Des Moines Register: 1977 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State football
Craig paces Huskers; Iowan steals show from Miller, Hipp By BUCK TURNBULL Sunday Register stall Writer STILLWATER, OKLAl – It was supposed to be a classic confrontation of great running backs here Saturday, Oklahoma State’s Terry Miller against Nebraska’s I.M. Hipp, both getting a chance to flash their rare talents on television. But lo and behold, right into the middle of this picture stepped Iowan Curtis Craig to steal the show. The Nebraska senior wingback from Davenport, la., burst loose for 82 yards in just five carries, scoring one touchdown and supplying the spark that lifted the Cornhuskers to U JL an unexpectedly easy 31-14 victory. “This is the biggest day of my Nebraska career,” said the happy Craig. “The most yards I’d gained before was 71 in my sophomore year. Wingback Reverses “Oklahoma State was overshifting its defense to stop Hipp going to the outside, giving me the chance to break some big plays on wingback reverses. I just got lucky, but that’s what it takes to win.” Craig outgained his more celebrated teammate, Hipp finishing with 71 yards in 16 tries. And what about this statistic? When Nebraska’s lead had mounted to 31-7 in the last quarter, Curtis owned just as many yards 80 in four runs as Miller did in 24 attempts. The key Big Eight game didn’t do .31-14 much for Miller’s Heisman Trophy candidacy, although he did wind up with his sixteenth straight 100-yard game. Two meaningless late runs boosted him to 116 yards in 28 carries. But his was largely a one-man effort for the Cowboys, while Nebraska had a much better supporting cast for Hipp. In addition to Craig’s exploits, the Huskers also got a stellar performance from quarterback Tom Sorley. ‘Best Overall Game’ “We haven’t looked any better all year,” said Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne. “We might have been a little better offensively at times, but this was our best overall game.” The Huskers remained in the Big Eight title race, tied for second with Iowa State at 3-1 behind league-leading Oklahoma, and are 6-2 overall. Oklahoma State slipped to 2-2 and 4-4. After Miller and Hipp traded early touchdowns, Nebraska took advantage of a questionable Cowboy gamble a fake punt that failed near midfield to grab a 14-7 half time lead. Sorley, who totaled 123 yards rushing and passing, was the key figure in the go-ahead march. He ran for 33 of the 45 yards, sneaking over from the one. 2nd Interception But early in the third quarter, Oklahoma State’s Gregg Johnson snared his second interception at the Nebraska 47. Harold Bailey relieved starter Randy Stephenson at quarterback and quickly moved the Cowboys to a second-and-four situation on the Husker 27. However, their strategy here was debatable, too. Instead of calling on Miller, their bread-and-butter man, Bailey kept the ball three more times making it five straight carries for Statistics Nebraska Okie. State 21 12 63-318 54-196 74 63 29 0 10-6-2 , 5-2-2 4-43 6-34 0-0 1-0 7-54 3-25 SCORING 0 14 14 3-31 7 8 0 7-14 First downs Pushet-yards Passing yards Return yards Passes Punli Fumbles-losl Penalties-yards Nebraska Oklahoma St. OiU Miller 7 run (Ankerson klcK) Neb Hipp TO run (Todd kick) Neb Sorley I run (Todd klcK) Neo Hipp 1 run (Todd kick) Neb Craig 16 run (Todd kick) NeO FG 39 Todd OSU Bain 55 pass from Bailey (Ankerson kick) A 49,100 him but gained only two yards and the Huskers took over at their 25. That defensive stand helped determine the outcome. Oklahoma State was never in it from there on, thanks to what Craig was about to do. Curtis unfurled a 33-yard sprint to the Cowboy 13, with Hipp soon getting his second touchdown for a 21-7 margin. Curtis Scoots 16 When the Huskers got the ball again on Tony Samuel’s pass interception, Curtis scooted inside right tackle on another reverse and danced into the end zone from 16 yards out. He furnished one more long gainer in the last period, a 29-yard run to set up Billy Todd’s field goal and the final Nebraska points. Oklahoma State got a late touchdown on Bailey’s 55-yard pass to Gerald Bain. Gives Aide Credit Osborne credited his defensive coordinator, Lance Van Zandt, with stopping the Cowboys from pulling off their critical fake punt when the teams were in a 7-7 stalemate. “Lance used to coach down here and he kuew they had that play,” said Osborne. “We worked on it this week, moving our tackles out just in case they tried it.” A tackle didn’t make the stop, but no matter. It didn’t work. Vince Orange took a short snap from center at his 47 while needing two yards for a first down, but ran into Larry Young and lost two yards. “Right now we’re on the threshold of becoming a very good team,” said Osborne, whose Cornhuskers have lost only to Iowa State in league play. “We’re in the thick of the conference race, but we’re sure not out of the woods yet.” Curtis Craig begs to differ. The Huskers have games left with Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and the former Central Davenport all-stater is looking ahead with optimism. “I don’t think anybody can beat us now,” he said.