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The Cornhuskers came back from an season-opening loss to Alabama to beat the California Golden Bears 36-26. With 75,980 red-clad fans looking on, the Golden Bears drew first blood when the Huskers fumbled the ball on their own 20-yard line and California recovered. A 12 yard pass from Rich Campbell to Floyd Ed-dings put the Bears on top, 7-0.
The Cornhuskers tied it up before halftime with some nifty ball handling, quarterback Tom Sorley pitched to I.M. Hipp who in turn pitched back to Sorley, who then passed 57 yards to wingback Kenny Brown. Nebraska scored five plays later with Sorley sneaking over from the one.
The two clubs traded touchdowns in the third quarter which set up the explosive final period in which 34 points were scored. Nebraska scored with only 1:38 gone in the final frame when Sorley hit Wingback Maurice McCloney with a 32-yard touchdown strike. The Huskers came right back in the next 45 seconds to score again. NU defensive end Laurence Cole recovered a California fumble in the end zone to make it 29-14 as Nebraska went for two on the point after.
The Huskers scored once more on fullback Andra Franklin's run and California added two more tallies to make the final 36-26.
Nebraska was led by I.M. Hipp's 154 yards on the ground and Tom Sorley's 190 yards through the air.
SEASON STATS | NU ROSTER
Sept. 9, 1978
California 7 0 7 12 — 26
Nebraska 0 7 7 22 — 36
CAL - Floyd Eddings (12, pass from Rich Campbell;
Joe Cooper kick) 6:30 left
NEB - Tom Sorley (1, run; Billy Todd kick) 7:46
CAL - Paul Jones (2, run; Joe Cooper kick) 9:05
NEB - Rick Berns (14, run; Billy Todd kick) 0:49
NEB - Maurice McCloney (32, pass from Tom Sorley;
Billy Todd kick) 13:22
NEB - L.C. Cole (fumble recovered in endzone;
Tom Sorley pass from Rick Berns) 12:39
CAL - Holden Smith (72, pass from Rich Campbell;
Campbell rush no good) 9:44
NEB - Andra Franklin (2, run; Billy Todd kick) 5:18
CAL - Allen Blackman (2, run; Campbell pass no good) 1:06
First Downs....................19 22
Rushing Net....................76 302
Passes, Comp.-Att.-Int ...32-16-1 20-10-2
Passing Net .................271 190
Total Offense.................347 492
LEADING NU RUSHER:
I.M. Hipp 154
LEADING NU PASSER:
Tom Sorley 10-18-1 for 190 yards
NU OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF GAME:
1. M. Hipp (UPI Backfield of the Week) 154.
NU DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF GAME:
Kerry Weinmaster 7 tackles, 3 for 24 yd loss.