LINCOLN — Nebraska hitched up a convoy for the final show before the home folks Saturday. The big question now is whether the Huskers keep on truckin’ to Miami after reaching Norman, Okla., on Nov. 25.
Nebraska sent 14 runners against a beleaguered Kansas defense. The show of strength didn’t quit until the Huskers had rolled to a 52-7 victory and more yardage on the ground in one game than any other Husker team.
The final figure was 550 yards rushing The Huskers surpassed their season average of 297.6 when I.M. Hipp, N.U.’s prize 18-wheeler, swept right end for 12 yards with 5:05 left in the first half.
Nebraska had 338 rushing yards by half and eclipsed the school record for a single game when Tim Hager, the Huskers’ third quarterback, pushed the total to 526 with a three-yard gain midway through the fourth quarter. The old mark was the 523 yards against Hawaii in 1954.
Things couldn’t have gone much better for Nebraska in its final shakedown prior to its visit to Oklahoma a week from Friday. That’s when the 8-2 Huskers try to stake a claim for a share of the Big Eight championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl.
“I think it was a good win for us,” Husker Coach Tom Osborne said. “It went a little easier than I thought it would.”
Nebraska is idle next week, but the Huskers may get in a game of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Bowl invitations can be extended Saturday.
Osborne and Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer have talked about an agreement that would send the Husker-Sooner loser to another bowl game.
“I talked to Barry Switzer last week,” Osborne said. “He seemed to agree to that idea. Both athletic directors also seem to agree and so does commissioner Chuck Neinas.”
The Huskers may be heading to Norman with a little more confidence this time thanks to the running success that has been found this year. Oklahoma has beaten Nebraska the last five years.
“One of the differences this year than the past three or four years is that we’re running a little better,” Osborne said. “The past few years we’ve had to live by the pass.”
That part of the HUsker game seemed a thing of the past Saturday. Nebraska completed only two-of-13 passes for 37 yards.
“I was very disappointed in the way I was throwing the ball,” said Nebraska starter Randy Garcia. He netted only four yards on one completion in 10 attempts. “But we really didn’t have to throw either.”
The Huskers broke 19 runs for more than 10 yards. The longest was Rick Berns’ 63-yard gain that produced the Huskers’ second touchdown in the opening quarter.
Hipp enjoyed his third 200-yard day of the season by hitting that mark exactly. Berns had 107 yards on only eight carries. Sophomore Tim Wurth almost gave Nebraska three 100-yard runners in the game, finishing with 90.
Wurth said fullbacks Dodie Donnell and Monte Anthony pleaded with backfield coach Mike Corgan to get him back in the game when they found he was close to 100 yards.
“That’s kind of meaningless to me, anyway,” Wurth said. “I had a fine day. But the more important thing is that we won and we’re looking forward to Oklahoma.”
Wurth was denied the only individual goal he’s pursuing at the present time. “I think more importantly I would like to get a touchdown. I’ve been so close yet so far,” he said.
Scoring was divided among five players as Nebraska reached its peak output of the season. The previous high was 33 points against Colorado.
Berns had three touchdown. He added runs of 5 and 10 yards after his 63-yarder.
Nebraska partisans in the Memorial Stadium crowd of 76,392 may have been stirred most when six points were produced by another Burns.
Senior quarterback Ed Burns, rarely used in a five-year career, found himself No. 2 at the position this week as Tom Sorley rested bruised ribs.
Burns directed a touchdown drive in his first crack after entering the game late in the third quarter. Burns’ 3-yard score was his first as a Husker. It came in his final Memorial Stadium appearance.
The biggest cheers in Nebraska postgame celebration came when Burns was awarded the game ball by his teammates.
“To me, a guy like Eddie Burns kind of typifies the perseverance you like in a football player,” said Osborne. “The players respect him for that.”
Wingback Curtis Craig, who opened scoring on Nebraska’s second possession when he went 12 yards on a wingback reverse, finished with a pair of touchdowns. He added a 5-yarder in the third quarter.
Kicker Billy Todd also entered the Nebraska record book. It took him two kicks to get there, but the second was worth two records.
Todd’s 55-yard field goal in the third quarter sent Nebraska ahead 31-0 and equaled the record for distance on a field goal established by Paul Rogers in 1969.
Todd’s kick was his 12th field goal of the season, erasing the mark of 11 set by Rogers in 1969 and tied by Al Eveland last year. Todd Booted a 37-yarder in the second quarter that was wiped out when Kansas was guilty of an encroachment penalty.
In that situation, the offensive team isn’t given a choice on the penalty. The Huskers took advantage of the 5 extra yards and added a touchdown by Berns two plays later.
Nebraska had its way from the opening coin flip, which the Huskers did win for the first time in eight weeks. Things may have looked bad to Kansas Coach Bud Moore from the moment he opened the game program and saw his name listed as Bob Moore.
By the end of the first quarter, the N.U. I-back duo of Hipp and Berns had reached a combined total of 164 yards. Hipp had 98 on 10 carries and Berns 66 on three tries.
The Huskers didn’t gain less than 6 yards on their first five tries. The Jayhawks may have gotten momentary hope when that initial drive was stopped. It didn’t last. Nebraska proceeded to score on eight of its final 13 possessions.
Nebraska blitzed 80 yards in eight plays on its second possession. Hipp had runs of 13, 20 and 16 yards before Craig took it in from the 12.
Freshman middle guard Curt Hineline, playing his first varsity series on K.U.’s next series, came up with a Norris Banks fumble at the Nebraska 37. On the next play, Berns swept left, cut back across the field after turning the corner, and headed 63 yards to the end zone.
The Husker runaway could have been worse. An N.U. drive reached the Kansas 1 in the second quarter. Hipp was stopped for no gain on fourth down by John Algee.
Hipp’s 200-yard day included runs of 15, 13, 20, 16, 24, 14, 12, 20 and 11 yards. He didn’t score. But he more than eased fears of Nebraska fans that a leg injury that slowed him against Missouri would cause him trouble.
Hipp’s yardage total for the season now stands at 1,268. He needs 1,342 to equal Bobby Reynolds school record for a single season. Reynolds’ mark has stood since 1950.
“It’s a big goal, but the bigger goal is the week after next of beating Oklahoma and going to the Orange Bowl,” Hipp said.
|Yards per carry||4.2||6.8|
Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.
|Washington State||Sept. 10|
|Kansas State||Oct. 8|
|Iowa State||Oct. 15|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 29|
|North Carolina||Dec. 19|
Nebraska has played 21 games on Nov. 12. See them all »
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