Class of 1969

Jerry Tagge

HometownGreen Bay, WI
High school

Nebraska fans were a bit restless during 6-4 seasons in 1967 and 1968, a "slump" after the early success in Bob Devaney’s coaching tenure. Jerry Tagge, a big quarterback who grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, then helped usher in a glorious era.

Tagge, 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, didn’t always throw the prettiest ball, but he was accurate enough. He wasn’t a blazer, but he made his runs count. He was a winner, and it first showed in the pivotal 1969 season.

His first varsity start came in the third game, at Minnesota. Tagge accounted for 301 yards total offense in a 42-14 victory. On Nov. 8, 1969, he came on in relief of Van Brownson and led a 17-3 win over Iowa State. Both quarterbacks played in the 45-6 Sun Bowl rout of Georgia — a prelude to back-to-back NU national championship seasons.

Tagge and Brownson were major contributors to a 1970 season that culminated with a 17-12 victory over LSU in the Orange Bowl. Tagge became the starter at midseason, completing 61 percent of his passes for 1,536 yards and 12 touchdowns. He rallied the Huskers in the Orange Bowl, sneaking over from the 1-yard line and extending his arms high over the pile — a game-winning TD that inspired a popular poster across Nebraska.

In 1971, it was Tagge’s show as the Huskers won a repeat national title. The Football News first-team All-American broke the school total offense record while accounting for 26 touchdowns (17 passing, 9 rushing). NU’s 13-0 season included "The Game of the Century" at Oklahoma and a 38-6 romp past Alabama in the Orange Bowl.

A first-round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers, Tagge was finished in the NFL after throwing 17 interceptions in 12 starts (6-6 record) over three seasons. He had a brief stint with San Antonio of the World Football League in 1975 before coming back in 1977 with the Canadian Football League’s British Columbia Lions. He passed for over 3,100 yards as an All-Star in 1978 before a knee injury ended his career late in the following season.

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