Gotham Bowl | Dec. 15, 1962
| Yankee Stadium, New York, NY »
In frigid shootout,
first bowl victory
Playing under coach Bob Devaney, Nebraska won its first bowl game in three tries, upsetting Miami and George Mira, 36-34, in the second and last of New York's now-defunct Gotham Bowl.
The Huskers and Hurricanes, playing in mostly empty Yankee Stadium in sub-freezing weather, put on one of the greatest bowl shows ever, trading touchdowns in every quarter.
Willie Ross' 1-yard plunge and Bill "Thunder" Thornton's subsequent two-point run gave the Huskers a 36-27 lead with 12:10 left. Mira, who passed for 321 yards while completing 24 of 46 throws, led a valiant comeback attempt but was thwarted by a last-minute interception by Husker guard Bob Brown at the Nebraska 25 with 1:20 left.
Two Huskers better remembered for their offensive play at Nebraska had big moments on defense. Dennis Claridge's interception of a George Mira pass on the Miami 39 set up Nebraska's final TD, and Kent McCloughan forced a deflection that turned into Bob Brown's clinching interception.
Mira had 220 yards passing in the first half and 101 in the second. Both of his TD passes came in the first half, and both of his INTs came in the second.
NU's first touchdown came after Lloyd Voss forced a fumble by John Bennett and Dave Theisen recovered on Miami's 43. A 41-yard run by Willie Ross run set up Bill Thornton's short TD run.
Claridge had some Mira-like streaks of his own. Late in the second quarter, he drove the Huskers 77 yards in less than a minute, completing passes of 15, 42, 9 and 6 yards. When Nebraska drove 70 yards for its third-quarter TD, 61 yards came on three Claridge passes from the shotgun formation.
But on the Huskers' fourth-quarter TD march, the big plays in the 39-yard drive came on the ground – a 14-yard run by Ross and a 16-yarder by Thornton.
Miami needed to go just 21 yards for its go-ahead TD in the third quarter after recovering a Ross fumble.
The footing on the frozen turf was an issue, and most players wore tennis shoes.
The Huskers were well-practiced at two-point conversions. Rudy Johnson's second-quarter PAT placekick was the first one attempted by Nebraska in a span of 15½ quarters stretching back to the Missouri game on Nov. 3.
The victory will glow in the record books as a thriller in which Nebraska survived three Miami leads and two deadlocks to finally stab All America quarterback George Mira with his own weapon. — Wally Provost, Omaha World-Herald
Nebraska 6 14 8 8 - 36
Miami 6 14 7 7 - 34
NEB - Bill Thornton 2 run (Dennis
Claridge run failed) 7:21
MIA - Ben Rizzo 10 pass from George Mira
(Bobby Wilson kick failed) 0:29
MIA - Nick Spinnelli 30 pass from Mira
(Mira pass failed) 12:31
NEB - Willie Ross 92 kickoff return
(Rudy Johnson kick) 12:18
MIA - Nick Ryder 1 run (Ryder pass from
NEB - Mike Eger 6 pass from Claridge
(Johnson kick) 0:42
MIA - John Bennett 3 run (Wilson kick) 8:44
NEB - Thornton 1 run (Claridge run) 0:08
NEB - Ross 1 run (Thornton run) 13:32
MIA - Ryder 1 run (Wilson kick) 9:29
First Downs ............ 12 34
Rushing, Net ....... 42-150 43-181
Passing, Net .......... 146 321
Att-Comp-Int ..... 14-9-0 46-24-2
Total Offense ...... 56-296 89-502
Punts-Avg ............ 6-37 1-35
Fumbles lost ............ 2 2
Yards penalized ........ 69 5
NEB: Ross 10-77, Thornton 11-43, Steuwe
7-24, Johnson 1-4, Young 2-4,
McCloughan 2-4, Claridge 9-(-6)
MIA: Ryder 16-95, Bennett 13-53, Hunt 9-27,
NEB: Claridge 9-14-0 146 yds, 2 TD
MIA: Mira 24-46-2 321 yds, 1 TD
NEB: Callahan 4-47, Steuwe 2-23, Theisen
1-42, Ross 1-28, Eger 1-6,
MIA: Simon 6-66, Sims 5-66, Sparks 4-54,
Spinelli 3-53, Rizzo 2-31, Ruder 2-26,
*Number of tickets sold. Actual
attendance estimated to be under 1,000
The bigger, physically stronger Cornhuskers seemed to wage a war of attrition and wore the Hurricanes down in the second half. — Tommy Fitzgerald, Miami News
Certainly there was never a day in the big Bronx ballpark when so few watched so much football and went home so bewildered. ... [Fans] gaped in amazement as the University of Nebraska lost everything but the game. Murdered in every statistic, the men from the plains licked the Pennsylvanians from the Deep South, 36-34. — Red Smith, New York Herald-Tribune