1970 Day by Day: Sept. 18

That First Championship Season
Sept. 18: Sports scribes not on same page.

On the day before the big game against Southern Cal, what exactly was Nebraska’s quarterback situation?

Take your pick: Business as usual, or completely unsettled. It depended on which newspaper’s final preview you were reading.

In Lincoln, both the Star and the Journal treated quarterback Jerry Tagge’s leg problem as a non-issue. They listed him as Nebraska’s starter without further explanation — and with nary a word about the past week’s uncertainty at the position. The Lincoln papers instead addressed other matters, such as the Huskers’ psychological state.

The Omaha World-Herald took an entirely different tack: The Huskers were “expected to open with Van Brownson,” even though he had resumed throwing just Wednesday after being sidelined for two weeks by a sore elbow. If Brownson and Tagge were “unable to go near peak form,” the OWH said, then I-back Jeff Kinney might very well be the choice at quarterback.

It was no secret that Kinney, a QB in high school, had been getting reps at the position since at least midweek. But did that mean he might really get the call against USC, the Huskers’ highest-ranked regular-season opponent since 1956?

It turns out the OWH wasn’t just blowing smoke. Contacted last month, Kinney told HuskerMax he thought he would start. Not until game time, he said, did he find out he wouldn’t.

Out west, the Los Angeles Times previewed the game as “a battle of heavyweights” and said it could be “a tougher fight for the Trojans than Alabama gave them last weekend.” The Times said a crowd of 75,000 was expected.