MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Young Mr. Super-cool did it again.
Nineteen-year-old Paul Rogers' field goal with 92 seconds to play boosted Nebraska past favored Minnesota, 17-14, in a heart-pounding football game Saturday.
The handsome blond from Rock Rapids, Ia., kicked a 51-yard field goal to rescue Nebraska in the Wyoming opener. His lifesaver this hazy day was a 19-yard effort, but the pressure hardly was less.
Nebraska was making a furious battle against both tough Minnesota and the clock, determinedly reaching a pot of gold after spotting the Big Ten club a 14-point lead in the first half.
It came down to this: With the score tied at 14, Nebraska had a first-and-10 on the Minnesota 10 with 3:18 remaining.
That was field-goal range, obviously, and Nebraska was not going to get reckless.
Rogers stood between Head Coach Bob Devaney and Offensive Line Coach Carl Selmer as Fullback Dick Davis jabbed the Gopher left side for one yard. Ernie Sigler, the calm, careful quarterback, nudged over left guard for two yards. Then Halfback Joe Orduna smacked the middle for five.
Fourth down, ball on the Minnesota two, Nebraska called time.
Rogers trotted onto the field of play. When Joe Buda snapped the ball, Sigler set it in place on the nine.
Rogers, the son of a Minnesota grad, did his duty. And his three points produced the tenth Cornhusker victory in one of the school's most respected and thrill-packed rivalries.
As Nebraska has pulled to a 3-0 record in his initial varsity season, Rogers has kicked four consecutive field goals (he missed on his first attempt) and seven straight placements.
His latest feat preserved Devaney's perfect N.U. record against Big Ten competition, now 7-0, and gave the coach a 4-0 mark against Murray Warmath, the Gopher headmaster.
Chalk up another notable string for big Jim McFarland, the pre-med junior from North Platte.
The 6-foot-4 end caught a pass for the second touchdown against Minnesota — his third scoring reception in as many games.
The other six-pointer against the Big Ten title shareholders was registered on a short burst by Orduna.
Let the record also indicate, indelibly, that Linebacker Jerry Murtaugh had a hand in 14 tackles ... That warhawk Dana Stephenson intercepted two passes and returned them 78 yards ... That Defensive End Sherwin Jarmon made a vital interception and an important fumble recovery ... That Al Larson returned a punt 29 yards to set up the touchdown that put Nebraska back in the game.
Excepting nearly eight thousand wearers of the red from Huskerland, the crowd of 55,362 shouted up a gale-force storm as Minnesota jumped to a two-touchdown advantage in less than 17 minutes.
The game opened in dismal fashion for both teams.
Returning the opening kick-off, Orduna was belted by Don Haugo and fumbled to Steven Thompson on the Nebraska 18.
A minus-five-yard tackle by Jarmon and two penalties helped push the Gophers back to the 42. End Bob Stein missed on a field goal attempt from the N.U. 48, but Nebraska was offside. Stein's next try was blocked by Jarmon, but Nebraska was offside.
A third effort, with the ball held on the 38, was downed by Stephenson on the Husker two.
A few minutes later, Jarmon recovered a Phil Hagen fumble to stop a Minnesota drive inside Nebraska territory.
Late in the opening period, Linebacker and Captain Noel Jenke stole a Sigler pass and returned it to the Nebraska 39. A facemask violation against the visitors on the same play moved the ball on down to the 23.
The Gophers swept to the two-yard line, from where Fullback Mo Forte, subbing for ailing Jim Carter, slashed through the Nebraska left side, bowled over Randy Reeves and scored a touchdown. Stein converted.
Midway in the second quarter, Andy Brown grabbed Husker Tom Heller's punt return fumble on the Nebraska 17. Five plays later, Forte again charged into the Husker left side for two yards and a touchdown. Stein again converted.
Forte, a 190-pound senior from Hannibal, Mo., did not score at any time last season and did not carry against Southern Cal a week ago.
Now he had the home club riding what appeared to be a monumental lead. There seemed to be some significance in the fact that Forte is majoring in mortuary science.
Soon, however, Nebraska began kicking the lid off the coffin.
Larson’s sizable ramble with a punt to the Nebraska 39 may have been the key spark.
Davis, whose 67-yard total made him the top Husker runner against Minnesota a second straight year, banged for nine. Sigler, who went the route at quarterback, tossed to Davis for seven more.
Sigler then passed to the redoubtable McFarland for 42 yards and a first down on the host three. Davis gained almost a yard. Davis fended off a blocker while Orduna bounced off Doug Roalstad and bolted into the end zone. After Rogers swung his leg, the count was narrowed to 7-14.
The highlight of the scoreless third quarter was Stephenson’s theft of a Ray Stephens pass that had large touchdown potential on the N.U. four. The Lincolnite beat Chip Litten to the grab, then raced 45 yards.
Still in the third, an apparent Sigler pass gain was nullified when Ziegler lost control and Linebacker Wayne King waltzed over to take possession.
Sigler’s passes to Orduna and Frost generated a threat that carried to the Minnesota seven in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter. That drive aborted when Jenke stole the ball from Orduna.
Stephenson’s interception of a pass by Stephens was the next item of major importance. Stephenson rammed back 28 yards to the Minnesota 17. Frost ran his left end for three. Stein and Ron Kamzelski held Davis without gain.
Third and seven. Bingo … Sigler pitched to McFarland, a gent who went to Nebraska on a baseball scholarship. McFarland now is known both as a pitcher and a catcher.
He caught this pass, twisted away from Safety Roalstad for the touchdown, then jubilantly sailed the ball into the endzone grandstand. Following Roger’s ever-popular kicking act, there was a 14-14 deadlock with 10:50 in which both sides could plot victory strategy.
|Yards per carry||1.9||2.0|
Nebraska is 25-33 all-time against Minnesota.
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 26|
|Iowa State||Nov. 2|
|Kansas State||Nov. 9|
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