Missouri 10
Nebraska 7

Nov. 18, 1967 • Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Missouri

1 2 3 4 T
Nebraska 7 0 0 0 7
Missouri 0 3 0 7 10

Snarling Mizzou Defense Strangles Huskers by 10-7

Dick Davis flies through the air, but hardly with ease ... launched by Bill Schmitt in the third quarter. ROBERT PASKACH/THE WORLD-HERALD

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.

Meylan Narrowly Misses

And on the touchdown play, Meylan roared into the Missouri backfield with a charge that barely missed Phelps. Meanwhile, Staggers, who has been injured much of the season, was streaking toward the end zone.

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.

Tigers’ Day to Growl

But they broke the string emphatically and deservedly on this sunny, stimulating day of 50-degree weather.

Their tremendous defense, led by junior End Elmer (Benny) Benhardt and Linebackers Roger Boyd and John Douglas, pinched off the Husker ground game at an embarrassingly meager 11 yards.

The only thing that kept Nebraska in the game was its passing, as Frank Patrick connected 12 times in 20 attempts for 161 yards.

For the ninth straight game, Missouri did not give up a second-half touchdown.

The record will show this to be the first N.U. team coached by Devaney to lose three games. Not adequately reflected in the bare record is the ferocity of the Missouri defense.

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.

Patrick Pressured

Patrick was almost constantly under savage attack by the defenders. Benhardt alone was responsible for the big sophomore signal-caller being dumped for losses totaling 28 yards in the final period.

On another crashing play, Benhardt mauled Halfback Ben Gregory for a six-yard loss.

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.

Huskers Show Finesse

In the early going, while the Huskers were fresh, they blazed through one of their finest offensive series of the season. They made it look as though they could handle Missouri.

This exhibition began with the ball on the N.U. 16 following a 57-yard punt by Steve Kenemore.

Patrick promptly shot the ball to End Denny Richnafsky for a 30-yard gain. Roger Boyd caught Gregory two yards behind the line, but Patrick retaliated with a three yard pass to Gregory.

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.

Scarlet Tries for Kill

Carrying the precarious 7-3 lead into the third quarter, Nebraska suddenly had a chance for what might have been a fatal thrust.

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.

Benhardt Stuns Patrick

Fourteen minutes and one second of mayhem remained. Patrick was stunned and required temporary rest on the bench after he was tackled hard by Benhardt nine yards behind the line.

Moments later, Alvarez, who took part in 20 tackles, forced a fumble by Ron McBride. Marv Mueller recovered.

Nothing significant developed from those incidents. Just more thrust and parry.

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.

Tigers Motivated

This paragraph appeared in the game program commentary:

“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.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Game stats

Opp NU
Penalty yards 11
Rush yards 140 11
Rush attempts 56 44
Yards per carry 2.5 0.3
Pass yards 70 161
Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-14-0 12-22-1
Yards/Att. 5.0 7.3
Yards/Comp. 23.3 13.4
Fumbles 3 0

Series history

Nebraska is 65-36 all-time against Missouri.

See all games »

1967 season (6-4)

Washington Sept. 16
Minnesota Sept. 30
Kansas State Oct. 7
Kansas Oct. 14
Colorado Oct. 21
TCU Oct. 28
Iowa State Nov. 4
Oklahoma State Nov. 11
Missouri Nov. 18
Oklahoma Nov. 23

This day in history

Nebraska has played 16 games on Nov. 18. See them all »

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