LAWRENCE, Kan.—About the time Kansas and Nebraska were settling in for one of those old-fashioned defensive games, Dave Humm found there are much easier ways to accomplish your purpose than getting your nose bloodied.
It was so much easier, in fact, that when the Nebraskans totaled it all up at the end they were amazed to learn the final score of Saturday's Big Eight headliner was 56-0, and Humm had pocketed a couple of conference passing records.
Even his coach, Tom Osborne, confided that he expected the final score to be "something like 21-17 or 24-21, but I always felt we'd win."
Kansas was, after all, ranked No. 13 in the nation and had the fourth most potent offense.
After a scoreless draw through the first 15 minutes, the 52,300 fans, including 13,000 Nebraskans, were seeing about what was expected, the kind of game only middle guards and linebackers enjoy.
Then Humm, who has had a number of superb passing days in three years of quarterbacking the Huskers, had what he called "definitely my best day ever"
By completing 23 of 27 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
He had completed more passes (25), collected more yards (297) and thrown for more touchdowns (four) in one game, but still it was his "best day ever."
He was pleased because it was the most precise passing display in history by a Nebraska quarterback. His .852 completion rate wiped out the record of .818 by Steve Runty against UCLA last year.
His third touchdown pass, three yards to Don Westbrook, also gave him 37 career touchdown passes to break Kansan David Jaynes' Big Eight record. Humm was called out of "retirement" in the fourth quarter to gt another Big Eight record.
He had yielded to reserve Terry Luck in the fourth period after the score had grown to 35-0. Then Sports Information Director Don Bryant phones Osborne on the sideline to inform him that Humm had finished with 14 consecutive completions to tie another Jaynes Big Eight mark.
Osborne sent him back in with a one-shot mission. He earned the record on first down after Husker Mark Heydorff had recovered a Scott McMichael fumble at the K.U. 16. He hit a swing pass to John O'Leary for five yards then retired again.
"I really appreciated the chance since I was that close to the record," Humm said. "Coach Osborne said I had a chance for a record, but he didn't say what it was. If he had said it was for consecutive completions I know I would have missed it."
As Humm talked a large, red welt was evident over his breast bone. It was his trophy for a lick he took from Jayhawks Steve Towle and Dean Zook just after he had launched a nine-yard touchdown pass to Westbrook 23 seconds before the end of the half.
As fullback Tony Davis jubilantly beat on a prone Westbrook in the end zone, the Nebraska trainers scurried out to check on a prone Humm at the 20.
"I just got hit in the chest and got the wind knocked out of me," Humm said. "I wasn't going to miss another game. I'm through getting hurt."
He received hip and head injuries in the losses to Wisconsin and Missouri.
He didn't see the touchdown pass to Westbrook, the second of three for the Wyoming wingback. "I heard the crowd and thought I had thrown an interception."
That play was as important as any in the game, defensive captain Tom Ruud said. It came on a 79-yard march against the clock and the K.U. defense that had not yet come apart.
"If the offense hadn't gotten that one, it was 7-0 at the half, and it would have been a different game," Ruud said.
The first touchdown came after Kansas returner Bruce Adams fumbled a punt at his team's 39 and Chuck Malito recovered. The only other time the Jayhawk veteran has ever done that was in last year's Liberty Bowl, which Kansas also lost, to North Carolina State.
For Malito, it was something of an atonement. He is as fast as almost any Nebraskan, but he was inches short of a Humm pass that was a sure touchdown the play before.
Adams's muffed ball bounced right into his chest as he stood in front of the Kansas bench.
Five plays later, Humm passed seven yards for the touchdown to Westbrook. The same pair hooked up for the fourth touchdown, a three-yarder in the third quarter.
Westbrook’s three scoring receptions put him in the Nebraska record book with other triples by Clarence Swanson in 1921. Johnny Rogers, 1971, and Frost Anderson, 1973.
“I was all psyched up,” Westbrook said. “I knew I was a good pass receiver (he caught seven for 72 yards and added 42 yards on four carries), but I was worried about it at one time, back when I was switched to wingback (from I-back last year).
“There’s nothing like getting into the end zone.”
Then, showing he was still psyched up, the Cheyenne senior bubbled: “The whole team did a great job. If we play like this all the time, nobody can beat us.”
It was at that point that Ruud, the defensive captain who was listening in, urged his happy teammate to cool it.
“Hold it down a little big. We don't want to have ato beat the bulletin boards, too,” he said with a wide smile.
But there wasn’t much holding back on enthusiasm. The team that had been frustrated in defeat by Missouri the week before had won handily after a slow start. The Huskers earlier had been looking like great front-runners but had their problems if they didn’t score early.
“It was rough the first quarter,” offensive tackle Marvin Crenshaw said. “Kansas has a damn good defensive line. About the third series, they started to bend a little. They were starting to quite. That’s when you have to go all the hard.”
“We were a team today. We proved what kind of a team we have,” Humm said.
The shutout by the defensive team was the second of the year, the other being Minnesota, 54-0. But te Kansas victory tasted better to the Blackshirts.
“This is the Big Eight,” Capt. Ruud said. “That's the difference. The offense gave us real good field position to work with, and we didn’t give the, the big play. They were hurt when (fullback Robert) Miller got hurt. He was their steadiest player.”
Miller, who was averaging 114 yards per game, was sidelined with a knee injury on the first Kansas series when Husker middle guard John Leemet him at the line of scrimmage and drove him nine yards in reverse before driving him into the turf.
“I was mad because I was offside a couple plays earlier,” Lee said. “But I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I tried to take him down, and a couple of guys hit my legs.”
The loss of Miller “hurt our offense, but you can get somebody hurt at any time. You can’t let that affect you,” said Scott McMichael, the Kansas quarterback.
With Miller out, the Blackshirts could concentrate more on stopping Laverne SMith, who was leading the Big Eight in rushing with 124 yards per game. Smith carried 10 times for 25 yards.
McMichael, leading the Big Eight in total offense, carried seven times for 17 yards, hit three of 12 passes and gave up interceptions to Ruud and Jim Burrow.
Nebraska had an overwhelming 465-143 edge in total offense and had Kansas so thoroughly beaten that the reserves scored four times in the last quarter.
Ruud, who also led nebraska’s tacklers with six, recovered a blocked punt by Bob Martin (Chuck Jones blocked one in the second quarter, too) at the K.U. 25 to set up the subs’ finishing blitz.
John O’Leary scored the fifth touchdown on a fourth-down run and later scored from the five after Burrow’s interception on the Kansas 40.
Jeff Moran tallied from a yard out after Heydorff’s fumble recovery and finished the touchdown parade on a 10-yard sweep after Bobby Thomas returned a punt 47 yards to the Kansas 25.
But, still, it was Humm who earned the highest marks with his dart throwing.
Don Fambrough, the Kansas Coach, said he had “never seen a better passer than Humm. We just couldn’t get to him. He sat back and passed whenever he wanted to.”
Osborne added his amen.
“Dave Humm also does a lot of things for this team you can’t see. He checked out of some bad situations today into several good ones. Obviously, we have a better football team with Humm out there.”
By “checking out” Osborne means that Humm changed signals at the line of scrimmage when he didn’t like the looks of the Kansas defense.
“Probably 30 to 40 percent of our plays were audibles Dave called at the line,” Osborne said. “We thought we would throw a little more against Kansas because they have such a good defensive team.”
“I honestly believe we can thrown on anybody.”
Ruud wasn’t around to tone down his coach’s optimism. Osborne will no doubt revert to coaching’s traditional pessimism today when preparations begin for Oklahoma State’s homecoming invasion of Lincoln Saturday.
|Yards per carry||2.2||3.9|
Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 26|
|Iowa State||Nov. 9|
|Kansas State||Nov. 16|
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