Faced with their first big challenge of the season, the No. 1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers ripped Colorado, 31-7, before 67,766, rain-soaked fans and a national television audience of millions.
It was Nebraska's 27th game without a defeat and the Huskers' 18th consecutive victory, and it rushed NU's Big 8 record to 4-0.
Nebraska, paced by the running of Jeff Kinney, the passing of Jerry Tagge, the kicking of Rich Sanger and its usual rock-ribbed defense, put the Buffs away with a 24-point first half.
So tough was the Husker defense that Colorado managed only 108 yards rushing, 52 yards passing and one broken-play touchdown.
Kinney got the Huskers rolling in the first quarter after John Adkins recovered a fumble at the CU 16. Kinney carried twice, the second time for a 11-yard TD.
Dave Mason's interception set the stage for a 65-yard TD drive, with Tagge hitting Maury Damkroger with a five-yard scoring pass and a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. After CU pulled up 14-7, Tagge drove the Huskers 75 yards and scored from the one. Sanger's 27-yard field goal made it 24-7 at halftime.
Nebraska capitalized on Cliff Branch's fumbled punt in the third quarter, with Kinney capping the 25-yard march with his second TD. He led all rushers with 81 yards.
H'MAX NOTES: With the first of his three receptions, junior Johnny Rodgers broke the school record for career catches. ... The Huskers had eight tackles for losses. Bob Terrio had 13 tackles and Rich Glover 12. ... CU tailback Charlie Davis was the Buffs' top offensive weapon, gaining 76 yards on 17 carries. ... The Huskers tried an onside kick after their first touchdown, but the ball traveled only 3 yards. CU couldn't capitalize on the excellent field position. ...
The game came two weeks after Colorado lost to Oklahoma, 45-17. CU players' thoughts on the much-anticipated NU-OU game:
Charlie Davis, RB: "Oklahoma will clean 'em out."
Ken Johnson, QB: "I think Oklahoma will beat them. I wouldn't admit that Nebraska has a better team than us."
Bud Magrum, DL: "Nebraska is not as tough as Oklahoma. I was having a field day with that guard (before I got injured)."
Herb Orvis, DE: "Nebraska's a great team. I think it's gonna be a great game between them and Oklahoma. That's about all I can say."
Cliff Branch, SE: "I think Nebraska's about the best defensive team in the country.
I figure they're a better team."
Oct. 30, 1971
Colorado 0 7 0 0 — 7
Nebraska 7 17 7 0 — 31
NU — Jeff Kinney 11 run (Rich Sanger kick) 2:01
NU — Maury Damkroger 5, pass from Jerry Tagge
(Sanger kick) 12:17
CU — Cliff Branch 34, pass from Ken Johnson
(J.B. Dean kick) 10:04
NU — Tagge 1 run (Sanger kick) 5:11
NU — Sanger 34 field goal, :00
NU — Kinney 3 run (Sanger kick) 2:15
First downs 11 20
Rushing, net 55-108 58-180
Passing, net 52 144
Att.-Comp.-Int. 9-2-1 21-12-0
Total offense 160 324
Punts-Average 5-32.3 6-34.0
Fumbles lost 3 1
Yards penalized 50 45
CU: Davis 17-76; Tarver 8-36; Johnson 15-22;
Matthews 2-4; Mendez 2-(-2); Brunson 1-(-3);
NU: Kinney 27-81; Olds 6-39; Damkroger 5-35;
Dixon 7-18; Rodgers 2-9; Tagge 10-6;
CU: Johnson 2-8-1, 52; Duenas 0-1-0 0.
NU: Tagge 10-17-0, 144; Brownson 2-4-0, 0.
CU: Branch 1-34; Mendez 1-18.
NU: Rodgers 3-54; Kinney 2-43; List 2-10;
Damkroger 2-4; F.Anderson 1-17; Cox 1-15;