MEMORIAL STADIUM, COLUMBIA, Mo. — Quarterback Jerry Tagge broke his own school record for total offense Saturday while Nebraska was rolling up 603 yards en route to a 36-0 triumph over a Missouri team that never should have said “Show me.”
Although he retired after three quarters, Tagge ran for 85 yards and one touchdown, passed for 234 yards and one touchdown. That totaled 18 more yards than the 301 he amassed against Minnesota in 1969.
With Husker blockers methodically detonating large holes in the Missouri defense Jeff Kinney added 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Bill Olds netted 66 yards.
Tagge’s scoring pass went to Johnny Rodgers and was good for 28 yards. It was the Omaha flanker’s seventh touchdown in the last four games.
The Blackshirt defense contributed points for the third straight week, this time registering a safety when Monte Johnson blocked Jack Bastable’s quick-kick back through the end zone.
Nebraska went into the opening game of its Big Eight title defense shouldering the abnormal pressure that comes with exceptional success.
To win was not enough for the undefeated national poll leader; their fans and national football observers took victory for granted. The challenge was to win by an “impressive” or a “satisfactory” margin.
Nebraska came through beautifully.
Its 36-point margin was the largest at Mizzou expense since a 48-0 thrashing administered by Coach Fred Dawson’s awesome Cornhuskers of 1922. It was believed to be Nebraska’s most lopsided triumph at Columbia since 1917, when the tally was 52-0.
The 603 yards in total offense broke by one the Missouri-opponent record set by Oklahoma in 1956 against the final team coached by Don Faurot.
A king-sized asterisk should be placed next to Kinney’s career touchdown total of 23, achieved in 28 games. That is three more touchdowns than were collected by Gale Sayers, the two-time All-American, in a 30-game varsity career at Kansas U. in 1962-64.
Rodgers also is in excellent position to pass Sayers’ production. The junior flanker has totaled 18 in 17 games.
Missouri backers had persisted in upset talk although N.U. was a 21-point favorite. And thunderous roars issued from the crowd of 61,200 when Nebraska was held scoreless in the opening period for the first time this season.
Each team missed on a field goal attempt during the first 15 minutes of rough-and-tumble action.
Greg Hill of Missouri was short and wide from the 31 midway through the quarter. Nebraska’s Rich Sanger likewise needed better distance and direction when he kicked from the 27 a few seconds before the quarter ended.
Nebraska never was rattled, though, and figuratively jammed the ball down Missouri’s throat the first time Tagge & Friends took possession in the second quarter.
The drive spanned 67 yards. The longest plays were a Tagge-Rodgers pass for 13, a Taggle ramble around the N.U. left end for 15 and a Tagge pass to fullback Olds for 10.
The fifth and final first down of the sequence was posted at the Tiger four when McCook’s Kinney jumped the middle for three yards, Kinney then chugged over his left tackle for three, but was limited to no more than a foot on a subsequent try at the same spot.
On third down, right guard Keith Wortman took out Bob Orsi on a block to the Husker’s left. Tackle Carl Johnson and end Jerry List belted their adversaries in the opposite direction. Kinney shot through the touchdown-sized hole.
Approximately four minutes later, Monte Johnson ripped through to reverse the direction of a quick-kick by Bastable, who was standing near his goal line. Add one safety.
Some 3½ minutes after that, Kinney utilized blocks by fullback Maury Damkroger and center Doug Dumler for a touchdown from the three. This capped a 55-yard sweep on which Tagge and Kinney each picked up a first down on a fourth-down play.
Nebraska’s fourth-down confidence was indicative of the storm that brewed on a mostly gray day marked by gusting wind and temperature in the 50s.
The fat clouds held their moisture; the storm occurred on the field.
Nebraska ran the ball four times on fourth down in the first half. In marked contrast, Missouri quick-kicked four times the first half.
Missouri didn’t get the ball past its 45 under its own power during those 30 minutes. After recovering an N.U. fumble on the visitors’ 42, Missouri did reach the 24; that’s when the field goal effort went astray.
When the rivals left the field at intermission, Nebraska already had rushed for 214 yards compared with a minus-two for the Tigers. Nebraska also was on top in passing, 116 yards to 24.
Missouri did struggle as far as the N.U. 15 in the third quarter after a personal-foul penalty against the Huskers wiped out a fourth-down punt. But that opportunity was squelched by Bill Kosch’s interception of a pass by sophomore Ed Johndrow, called off the bench for the first time this year by Coach Al Onofrio.
Meanwhile, the Huskers were fattening their total.
Halfway through the third quarter, they gobbled 73 yards in six plays. The largest bite was good for 36 yards, Tagge passing to Kinney for a first down on the Tiger 33. Damkroger made a couple of yards, Gary Dixon added three.
The touchdown presented Rodgers in a new and roar-proving role: that of a weightlifter.
He took a pass from Tagge near the sideline and immediately had the unwelcome attention of Lorenzo Brinkley. The 173-pound Brinkley leaped on the 171-pound Rodgers at about the five-yard line. Safety Pete Buha added his 195 pounds to the tackle effort shortly thereafter.
The two defenders got Rodgers down to slow motion, but couldn’t stop him. Carrying and dragging, Rodgers went on to the end zone — proving himself the most tigerish player of all.
Rich Sanger’s conversion raised the score to 24-0.
Kosch’s interception a few minutes later set up an 80-yard N.U. scoring sweep later in the third quarter.
Another titanic second effort by Rodgers, this on a 25-yard pass play with Tagge, was the highlight. Apparently tackled at about the Nebraska 33, Rodgers fought loose, went through his patented zig-zags and tacked on another 11 yards.
An illegal procedure penalty created only a momentary problem after the Huskers reached the Missouri five. Tagge passed to Woody Cox on the next play, and Cox was forced out about one foot short of the goal line.
Dixon failed to gain at the middle, but Tagge lunged straight over Dumler for the touchdown, the tenth of his career by foot. He has passed for 22.
Van Brownson was at quarterback the rest of the way. He showed top form as he conducted a 52-yard trip in the fourth quarter.
Dixon was called on most often, but Glen Garson supplied a nifty run of seven yards and took a Brownson pass for 19. Jeff Hughes sped the final nine, receiving a well-timed pitchout and circling end. Sanger’s kick from placement was wide.
Nebraska ran 73 times and threw 35 passes while controlling the ball for 108 plays, a season high. Missouri, once famed for its ability to hog the ball, totaled only 48 plays.
Running into the sharp-toothed maw of Blackshirt defense, Missouri accounted for only nine yards rushing, probably its most meager ground showing in the 65-game-old rivalry.
There was scant chance for any Blackshirt to collect a large number of tackle credits. However, the middle guard Rich Glover merits special mention for his four solo tackles — each behind the line of scrimmage.
|Yards per carry||0.4||4.6|
Nebraska is 65-36 all-time against Missouri.
|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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