BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — That light the University of Indiana thought it saw at the end of the tunnel turned out to be the onrushing Cornhusker Zephyr. The Hoosiers ran smack into it Saturday and were totaled, 69-17.
No longer can the Hoosiers say wait until next year. With the final gun, the four-year contract that had been arranged by former Athletic Directors Tippy Dye of Nebraska and Bill Orwig of Indiana ran out. None too soon for the Hoosiers. In the four games, they were outscored, 190-43.
But Indiana had been making growling noises before this one. It had closed the gap on the Huskers the last two years and was riding the wave of optimism built in an upset of Rose Bowl champion Washington last week. There were even some audacious souls here who were mentioning bowls and Indiana in the same breath.
Enter cold reality with the cool drizzle that greeted the combatants, the 42,738 Memorial Stadium patrons huddled under umbrellas and ponchos, and a regional television audience.
Nebraska put on a nearly flawless show for the cameras during four devastating first-quarter possessions for a 28-0 lead.
That helped salve the sting of a 20-3 loss to Alabama in the season-opener, the last Husker TV appearance. “We laid an egg on national television last time,” Husker Coach Osborne said. “This time, we played before about 50 percent of the nation, and this helped atone a little bit for the last one.”
By the time the sun came out in the second half, the Huskers were well on their way to some record numbers, and ABC-TV’s regional ratings were surely starting to suffer.
Among the records set were:
— The 69 points, which broke the all-time yield by an Indiana team, erasing Purdue’s 68 in 1893. The breakthrough came with 34 seconds remaining when sophomore Jim Kotera scored from the 2-yard line.
— An Indiana stadium high of four touchdowns by I-back I.M. Hipp — three in the breakaway first quarter. Hipp gained a team-leading 123 yards on 21 carries. Ironically, he set the Nebraska single-season rushing record of 254 yards against the Hoosiers last year while failing to score. “It doesn’t make any difference whether I gain a lot of yards or score a lot of touchdowns as long it helps us win,” Hipp said.
— 613 total yards for the most ever accumulated against a Hoosier club. It was short of Nebraska’s all-time production of 655 against Hawaii two years ago.
— Nebraska’s 32 first downs, breaking the stadium record of 30 by Indiana and Michigan State.
The 69 points were the most by a Nebraska team since the 1972 team whipped Army 77-7.
Osborne tried to be complimentary toward the downtrodden Hoosiers. “No,” he said. “I don’t think this will set back their program. They’ll play some good football.”
But, he added, “I’d be lying if I said this was the toughest Indiana team we’ve played — but it still might be.
“It was a kind of an out-of-reach game. But both teams should be complimented. It didn’t degenerate into a rag-tag game. We didn’t want to embarrass anybody. It was just some turnovers and momentum.”
The Huskers needed to travel only 55, 49, 47 and 24 yards in the first quarter to establish their dominance. Those brutally efficient marches took only 7, 4, 5 and 3 plays.
“I didn’t think the first quarter would ever end. I felt like I was in a nightmare, and I’d wake up any minute,” Indiana’s subdued Coach Lee Corso said.
“This was my worst defeat. I was beaten 69-19 by Memphis State (when he was at Louisville), and I threw in the towel. Today, I couldn’t find a towel to throw in.”
Nebraska’s early spree was aided immensely by Hoosier Larry Lovett, punting barefooted with a wet ball.
His first effort traveled only 18 yards to Nebraska’s 45-yard line. Nebraska discovered early that tight end Junior Miller was a dandy target, and that Hipp could find ample room off the left side behind Kelvin Clark and Barney Cotton.
On the opening drive, Tom Sorley, who finished with 8 completions in 13 attempts for 168 yards and a touchdown, passed 22 yards to the 6-4 Miller. Junior caught three more for 77 total yards.
Hipp hoofed 9 yards with a pitch to his left to complete the first sortie and followed the same route later for scoring runs of 4, 8 and 9 yards.
The second touchdown came in similar fashion — a 21-yard punt to the Indiana 49. Then came a double-handoff pass to Kenny Brown for 36 yards and the Hipp payoff.
Lovett finally nailed one on his third try. It went 46 yards, which is just what wingback Brown was waiting for. Brown is the nation’s leading punt returner, and he did his special thing for 37 yards, setting it up for Tim Wurth’s first collegiate touchdown after weeks of coming close. Wurth got in from the 2.
The fourth touchdown in the first 12:33 was aided by a fumbled snap by Hoosier quarterback Scott Arnett and end Derrie Nelson’s recovery on the Indiana 24. Number three for Hipp.
“I really didn’t think at 28-0 we’d lose,” Osborne said, “but it was a real big drive when we went ahead 35-10.”
Indiana summoned up a breath of hope in the second quarter when the Huskers suddenly developed flaws in their offensive fabric. Rick Berns fumbled one away, and Arnett pitched a 24-yard touchdown pass to Mike Friede.
Then Hipp followed Berns’ lead with another fumble, and little David Freud, a former Israeli soldier, soccer-kicked a 35-yard field goal.
Nebraska’s error spell continued with two illegal procedure calls and a dropped pass in the next series, and Indiana threatened again on a 39-yard completion to Nate Lundy when Husker cornerback Andy Means turned the wrong way.
“You’re dadgummed right I was concerned about that time,” Nebraska Defensive Coordinator Lance Van Zandt said. “Indiana had come back like that against LSU.”
But defensive end L.C. Cole snuffed that challenge with an interception after tackle Rod Horn tipped Arnett’s pass at the line. The Huskers drove 59 yards to a Berns touchdown dive and marched to the lockers up 35-10.
From then on, it was play time for everybody. All 58 players in the N.U. party got in on the fun. Six of them scored. Three quarterbacks and two place kickers got in their licks, and guard Cotton even got a chance to see if he remembered what to do in his old center position.
The score rose to 49-10 on 74- and 65-yard drives on Nebraska’s first two tries in the second half. Sorley broke the running monotony when he passed back-to-back for 23 yards to Miller and 27 for a touchdown to Frank Lockett.
Early in the fourth quarter, even good fortune turned out sour for the beleaguered Hoosiers.
The Huskers went for a punt block from the Indiana 1 but took a penalty for roughing the kicker. Even with the 15 yards, Indiana was short of a first down and punted again. This time the Huskers dropped back for a return.
Except for Derrie Nelson. He blocked Lovett’s kick, and linebacker Bruce Dunning followed the ball to the end zone for a touchdown.
Wurth found the end zone to his liking so much that he threw in a 37-yard sprint up the middle to make it 62-10, and reserve tackle Dollar Bill Bryant, making his first trip as a senior, recovered a fumble to set up Kotera’s record-setter.
The Hoosiers scored in the last three seconds on a 19-yard pass from Tim Clifford to flanker Mark Fishel.
Corso had vowed to just line up and go muscle-to-muscle with his running game, as the Hoosiers did last year while gaining 306 yards on the ground against Nebraska in Lincoln.
The early Husker lead forced Indiana to pass 23 times, completing 8 with two interceptions for 156 yards. The feared Indiana running backs, however, were limited to 120 yards.
Van Zandt said: “We were pretty sound in the middle, but the big difference over last year was that we got the ball to the offense in good field position. We didn’t have to go so far to score.”
Defensive Line Coach Charlie McBride added: “All these kids are as dedicated as any I’ve ever been around.” McBride had delivered an impassioned challenge to the defense in a squad meeting the night before. “We just asked them to play with their hearts, and they did,” he said.
“Indiana is one of the best sprint-draw teams around. We set out to stop that, and we did.”
McBride added: “One of the greatest things I’ve seen is Bill Bryant out there, a kid with no scholarship playing his head off. He knocked down one pass, caused a fumble and then recovered it.”
Osborne said, “We thought it might go four quarters and be tight, but we played everybody we had.”
The Huskers, therefore, will take a three-game winning streak and 3-1 record to Iowa State Saturday. Indiana, 1-2, will travel to Wisconsin.
|Yards per carry||2.2||6.4|
Nebraska is 8-9 all-time against Indiana.
|Iowa State||Oct. 7|
|Kansas State||Oct. 14|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 28|
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