When football historians review the 1970s, they’ll probably list the Nebraska-Southern California 21-21 tie in 1970 as one of the great games of the decade.
It was that kind of game as Nebraska’s two-TD underdogs three times led the highly regarded Trojans in a game that left 73,768 fans breathless on the last play — a 50-yard incomplete USC pass.
Nebraska got the jump on the Trojans in the second quarter — Husker Joe Orduna early had fumbled at the USC 5 — when fullback Dan Schneiss took a handoff from quarterback Jerry Tagge and threw a surprise 17-yard pass to Guy Ingles.
USC tied it on a 4-yard run by Jimmy Jones, but Nebraska roared back for a 14-7 halftime lead on Tagge’s 15-yard pass to Johnny Rodgers to cap a 74-yard drive.
Back stormed the Trojans in the third quarter to tie it at 14-14, but on the second play after the next kickoff, Orduna tore 67 yards on a great run to put Nebraska ahead again, 21-14.
Nebraska’s chance for icing a victory misfired in the final quarter when a bad snap caused Paul Rogers to miss a 22-yard field goal that would have given NU a 24-14 lead.
USC then moved 80 yards for the tying TD, with Clarence Davis going the last nine yards with 8:16 left in the game.
Both teams had final chances in the wild finale, but a great college game ended 21-21.
H’MAX NOTES: Johnny Rodgers’ 30-yard punt return helped set up the Huskers’ first TD. … The tie preserved USC’s 23-game regular-season unbeaten streak. Coach John McKay said he would have gone for a two-point conversion if the last touchdown had occurred with five minutes or less remaining. … The Trojans entered the game ranked third nationally by AP, Nebraska ninth. .. USC’s Davis finished with 116 rushing yards on 27 carries. Orduna had 135 yards on 18 attempts. … Bob Devaney shuffled the defense during the week before the game. … The Huskers got a postgame visit from comedian Bill Cosby.