LINCOLN — With the voracious Blackshirt platoon spoiling four drives that reached inside the 10, Nebraska's football team Saturday handed Texas A&M its first shutout in 26 games, 14-0.
The conquest of the dogged but outmanned Aggies was achieved before a Band Day throng of 66,331 and gave Coach Bob Devaney the first step up in what could be his eighth straight winning season at Nebraska.
Not since 1930-37 have the Cornhuskers put together that many successful campaigns.
Offensively, Nebraska profited from another good job of clutch quarterbacking by sophomore Jerry Tagge, tight end Jim McFarland's domineering pass catching and the line smacks of workhorse rookie Jeff Kinney.
While making 366 yards in total offense, Nebraska held the Aggies to 171 yards, one less than they managed against Louisiana State a week earlier.
The winners' defensive play earned bravos from Ed Weir, the Cornhusker great who represented all football N men of the past at a halftime centennial ceremony.
Burley end Mike Wynn made four steps behind the Aggie line, those efforts adding up to deficit yardage of 22. Other crashing plays in the enemy backfield were contributed by Bill Janssen, Denny Gutzman, Dave Walline, and Bill Hornbacher.
Nebraska intercepted four passes to help offset the loss of four fumbles by its own offensive platoon.
The first aerial derailment was by cornerback Jim Anderson, who took the deflection off end Ross Brupbacher's fingertips and ran it 18 yards to the visitors' three in the opening quarter.
Anderson is a converted halfback from West High in Green Bay, Wis.
On first down, Kinney followed fullback Mike Green into the N.U. right side for a touchdown. The extra point was added by Paul Rogers, who kicked the other conversion but missed on three field-goal attempts.
Nebraska needed no help in registering the other touchdown. It came, in fact, after Aggie quarterback Jimmy Sheffield had angled a punt out of bounds at the Nebraska seven-yard line.
Sheffield averaged slightly better than 39 yards on nine punts, and this looked like one of his most damaging efforts.
However, the predicament didn't faze Tagge, who had replaced Van Brownson at quarterback when the rookie from Iowa twisted a knee midway in the first period.
Now it was first and 10 for Nebraska, with 9:23 remaining in the second quarter and the goal line 93 yards away.
Kinney supplied 18 of those yards on six carries. Larry Frost, Rogers and Tagge also tore into or around the angry Texas line on ground thrusts.
But the major impetus came from Tagge's five-for-five passing.
McFarland, the big bronc from rodeo-minded North Platte, made catches for 15 and 19 yards. Kinney speared one for a gain of 13. Other receptions were made by Danny Schneiss and Vactor as Tagge pitched with "old pro" aplomb.
An offside penalty against A&M helped after Nebraska reached the 11, but the way Tagge was moving his unit it probably was superfluous assistance.
With the ball on the six, McCook's Kinney charged through the left side to the one. Tagge then utilized a block by center Glenn Patterson to get over the goal line.
Although Nebraska's overall showing was not of championship caliber, that one long, steady march assuredly was reminiscent of play by Devaney's title-winning clubs of the past.
After that, the Blackshirts did the most effective work.
The next time Nebraska got possession, Randy Maddox banged into Tagge, forcing a fumble which Lynn Odom recovered on the N.U. 34.
This was an opportunity that could have put the young Aggies back into the running. Sub quarterback Rocky Self led the way with passes to Barney Harris and Billy Joe Polasek that keyed a drive to the Nebraska nine.
Wynn wasn't convinced. He knocked the ball out of Self's hand for a seven-yard loss. Pressured by Jerry Murtaugh, Self missed on another pass. Self rallied to hit Harris for a long gainer, but illegal use of hands nullified that play.
Finally, the Aggies came up short on fourth-and-35 and relinquished the ball.
With the exception of Rogers' field goal muff from the 42 and a 23-yard run by Self which was ended by Murtaugh, the third quarter was mostly a yawner.
The Tagge-McFarland tandem brought the crowd to life in the fourth quarter with a 42-yard air strike to the A&M 24. Groans followed as Green broke through the middle and lost the ball to Aggie Edwin Ebrom on the seven.
Green gained important absolution later in the period when he bumped Dave Elmendorf out of bounds at the N.U. 24 following a 55-yard punt return.
A&M did proceed to the seven, but Hornbacher smeared the next play and Dana Stephenson intercepted Self's pass on the next.
Among high tackle-assist totals for the Blackshirts were Bob Liggett, 11; Reeves and Al Larson, nine apiece; Stephenson and Murtaugh, eight apiece.
Linebackers Mike DeNiro and Buster Adami were pacesetters in an Aggie defense that deserved more satisfaction than the scoreboard allowed.
The triumph was Devaney's 60th in 77 games at N.U. Dana X. Bible, winner of 50 in 72 games, is second on the Husker chart.
|Yards per carry||0.9||2.6|
Nebraska is 10-4 all-time against Texas A&M.
|Texas A&M||Sept. 27|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 25|
|Iowa State||Nov. 8|
|Kansas State||Nov. 15|
Nebraska has played 11 games on Sept. 27. See them all »
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