Terrio was a junior college transfer from Fullerton College and played
on both National Championship teams in 1970 and 1971 which were both
undefeated teams. During his entire college career he only had one
loss which was a 15-14 game his sophomore year at Fullerton. More
information about Bob can be found
interview with Bob was done by David
Max on May 29th, 2004.
DM Where are you from originally?
I am originally from California. I was born in Long Beach and raised
DM Who recriuted you to Nebraska?
Tom Osborne. Coach Osborne came to California. He said it was his
first year out there and he was looking at some films at Fullerton
College where I played and called me up and said that they were pretty
much interested in me.
Were you impressed at that time or did you know who Nebraska was?
I had no idea who Nebraska was. I had no idea who he was. Basically,
my interest was in going to USC. I was waiting for USC to come by
and offer me a scholarship.
And they didn't do it, obviously.
No. They came to me after high school and I had a knee injury that
was operated on after my senior year in high school so they said go
to Fullerton College and prove out that knee and we'll give you a
scholarship if that knee proves out. They just didn't follow through.
Did anybody recruit you besides Tom Osborne?
I had letters from all over the place. As far as being contacted,
I was contacted by Arizona and a lot of smaller schools around California
plus the USC contact out of high school.
Tell us about your trip to Nebraska in the VW bug with Bob Newton.
The trip to Nebraska in the VW bug was after we signed the letter
trip that I took was also with Bob Newton. We flew from LA through
Denver and in the Denver airport they sell Coors beer to people that
are 18 and so here was Bob and I at the age of 18 and we said "Let's
go buy ourselves a beer." So we went and sat down and had a couple
of beers and waited for our transfer flight to continue on to Lincoln
not realizing that there was a time difference between our California
time and Denver time and we almost missed our flight. We had to run
through the terminal to get to it and they had already closed the
door but luckily they opened it and let us get on.
It was January
this time and here it was a nice sunny day and a breeze and everything
looked beautiful out there. It looked like California weather looking
through a plane window. Not realizing that when the plane landed you
had to walk to the terminal from outside and the temperature was zero
degrees with a wind chill of about 10 below. We ran to that terminal
I tell ya. Coach Osborne was waiting inside, naturally. Bob and I
looked at each other as two California guys with sweaters and thought
we probably won't last around here. We both ended up signing and coming
When we came back
in the fall I had a Bug and the two of us fitting in this thing crammed
in shoulder to shoulder driving across states until we arrived in
Lincoln on a Friday or Saturday night. There was a basketball game
going on at the Fieldhouse. We drove up and met Tom (Osborne) there
at the Fieldhouse.
What was your playing weight at Nebraska?
My playing weight at Nebraska was somewhere around 215 pounds give
or take a few. They tried to get me to gain a little bit when they
put me back to linebacker but that usually didn't work too well because
once I drank the liquid stuff and ate all those steaks and gained
a little weight I lost it on the practice field.
What position did you play in your first year?
I was recruited as a fullback. I was a quarterback/running back in
high school. I went to Fullerton College and was the all conference
fullback for two years. Nebraska recruited me as a fullback. My first
spring ball as a fullback I was more of a runner than a blocker and
I wasn't quite the type of blocker that they needed. During spring
ball Bob Devaney came up to me and said "It looks like we've
got some good fullbacks coming in so we'd like to put you at linebacker
for 10 practices and at tight end for 10 practices." I could
catch the ball pretty good. The first day of spring ball I was the
4th team weak side linebacker. In spring ball the 4th team always
scrimmages the 1st team offense and the next day Coach Melton came
up to me and threw the black shirt at me and said "You're the
first team weak side linebacker." So that's where I was. Never
went to tight end.
DM What was it like coming from Fullerton College
to Nebraska and playing your first game in Memorial Stadium?
Oh, it was awesome! It was awesome!! We had a good following at Fullerton.
We were State Champs my freshman year and we only lost one game my
sophomore year down in San Diego 15-14, and both of the state championships
we played at Angel Stadium and there was some pretty good crowds but
nothing compared to what it was in Lincoln. It was just awesome!
DM What was it like to play in the Game of the Century
You know what, it's really hard to say. Now that you think about it,
it was fantastic. It was a lot of fun but at the time you didn't think
about it. You think it's just another game that you have to go out
there and win. We were all together and we knew that there was a job
to do and we went out there and did it. And then afterward you start
thinking about it and you think "You know what. That was awesome!
Really awesome!!" We took one game at a time and we kept rolling
them up and rolling them up and we just kept going until we got to
that game and then we did our business.
Is there a particular regular season game that sticks out in your
Of all of them I would say it was when we came back to the Coliseum
and played USC and tied them 20-20 my junior year. I always wanted
to play in the Coliseum even when I was playing around here and that
was something else. That really was.
The other one
would be that Oklahoma game on Thanksgiving Day. That Game of the
Do you have a favorite Bob Devaney story?
You know what. He's got so many of them it's kind of hard to remember
them. The thing that I remember most about Bob Devaney was the day
my son was born. It was the day that we played Oregon and it was the
first game of the season my senior year and my wife was due the following
day. The whole time I thought she was in the stands she was at the
hospital and everybody knew except me. Even at half time Bob Devaney
came up to me and said "Your wife's doing fine. There's nothing
to worry about. Continue with business and go in there and have a
good game." Thinking that she just sent a note down or a message
down from the stands I didn't think about it and when the game was
over Bob Devaney came up and said to me "Has you wife had the
baby yet?" I said "No, she's fine. She's probably waiting
for me to leave." Bob said "We all heard that she went to
the hospital this morning because her water broke and she was having
contractions." I said "You're kidding!" He said "No,
you better hurry up and get to the hospital." I didn't even shower.
I took my uniform off and threw my clothes on and ran out there and
fought that traffic leaving the stadium. I remember distinctly getting
in the hospital a little after 5 o'clock and hearing a baby crying
realizing after I got in there that my wife was the only one delivering
at the time. He was born at 5:02 so I just made it. The nurse came
out and said "Your wife wants to see you."
Do you have a favorite Tom Osborne story?
It's like Bob. He's got so many good ones. He was always to the point.
When he talked you sat up and listened because you knew what he was
saying was going to be right. I remember that he was always wanting
people to go to class and keep up with their grades.
I remember the
time that Dan Schneiss and I had a class and we were getting C's or
maybe C-'s and Tom came up to us and said "You know, you're grades
are kind of slacking a little bit." We said "Ya, we know.
We'll pick it up. We're maintaining a C average and we're doing the
best we can." He said "I think you need a little help. Why
don't you come to the training table on Thursday night and there will
be a tutor there to help you out with your classes." We said
"OK." Well, you know Dan and I didn't show up that Thursday
night and the next time we saw Coach Osborne he said "You know
what. You guys didn't make it that night." We gave some excuse
about why we couldn't make it and he said "Tomorrow morning,
6 AM, meet me in the Fieldhouse." At 6 AM the next morning he
had us out there on the track and he had us running circles with him
and I'll bet you he lapped us three times by the time we finished
what we were running. That's why I think Tom is just one tremendous
You intercepted a pass against Bert Jones with less than a minute
to go in Nebraska's first National Championship game. What was that
Oh, that was fantastic!! I don't know how I ended up being that deep
but for some reason I was. I think I was about 20 yards deep from
the line of scrimmage. I remember seeing that ball and my eyes got
big and all I could do was jump up there and bring that ball down.
I didn't think anything about running. I just wanted to catch that
What was the celebration after that game like?
Oh, it was tremendous! It was tremendous!! We were just all jumping
all over everybody. We were just hoping that we would get that berth
as being Number 1 because we already knew that the other two schools
had lost. It was just the anticipation of sitting there waiting for
the cork to fall off the champagne bottle.
Do you have any other Bowl Game memories?
The game against Alabama in the Orange Bowl. That one was my last
one at Nebraska. That one was special. We went out there and I was
thinking this is my last game and I wanted to prove myself and went
out there and recovered a fumble and it was a lot of fun. It was a
lot of fun and I ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
I did get invited
to play in the All Star Game in Chicago. We played the Dallas Cowboys.
That was when Bob Devaney and the coaching staff was asked to coach
it and he invited me to come up there. I went along with Tagge and
Brownson and Kinney and we went up there and played Dallas. That was
a lot of fun.
Tell us about the Sports Illustrated cover picture. What was the scenario
That was the situation where we had them on their 5 yard line and
they tried to give the ball off to Johnny Musso and he fumbled it
between the 5 yard line and their goal line. Just all I could think
off was holding that ball up in the air and everybody just jumping
around. It was in the first half when the game was still in doubt.
That's when the picture was taken.
Do you still stay in touch with teammates that you played with?
I still see and talk to Bob Newton quite often. He's close here in
Palm Springs. Bill Bomberger. I get together with him and his wife
over in Tucson. Pat Morrell up in Washington. Bill Sloey is here in
town. John O'Connell and Bruce Hoge in Sidney, NE. I'm going to stop
and see them on my way back to this thing in July.
Do you still watch Nebraska games?
Oh, you bet. Every chance I get. Even when it's on pay per view I
pay for it.
What are you doing now?
I worked on the Fullerton Police Department for 28 years and just
recently retired. Right now my 5 year old granddaughter is waiting
for me to come pick her up. I
love being retired. It seems like I have so much going on now I don't
know where I found time to work 10 hours a day.
In all the years as a police officer didn't you ever arrest anyone
that recognized you as a former player from Nebraska?
No. Other than Jeff Winter (Bob Terrio Classic organizer) who is a
prosecutor there was a detective in La Habra (next to Fullerton) who
was from Nebraska. His mother and dad are just avid Nebraska fans
and when he realized I was working in Fullerton he called me up and
we got together and had lunch a few times. He brought a few things
over for me to sign and said "My parents have a museum down in
the basement with nothing but Nebraska football stuff."
There's a few
people that found out I worked at the Fullerton Police Department
that sent their copies of the Sports Illustrated cover and I signed
them and mailed them back to them.
Bob, thanks for sharing your Husker memories with us.
Bob Terrio has
graciously agreed to lend his name to the First Annual HuskerPedia
Bob Terrio Classic to be held on July 15-18, 2004 in Lincoln and
the city of Western, Nebraska. To purchase one of the January 10,
1972 Sports Illustrated covers signed by Bob, Bill Janssen and Larry
here. They are limited (total of 71) numbered editions of original
covers. Bob's number 45 copy will be auctioned on Ebay in June. All
proceeds go toward the purchase of an ambulance for the city of Western
Volunteer Fire Department.