It was the Big 8 showdown of the year: unbeaten defending champion Nebraska vs. throne pretender Kansas State, and the Huskers were without starting quarterback Van Brownson for the second straight week.
Nebraska had the loop’s top offense and K-State came to town with the best defense, but the Huskers quickly de-clawed the Wildcats and coasted to a 51-13 victory and clinch at least a tie for the Big 8 title.
The Huskers’ performance was awesome and the obliteration of star quarterback Lynn Dickey and the ‘Cats was stunning. Nebraska drilled K-State for 361 yards, while holding the Wildcats to 70 yards on the ground. NU quarterback Jerry Tagge hit 13 of 19 passes for 162 yards, including a 60-yarder to Johnny Rodgers.
Dickey hit 22 of 46 passes for 255 yards, but a sensational NU secondary intercepted a record seven passes to completely derail the visitors.
Nebraska jumped to a 7-0 lead as Johnny Rodgers ran 30 yards for a TD on the first play after Jerry Murtaugh intercepted Dickey just after the game opened. It was 14-0 at the quarter and 21-7 at halftime. But the Huskers really exploded in the third quarter to open a 37-7 lead. During a 3:58 span, Nebraska ran up 27 points to jump from 24-7 to 51-7.
Joe Orduna scored four TDs for the Huskers, who ran their season record to 9-0-1 and set the stage for the championship game with Oklahoma.
H’MAX NOTES: Joe Blahak had three of the Huskers’ seven pass pickoffs. His 53-yard interception return late in the third quarter sparked Nebraska’s 27-point explosion. … KSU fullback Mike Montgomery was ejected for punching backfield judge Wayne Cooley in the back late in the second quarter. Montgomery felt he had been interfered with on a fourth-down pass play. … The Orange Bowl extended an invitation to the Huskers after the game, and the Huskers accepted it the next day. … A student assistant in the Nebraska athletic department was fired after selling two dozen press-box passes to fans outside the stadium for about $15 apiece. “I began to wonder what was going on when we started running out of food for the press luncheon so early,” said sports information director Don Bryant. … K-State tied for second in the league at 5-2 and finished 6-5 overall – one of only two winning years in a 36-season stretch from 1955 through 1990.