LINCOLN — The Nebraska offense and defense complemented each other to perfection Saturday while burying Kansas under eight touchdowns, 55-0, before a record throng of 68,331 at Memorial Stadium.
The Blackshirts set up three touchdowns and scored one on sophomore Cletus Patrick Fischer’s 14-yard runback of an interception.
Coach Bob Devaney’s bellicose defenders recovered five fumbles and intercepted three passes. They dumped the Jayhawks for losses totaling 100 yards and limited them to a net minus-42 rushing.
Meanwhile, the Cornhusker attack platoon, though sometimes playing erratically, was stacking up 532 yards in total offense and building the largest N.U. margin of victory over Kansas in the 78-game rivalry that began in 1892.
It was the largest shutout spread against Kansas since Oklahoma’s championship club of 1954 won by 65-0.
Despite those numerous credits, the national poll leaders sputtered at times. They lost one of two fumbles, suffered two pass interceptions and were penalized six times for 97 yards.
Coach Devaney made numerous trips onto the playing field to seek information from the hawk-eyed officials and — judging from his facial expressions — to volunteer critiques of their day’s work.
Halfway through their schedule, the domineering Cornhuskers have a 6-0 record.
They have accumulated 145 first downs, 2,823 yards in total offense and 34 touchdowns.
They have outscored their opponents by 236 to 27.
That compares with the 1940 Rose Bowl team’s scoring superiority of 184-75 for a 10-game campaign that produced eight victories.
Jeff Kinney scored twice, boosting his career total to 25 touchdowns in 29 games. The McCook senior netted 104 ground yards and 21 on a pass reception. His career total for running and receiving stands at 2,587.
Also gaining 104 on the ground was his junior replacement, Gary Dixon, who picked up his fourth touchdown.
Quarterback Jerry Tagge, who was withdrawn with only a couple of minutes elapsed in the third period, scored one touchdown and passed for another. Not typically by any means, he was trapped for minus-20 yards on the ground — a tribute to the aggressiveness of the K.U. defenders.
Johnny Rodgers scored from scrimmage for the first time this season and added another six-pointer — lifting his career total to 20 touchdowns in 18 games — on a pass play.
Van Brownson was at quarterback for a pair of touchdown drives and capped the second with a sneak from inside the one-yard line.
Rodgers’ aerial touchdown was one of the prettiest Husker strikes in a season spiced with spectacular plays.
Nebraska held a 21-0 lead in the second quarter and had advanced from its 47 to the Jayhawk 37 in three plays following a punt.
Ringmaster Tagge shot a high-arching pass toward the west corner of the south end zone. At first, it appeared the pass was overthrown. Moral: Never underestimate the speed of young Mr. Rodgers.
Pedaling at a furious pace, the former Omaha Tech athlete lunged for the ball as he neared the end zone. His partner in the chase was Jayhawk Lee Hawkins, 180-pound senior who had played split end at a Detroit high school. Hawkins also lunged.
But it was Rodgers who got his hands on the ball as the pair tumbled over the goal line — so close to the corner that the red flag was brushed.
Both the pass and catch were superlative.
Kansas, which never could budge beyond the Nebraska 30 with its own offense, yielded the first points when the Tagge gang swept 68 yards following a pass interception by linebacker Bob Terrio midway through the first quarter.
Behind a block by fullback Bill Olds, Kinney bolted through the N.U. left side from the one for a touchdown.
Later in the same period, Dixon wrapped up a 40-yard excursion by carrying four straight times after N.U. reached the 15. The touchdown, over Husker left guard Dick Rupert, was from the one.
Operating with the kick-coverage unit, Rupert forced a fumble by Gary Adams as the Jayhawk attempted to return a punt in the second quarter. Tackle Daryl White recovered Nebraska’s ball on the Kansas 29.
Nebraska had to knock eight times, but Tagge got over on fourth down from inside the one. The Tagge-Rodgers pass completed first-half scoring.
Nebraska traveled 80 yards to score early in the third quarter, but 66 of that total was accounted for by Kinney’s touchdown run, his longest dash from scrimmage in three bountiful seasons.
Kinney rammed into the line, eluded the last serious tackle threat at the Nebraska 45 and zipped home with impressive speed.
Later in the third quarter, Nebraska momentarily lost its punch after moving 85 yards to the Kansas eight, where it gave up the ball on downs.
Within a few seconds, Bill Kosch recovered a fumble by Vince O’Neil on the Jayhawk 14. This time there was no frustration.
Brownson made an option pitch to Rodgers on first down. The fleet junior steamed around the Nebraska left end and went all the way.
Rich Sanger suffered his only extra-point failure after that touchdown. (He missed a 45-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter).
A mixture of second- and third-teamers brightened the usually drab fourth-quarter action by going 74 yards for a touchdown.
Sophomore Dave Goeller of Pilger accounted for a pair of first downs, third-team fullback Jim Carstens and third-team sophomore halfback Randy Butts contributed one each. Another came on a pass from Brownson to sophomore halfback Glen Garson.
With the ball inches short of the goal on fourth down, Brownson plunged over a block by right guard Mike Beran, a junior from Ord.
The grand finale was the theft-and-run by rookie cornerback Fischer, son of Husker assistant Cletus Fischer and nephew of pro cornerback Pat Fischer, who has made many a similar play.
Thumbing of the well-worn N.U. record book revealed that the victory was the most lopsided against a major college foe in 60 years. Nebraska beat Kansas State by 59-0 in 1911.
Kansas’ 56 yards in total offense compared with its previous season average of 330.4 yards.
Larry Jacobson, the jumbo senior tackle from Sioux Falls, S.D., had one of his finest days. He took part in seven tackles — a seemingly modest figure — four of which were for losses totaling 28 yards. Middle guard Rich Glover made four stops amounting to a 38-yard deficit.
There were fumble recoveries by Monte Johnson, Bill Janssen, Bruce Hauge, White and Kosch. The interceptions were by Willie Harper, Fischer and Terrio. Nebraska has stolen 15 passes this season.
At midpoint in the season, the proud Blackshirts have given up 100 or more ground yards only once: Minnesota netted 124. The other rushing totals were Oregon, 87 yards; Texas A&M, 83; Utah State, 89; Missouri, nine; Kansas, minus 42.
When a team can’t run, it must throw the ball. The Blackshirts love that.
|Yards per carry||-1.2||6.1|
Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.
|Texas A&M||Sept. 25|
|Utah State||Oct. 2|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 23|
|Iowa State||Nov. 6|
|Kansas State||Nov. 13|
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