Stung by four straight losses to Nebraska, Coach Dan Devine’s squad ought to be highly motivated this afternoon.
"Bengal veterans still carry the deep scar of last year’s 35-0 drubbing at Lincoln, witnessed by a regional television audience. For them, revenge is something more than a catch phrase.”
You can believe it.
|Yards per carry||2.5||0.3|
Nebraska is 65-36 all-time against Missouri.
|Kansas State||Oct. 7|
|Iowa State||Nov. 4|
|Oklahoma State||Nov. 11|
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