LINCOLN — Colorado, it seems, keeps changing coaches and coming up with the same old game plan against Nebraska.
The scenario is familiar enough. The Buffaloes score early, get all jacked up and deal the Cornhuskers fits for a half. Some Nebraska running back like Joe Orduna, Monte Anthony, Dave Gillespie, Rick Berns, I.M. Hipp or Jarvis Redwine — all 100 yards or better against the Buffs — cuts loose. The Huskers go on to a bowl game, and the Buffs go back to the mountains to sulk for another year.
Chuck Fairbanks’ first Colorado club followed form perfectly while losing 38-10 at Memorial Stadium Saturday.
The Buffs scored first on a field goal and remained within a touchdown at the half on an interception return.
Redwine, who outdid his predecessors as the principal CU tormentor with 206 yards, stabbed the Buffaloes in the heart with two of of his three touchdowns in the first 3-½ minutes of the second half.
Then the largest house of the season, 76,168, sat back to watch the Blackshirts romp around in the backfield and whittle the Buff rushing yardage down to size.
Another notch thus was added to the Husker Buffalo gun, the 12th in as many years and 16th in the last 17.
The second-ranked Huskers kept their record unscarred at 7-0 while the Buffs dropped to 1-6.
“Colorado was much better than a 1-6 team,” Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said. “The way they played early (in the season), 38-10 might not have been that good, but the way they’re playing now, it was pretty impressive. We could have done it more artistically, but a win is a win.”
Osborne’s concept of art is a well-placed pass now and then.
Nebraska tried 12, completed two and one by Tim Hager went the wrong way via a 69-yard Bill Roe interception touchdown in the second quarter.
So who needed to pass?
Behind Redwine’s torrid pace came an assault force worth 452 rushing yards out of a total offense of 479.
Redwine’s 206 yards were the best by a Big Eight back this season. It was his fifth consecutive 100-yard game and the seventh 200-yard game in Husker history.
Since the Buffs’ secondary was playing man-to-man coverage so effectively, Osborne decided it was more expeditious to hand the ball to Junior Miller, his top touchdown grabber. Miller carried twice on tight end arounds and picked up 51 yards, a total that was three yards shy of Colorado’s top two backs combined.
Miller was only No. 4 on the Husker rushing ledger...Behind Redwine came fullback Andra Franklin with 70 yards and a short touchdown and I.M. Hipp with 57 and another touchdown.
The Husker defense leaked early by allowing quarterback Bill Solomon to scramble free three times on the opening drive, and the quest for a fourth consecutive shutout vanished on a 32-yard field goal by freshman walk-on Tom Field.
No matter, the Blackshirts could legitimately claim a string of 19 straight quarters without giving up a touchdown, since Roe’s score came against the offense.
Turning to a variety of blitzes in the second half, the defense trimmed Colorado’s halftime rushing total of 83 yards to 59 at game’s end. End L.C. Cole had four tackles for losses to lead his team’s total of 12 hits for minus yardage. Colorado managed 146 total yards.
“Losing the shutout didn’t matter. The win is what counts,” defensive tackle Bill Barnett said. Nodding in the direction of Osborne, Barnett said admiringly: “The offense and Coach Osborne...it seems like every week he comes up with a new twist, and nobody can stop it.”
It was simple, Osborne said. “We’re a better passing team than we showed. It wasn’t quite as bad as it looked. We just took what they gave us.”
Basically, Colorado was so intent on playing bump and run and a tight man-to-man in the secondary that one defender was left to cover the corner on option plays. If Hager’s pitch didn’t take care of that one man, Redwine’s speed to the outside did.
The transfer from Oregon State had 76 yards in the first quarter, 133 at the half and cleared 200 on his second carry with 3:26 gone in the third quarter.
Redwine overcame CU’s early lead with a 23-yard shot in the first quarter, hurdling over the line.
It was raw speed on the second, a 56-yard cutback and no-contest race with Jesse Johnson and Mike Davis to make it 24-10 on the second play of the second half.
Number 3 was an improvisation. Following an interception by Tom Vering, Redwine set off on a familiar path with a pitch to his right. Whoops, a blockade. He retraced his steps, found a shield in big John Havekost and dived just inside the flag in the left corner to end a 13-yard run.
Redwine liked the second one best. “Any back likes the long touchdown,” he said. Of course he was aware that coaches generally frown on reversing field behind the line of scrimmage, “but when things are going good for a team, you can get away with stuff like that.”
“Colorado overpursued. Any time you score, doing something like that is all right. If I’d taken a loss, it wouldn’t have been,” Redwine said.
Osborne, who rarely is effusive in his praise, said Redwine was “just terrific today.”
Nebraska took charge in the second quarter with a 42-yard drive following a fumble to make it 14-3, but Buff resistance near the goal left the Huskers speaking respectfully afterwards. With first down at the 4, the NU touchdown came on one-yard increments, the last by Hipp.
Shortly thereafter, Colorado’s waning hopes received a boost. Hager headed a pass to fullback Jim Kotera from the Buffalo 33. Linebacker Roe stepped in for the interception and followed a four-man escort to the goal.
“I knew it wouldn’t be a big factor,” said Hager, who missed on his first seven passes. “It was just a stupid mistake on my part. I didn’t even see the linebacker. I thought Kotera was wide open.”
When did Hager finally see Roe?
“When everybody started running over me going the other way,” he said.
Miller’s first reverse, for 34 yards, helped stake Dean Sukup to a 37-yard field goal into the wind to make it 17-10 at the half.
Miller ran another for 17 yards in the third quarter.
“We put that play in this week. I was wondering if they’d call it,” Miller said. “I’d still rather catch the ball in the secondary. You’ve got to run through more people when you get it back there.”
The final Husker touchdown came on a drive dominated by fullback Franklin. The Anniston, Ala., junior carried six times for 31 of the march’s 57 yards in the fourth quarter. Fittingly, Franklin carried on the last play, from the 2.
By then, Colorado was back to Solomon while trying to find an offense. Charlie Davis, who replaced Solomon in the third quarter, was sidelined by Oudious Lee on the last play of the third period.
“The first half, Colorado took it to us. In the second half, we went to the blitzes and shut them down,” linebacker Vering said.
Husker Defensive Coordinator Lance Van Zandt said he ordered “12 to 15 blitzes the second half, and I’ll bet there was minus yardage on them by a bunch. We tried one or two early, and they didn’t pick them up, so we stayed with them.”
Most effective, Van Zandt said, was the weekly “Blue Plate Special,” a new blitz designed by Linebacker Coach John Melton. It combined a blitz to the outside by the monster back with a linebacker taking a path up the middle.
“When we started throwing the blitzes in and had more guys coming at the quarterback, he couldn’t do much about it,” Vering said.
Much of the pass rush success was due to the Husker secondary, Barnett said. “The backs did a great job. With the receivers covered, the quarterback had to run around so we could get a shot at him,” he said.
Said Osborne: “I’m really proud of the players to come this far undefeated. I’m especially proud of the way they responded the second half. It was a little tense for a while. The momentum was as much with them as us.
“It was just a good win.”
|Yards per carry||1.3||7.1|
Nebraska is 49-19 all-time against Colorado.
|Utah State||Sept. 15|
|Penn State||Sept. 29|
|New Mexico State||Oct. 6|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 20|
|Kansas State||Nov. 10|
|Iowa State||Nov. 17|
Nebraska has played 19 games on Oct. 27. See them all »
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