NEBRASKA DEFEATS TOUGH LSU 17-12
IN ORANGE BOWL, SEWS UP NO. 1
Miami, Fla. (Jan. 1, 1971) — Nebraska's unrelenting Cornhuskers marched 67 yards into immortality to climax a brilliant Orange Bowl victory, 17-12 over Louisiana State.
Trailing 12-10 as the fourth quarter opened—after leading early, 10-0— Coach Bob Devaney's Huskers passed and ran over and through the defensive titans of the nation for the winning touchdown.
It came with 6:10 gone in the final quarter when Jerry Tagge, the engineering genius of the night, clinched the Most Valuable Back Trophy by plunging over from the one and then extended his arms high over the pile — just to make sure.
With victory came the certainty that Nebraska would be voted No. 1 by the Associated Press, the Football Writers Grantland Rice Trophy and almost all of the other pollsters. No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Ohio State both lost, leaving the door open to Nebraska and the Huskers charged to glory with a great win over a very fine LSU football team.
Tagge hit 12 of 15 passes for 153 yards, ran tough, and directed the Huskers in expert fashion. Outstanding lineman honors went to Defensive End Willie Harper, the ferocious soph who gave LSU's attack fits all night. It was Willie's ball-theft — along with Bob Terrio's interception at the bell — that put the cap on the victory after Nebraska moved ahead, 17-12, in the last quarter.
Nebraska led the statistics as well as the score, netting 132 yards rushing (most against LSU in two years) to the Tigers' 51. NU had a 293-278 bulge, overall, in posting the Huskers' 19th straight game without a loss.
Devaney's Cornhuskers, fired up by the news that Texas and Ohio State had lost, struck LSU quickly for a 10-0 first-quarter lead. Paul Rogers kicked a 26 yard field goal and Joe Orduna ripped off a three-yard TD blast after Willie Harper had recovered an LSU fumble at the 15.
But Coach Charlie McClendon's Tigers fought back for two field goals in the second and third quarter as Mark Lumpkin hit from 36 and 25 yards out. A 31-yard TD pass from Buddy Lee to Al Coffee on the last play of the third quarter put LSU on top, 12-10, and the monkey on Nebraska's back.
Like the national champions they were, the Cornhuskers met the challenge and pulled out the victory and the unbeaten season (11-0-1).
FROM 1971 NEBRASKA MEDIA GUIDE