|HometownRapid City, SD|
Think about what Nebraska opponents were facing in the 1971 national championship season. Big John Dutton, a sophomore tackle, was an alternate starter on a defensive line that included junior middle guard Rich Glover and another giant of the times, 6-foot-6 senior tackle Larry Jacobson.
Jacobson won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman in 1971. Glover did the same the next season, when Dutton emerged as a force and built the foundation for a successful NFL career.
Dutton, a 6-6, 266-pounder from Rapid City, South Dakota, was second on the team in total tackles with 67 in 1972. He batted down three passes at the line of scrimmage and was part of a defense that posted four consecutive regular-season shutouts for the Orange Bowl champions.
Dutton was fourth on the team with 63 total tackles in his All-America senior season. He posted nine tackles for 31 yards in losses. He closed his Husker career in style in a 19-3 Cotton Bowl victory, helping hold Texas to 196 total yards.
A first-round draft choice in 1974 by the Baltimore Colts, Dutton made the NFL all-rookie team while switching to defensive end. He then enjoyed a dominant period from 1975 through 1977 — he was a first-team All-Pro in 1976 and a Pro Bowl selection on playoff teams all three years. He had an estimated 17 quarterback sacks in 1975; sacks weren’t recognized as an official statistic until 1982.
A contract dispute led to the Colts trading Dutton to Dallas after the 1978 season. He moved back to defensive tackle and was a mainstay for most of his nine years with the Cowboys. But they lost three straight NFC title games from 1980 through 1982.
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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