LINCOLN — Sophomore Jerry Tagge's relief pitching in the third quarter Saturday prodded the Nebraska football team to a 17-3 victory over proud Iowa State before a homecoming throng of 67,107.
Success in the ragged contest kept the Cornhuskers in a tie with Missouri for the Big Eight lead and gave Bob Devaney win No. 100 in his 13th year as head coach.
The crowd pushed home attendance to an all-time high of 400,668. Nebraska makes its stretch run on the road, first meeting Kansas State, upset Saturday by Oklahoma State, and then taking on Oklahoma, which was trounced by Missouri.
Kansas State defeated Iowa State, 34-7, four weeks ago.
Nebraska led by a precarious 7-3 at halftime in the fracas with Iowa State. Van Brownson, sophomore starter at quarterback, had passed for 112 yards and had scored the lone touchdown.
But he had completed only for of a dozen passes, the N.U. runners were sluggish, and Nebraska had not been able to muster a first down until its fourth possession of the game.
In short, Iowa State was pressing a heavily favored team that direly needed a few vigorous cranks of the generator.
Then came Tagge.
The burly kid from Green Bay completed his first nine passes in the third quarter, drove his club 75 yards to set up a 25-yard field goal by Paul Rogers, and on the next N.U. sequence capped a 56-yard push with a touchdown pass to Mike Green.
Those were the sock-it-away points that set the stage for what may become one of the most pleasantly surprising seasons in Nebraska grid history.
Meanwhile, the Blackshirts were doing their usual unnerving work. Against an Iowa State attack that gave frequent glimpses of dangerous speed and aerial potential, the N.U. defense permitted only 27 net yards rushing and 119 in the air.
The Blackshirts dumped quarterback Obert Tisdale for losses totaling 86 yards. End Sherwin Jarmon caught Tisdale and fullback Jock Johnson for a minus 46.
Jerry Murtaugh, with a dozen stops and assists, made the most tackles for a second straight week. Bob Liggett collected 11, Ken Geddes 10, Jarmon nine and Al Larson eight.
Iowa State penetrated Nebraska territory as far as the 11-yard line in the second quarter, but two straight clutch plays by Larson, the senior from Sioux City, forced the visitors to settle for Vern Shripsky's 30-yard field goal.
In the second half, the winded Cyclone twice reached the Nebraska 30, no deeper.
Nebraska accounted for 390 yards in total offense, compared with Kansas State's 369 at Iowa State expense. However, K-State yielded a total of only 67 yards whereas Nebraska gave up 146.
Leading N.U. runners were Kinney, 49 yards; Brownson, 36; and Green, 31. Kinney caught three passes for 28 and Green plucked three for 39.
On Nebraska's first play of the second quarter, Brownson hurled the ball into the sun from the Nebraska 20. It came down around the Iowa State 45, where McFarland added it to his collection.
The senior from North Platte continued as far as the 11, making it a 69-yard strike.
Kinney added 10 through the N.U. right side, then Brownson squirmed over center for a touchdown. Rogers' first conversion was wiped out by a penalty for illegal use of hands. Despite the 15-yard handicap, his second kick also was true.
Iowa State had the gumption to fight back 64 yards to the Nebraska 11, where the count came up second and eight. Larson put down Johnson for a two-yard loss. On the next play, Larson's rush hurried Tisdale's end-zone pass, which has long.
Skripsy's field goal gave the 14-point underdogs only a four-point deficit at the half.
Nebraska scrimmaged from its 17 after receiving the second-half kickoff. An offside shoved newcomer Tagge and his people back to the 12, a nuisance which the quarterback promptly overcame with a 23-yard pass to the hustling Green.
There were additional passes to McFarland, Kinney and Schneiss, plus divot-digging runs by Green, Kinney, Tagge and Frost. But that left it fourth and three just outside the Cyclone eight.
Rogers' field goal from the 15, raising his school career-record total 11, gave Nebraska a more comfortable cushion of 10-3.
Johnson's bronco-like charges and a 33-yard sprint by Mike Palmer enabled Iowa State to advance from its 20 to the N.U. 30.
Geddes and Larson discouraged that sort of effrontery with a behind-the-line tackle of Tisdale. After an incomplete pass, the frustrated invaders pulled a fake field goal attempt.
Skripsky ran on past the ball. Holder Tisdale jump up — only to be smeared by Wynn and Jarmon on the 44.
While the crowd roared, Tagge cut a few figure-eights, then passed to Green for seven. Kinney netted four and two. Then the Tuxedo Kid, Guy Ingles, made a jumping-jack catch for 11. Danny Schneiss picked up five at right end, Frost got seven up the middle, and Tagge passed to Kinney for 11 and first down at the nine.
Tagge's next dart went to Green, who snagged the ball about the six and streaked to the end zone. The conversion by Rogers ended the scoring with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Did some smart guy say Nebraska by 14?
Opportunity for additional points came with eight minutes elapsed in the final quarter. Mike Fontanini hurled a fourth-and-10 pass from the Iowa State 40 to Otto Stowe at midfield.
As the lanky receiver felt the grain of the ball, he was caught in a beef sandwich between Dana Stephenson and Murtaugh.
The ball popped up to Randy Reeves, who ran to the Cyclone 30.
Devaney was content to let Tagge work with the No. 2 backfield. Behind formidable blocking, Jeff Hughes whistled around right end to the 14. Hughes notched another first down just inside the four, but Nebraska sagged at that point.
Tom Elliott speared Hughes for a loss of three. Tagge got back a pair before Hughes stumbled and fell for a one-yard loss. On fourth down, Tagge's end zone pass to Dave Mason was intercepted by Larry Holton.
Joe Buda later recovered an Iowa State fumble on the enemy 29 when Tony Washington attempted to field a punt. Nothing came of that, and no one really cared.
Iowa State highlights included Palmer's 61 yards rushing, Stowe's seven pass catches for 90 yards, Bob Brouillette's 47.9 average for nine punts.
As Clay Stapleton, Iowa State athletic director, departed, he waved an arm at the stadium and its 67,000 occupants. "How do you catch up with this?" he asked.
He added: "It's tough, but we're sure trying."
|Yards per carry||0.6||3.3|
Nebraska is 86-17 all-time against Iowa State.
|Texas A&M||Sept. 27|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 25|
|Iowa State||Nov. 8|
|Kansas State||Nov. 15|
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