Lincoln—Nebraska’s offensive linemen felt so good about the 45-0 whipsawing of Indiana Saturday that they’ll probably reward themselves with a couple of extra alpines this week.
No, you don’t get alpines at the corner soda fountain. You get them in the east stands at Memorial Stadium. They’re a form of body punishment.
Starting at ground level, the players start sprinting up the stadium steps. About two-thirds of the way to the top, they begin to feel they are climbing the Alps, without the timberline. Thus the name of the exercise.
The offensive linemen haven’t been required to run alpines, but they have been watching the defensive line laboring up the steps every Monday and Tuesday after practice. The defensive line was impressive in the 10-7 opening win over Louisiana State while the offensive line had problems.
On monday, offensive tackle Bob Lingenfelter approached Steve Hoines, the other tackle, and said, “Hey, Steve. You want to do some alpines?” Hoines answered, “Yeh, I was just about to ask you.”
It was all voluntary, mind you.
“They’ll help our legs and get us in better shape,” Lingenfelter said. “After last week, a lot of people were saying we didn’t have an offensive line, and that made us mad. We took a lot of hell from the public.”
Lingenfelter said he couldn’t claim the difference Saturday was the alpines, but the offensive line cleaned out the middle for the power backs and chopped down the ends for the outside runners while Nebraska ran up an overwhelming 470-97 advantage in total offense yardage.
It was the kind of game the 76,022 Husker fans have come to know and love. Mike Corgan, the offensive backfield coach, would call it his hammer and tong offense that went so nicely with a domineering defense.
“I can’t say it was the alpines, but I’m not as tired this week,” Lingenfelter said. “I know they’ll help us in the future, so we’re going to keep doing them.”
I-back John O’Leary, who ended up as the game’s leading rusher with 88 yards on 17 carries, carried the first four times for 17 yards.
That was fairly easy, so quarterback Terry Luck whipped a 21-yard pass to tight end Brad Jenkins, and five plays later Luck dived into the end zone behind center Bonness, and the race was on.
Nebraska played keepaway for scoring drives of 53, 92, 22, 50, 85, 56 and 44 yards while initiating 91 offensive plays to 43 for the Hoosiers.
Such ball control made it easier for the defensive Blackshirts to ring up the first shutout in eight games.
“We think shutout every game, but the first thing is to win the football game,” Husker defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “We’ve got to be ready to win, 3-0, but the offense was on the field a lot, which helped out defense.”
The 470 yards in total offense was the most by the Huskers in nine games, going back to the 524 in the 54-0 rout of Minnesota last year.
“The offense played very well, and the defense played well, too,” Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said. “I’m very impressed that we could shut out a good offensive team like Indiana. We expected, frankly, to move the ball. One of the best things is that we got to play a lot of people.”
59 of the Huskers in suit joined in the fun. Only kicked Mike Coyle, who injured an ankle while practicing on a helmet Friday, didn’t get in.
“Somebody left a helmet on the ground in practice yesterday (Friday), and he kicked it accidentally,” Osborne said. “His ankle swelled up. He tried to kick while warming up today, but he couldn’t.”
But Coyle’s replacement, Al Eveland, was solid on six straight extra points (seven since a penalty made him repeat one) and chipped in a 22-yard field goal to make it 10-0 in the first quarter after the 92-yard drive carried to the Hoosier one, then died.
“The backs did a good job, but, of course, they had a lot more room to run. It was a combination of Indiana not being as good as LSU and our doing a little better job. But we’re still not set in our offensive line and we’ve got to continue to improve.”
Although Nebraska was controlling the ball offensively and in charge with a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, the Hoosiers made a bold bid with four straight first downs and 69 yards that included three pass completions. But that lone threat went awry when Frank Stavroff missed a 28-yard field goal attempt.
If Nebraska’s backers were getting edgy at that point, they settled back comfortably after Wonder Monds played spoiler on the Hoosier razzle-dazzle play that saw Jones pass quickly into the flat to split end Trent Smock, who tried a quick kick. Monster back Monds blocked it.
Two plays later, fullback Tony Davis ran through every Hoosier he could find and finally ducked underneath the last one, cornerback Harold Waterhouse, on a 20-yard touchdown run.
But the hammer and tong offense takes time, which Nebraska didn’t have much of after Bobby Thomas hoofed a punt back 20 yards to the Indiana 46 late in the first half.
Luck wasted a good share of the remaining 1:28 when he lost four yards while trying to pass on first down. But he followed up with completions to Davis, Larry Mushinskie, Brad Jenkins and Chuck Malito before making it five in a row for the touchdown to Thomas from the 12. He made it with 20 seconds to spare.
“I just throw it for the corner, and he’s supposed to be there. It’s a timing thing,” Luck said.
Thomas’ timing was perfect. It was a jump ball situation, the 5-8 Thomas going up for the high lob against 6-2 cornerback Waterhouse. Thomas came down with the ball with Waterhouse on his back.
“I was aware he was around,” Thomas said. “But the purpose is to catch the ball. That’s my job.”
“It made a lot of difference having one game under my belt. I felt more comfortable. It was a lot different than last week. LSU was so much quicker. These guys (Hoosiers) were big and physical, but quickness is really the important thing.”
“We took a lot of criticism last week for not moving the ball more, but we’ve got a good offensive system and good offensive personnel. There’s no doubt in my mind we have a good team,” Luck said.
Luck and his first team backfield retired for the day after the score reached 31-0 in the third quarter. Vince Ferragamo, the heralded junior transfer from California, then made his first appearance and directed the last two touchdowns. He completed three of six passes for 32 yards.
For Indiana, now 1-1, it was a bleak afternoon. Courtney Synder, the Hoosiers’ all-Big Ten running back, was held to 33 yards on 16 carries. Jones, the leading Big Ten passer, was limited to five completions in 15 attempts for 23 yards and gave up interceptions to Butterfield and Kurt Stacey.
Substitute quarterback Dobby Grossman complete one of three for five yards.
For the second game, middle guard John Lee and tackle Mike Fultz were the main wreckers in the defensive line with eight and seven tackles, respectively.
So with two games safely listed in the win column, the Huskers will start preparations today for their third straight home game Saturday against Texas Christian University.
|Yards per carry||2.0||4.4|
Nebraska is 8-10 all-time against Indiana.
|Miami (FL)||Oct. 4|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 18|
|Kansas State||Nov. 8|
|Iowa State||Nov. 15|
|Arizona State||Dec. 26|
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