Nebraska defensive tackle Bill Barnett pressures quarterback Jack Thompson. | Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics
Cougars feast on fumbles, pull off upset
Former Nebraska assistant Warren Powers launched his head coaching career at Washington State by spoiling the Huskers’ 1977 debut, 19-10, before 75,922 fans.
Nebraska dominated the game, but the Cougars were the beneficiaries of numerous Nebraska turnovers and capitalized on them to pull off a major upset.
The Huskers fumbled inside the Cougar 10-yard line three times and also fumbled a punt at the NU 25 to set up Washington State’s first TD.
Despite two fumbles and a missed field goal, Nebraska pulled out a 7-7 tie at halftime. A third-quarter march ended in futility again when the Huskers fumbled at the WSU goal line. The Cougars drove to a 14-7 lead – both TDs on passes from Jack Thompson to Brian Kelly – and Nebraska closed the gap to 14-10 on a Billy Todd field goal.
However, the Cougars countered with a field goal, nabbed Husker quarterback Randy Garcia in the end zone for a safety, and recovered another fumble at the WSU six to clinch the upset.
Nebraska had 470 yards but only 10 points, and the result was a disappointing start for 1977, with a date with Alabama on TV the next week.
Recap & photo source: 1978 media guide