Memorial Stadium, Minneapolis — Nebraska dispelled any fanciful notions Minnesota had of ending Husker football domination during a first-quarter blitz Saturday.
Nebraska put together drives of 77, 80 and 34 yards for touchdowns in the first period and went on to win, 35-10.
The Huskers looked upon the sunny side of life the rest of the afternoon while winning their sixth straight game from their Big Ten rivals.
While Nebraska built a big edge in statistics, it didn't enjoy the overwhelming yardage bulge of a year ago.
But it's safe to say that N.U. Coach Bob Devaney enjoyed this one more. In 1969 the Huskers had to break away from a 14-14 halftime tie to win, 42-14.
Nebraska squandered few opportunities Saturday while the game held much suspense for a turnout of 52,287, including one exuberant red-hatted fan who dashed onto the field near the game's end to congratulate the Huskers.
Supercharged at the start, Nebraska collected 201 of its 406-yard total in the first quarter while sailing to a commanding 21-7 lead.
Nebraska never built up similar steam the rest of the way, but there was no need for that kind of concentration.
Jerry Tagge, who enjoyed the best day of his career here a year ago, again was the Husker stimulator. He had lots of help.
Tagge completed 12 of 21 passes — one a three-yarder to Guy Ingles for a score — for 148 yards and added 25 on nine rushes.
Jeff Kinney and Joe Orduna, alternating at tailback, gained 91 and 70 yards to lead Nebraska's 240-yard rushing total.
In addition, Orduna floated a dying quail touchdown pass to Ingles for 14 yards on a play that left no one within shouting distance of Guy the Fly.
While the Nebraska defenders gave up 270 yards, the Blackshirts were tough when it counted — with one exception.
Minnesota's touchdown came when Ernie Cook, a Percheron type stomper, broke away for a 45-yard run in the first quarter to give the Gophers a short-lived 7-7 tie.
Jerry Murtaugh, with 10 solo tackles, led Nebraska defenders. He had important help from Ed Periard, Bob Terrio and Dave Morock.
Nebraska needed only 10 plays to cover 77 yards the first time it had possession. Perhaps the most important play on the drive was a third-down face masking penalty called on the Gophers after it appeared the Huskers would need to punt into the 23-mile-an-hour wind at their 40.
Given new life by the penalty, N.U. moved the remaining 49 yards in five plays. The big ones: A 21-yard dash around right end by Johnny Rodgers and a 17-yard Tagge-to-Orduna pass on which Rodgers set him free with a crack-back block.
The touchdown, with 10:37 to play in the opening quarter, came when Rodgers sprinted the final six yards.
Paul Rogers kicked the first of five placements as he ran his consecutive extra-point string to 17.
Minnesota took possession at its 49 after Nebraska's next drive.
On the second play, Cook broke up the middle on a draw play and the stocky junior went the route from the N.U. 45. The Daytona Beach blaster ran into and out of the arms of Jimmy Anderson on his up-the-middle dash.
Canadian soph Louis Clare tied the game with his kick and the sobered Huskers took possession at their 20 after the kickoff.
Apparently angered, Nebraska sent Kinney blasting behind Wally Winter and Donnie McGhee for 12 and 14 yards the first two plays.
Kinney carried seven times for 45 yards on the 11-play, 80-yard march. Another 21 came on a broken pass play when Tagge spotted Dan Schneiss for good recovery.
Kinney followed McGhee and Winters for the two-yard touchdown run.
When Rogers' kickoff caught the stiff wind, Bart Buetwo tried to find it at the 35. The Gopher end lost possession and Husker soph Joe Blahak recovered on the 34.
Even a 15-yard clipping penalty assessed against Ingles on Orduna's 19-yard run didn't dull the N.U. drive. Tagge pitched for 16 to Rodgers to the 14. Then Orduna started wide, suddenly pulled up and sent a wobbling pass to a lonely Ingles in the end zone to make it 21-7 and one of Nebraska's most productive first quarters in years.
The tempo slowed the second quarter as Minnesota cut the scoring to 21-10 on Clare's 35-yard field goal into the win.
Nebraska came back again, using nine plays on the ground to cover 60 yards for the score that made it 28-10 at the half.
Tagge leaned in over Carl Johnson from the one for the score. The key play was a 20-yard pass from Tagge to Rodgers that placed the ball on the 15.
Nebraska completed scoring against a stubborn Gopher defense that didn't yield the score until the 11th play on the 59-yard march.
Tagge's three-yard pass to Ingles on the fourth play of the last period brought the touchdown.
For all practical purposes that ended the contest, except for some Husker fun generated by Bruce Hauge, second string Nebraska linebacker who lives at suburban Bloomington, Minn.
Bruce grabbed a Minnesota fumble and then he intercepted a deflected pass. The lumbering soph returned the ball 26 yards to thwart Minnesota's final try for a score.
Nebraska, its non-conference chores done in 3-0-1 style, returns to Lincoln Saturday to face a Missouri team that whipped Minnesota two weeks ago, 23-12.
|Yards per carry||4.4||3.9|
Nebraska is 25-33 all-time against Minnesota.
|Wake Forest||Sept. 12|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 24|
|Iowa State||Nov. 7|
|Kansas State||Nov. 14|
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