Southeastern Conference champion Louisiana State shocked Nebraska with a 43-yard pass on the first play of the game and went on in to take a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes of the 1987 USF&G Sugar Bowl. After that, it was all Nebraska as the Cornhuskers manhandled the Tigers in rolling to a 30-15 win in NU's 25th bowl game appearance.
LSU picked up 64 yards total offense on that first drive, then got 65 more in a scoring drive in the final three minutes against Husker reserves. In the middle 54 minutes of the game, the Tigers managed only 62 total offense yards and three first downs against a fired-up Blackshirt defensive unit. LSU finished the game with 32 net rushing yards and 10 first downs, both bowl-game defensive records for Nebraska.
The Huskers didn't get on the board until Dale Klein booted a 42-yard field goal five minutes into the second period, and didn't take the lead until quarterback Steve Taylor capped a 72-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run with 39 seconds left in the first half. In that drive, Taylor completed four of five passes for 42 yards and rushed twice for 10 more.
Leading 10-7, Nebraska took the second-half kickoff and marched 78 yards in nine plays to take a 17-7 lead on a 1-yard run by alternate I-back Tyreese Knox. In that drive, Taylor completed four of four passes for 33 yards, then Knox set up his touchdown with a 34-yard run to the Tiger 1-yard line.
Late in the third period, the defense stepped in to deny LSU's last serious threat. The Tigers had blocked a Klein field goal attempt and returned the loose ball to the Husker 17. They were in position to get back in the game, but back-to-back sacks by Broderick Thomas and Danny Noonan on the last two plays of the quarter threw LSU back 24 yards and, for all practical purposes, out of the ball game. The Tigers ended up punting from the Nebraska 40.
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A blocked field goal late in the third quarter set up LSU inside Nebraskas 20 yard line with a golden opportunity to cut into the Huskers 17-7 lead and seize momentum. But the Blackshirts responded with a pair of big quarterback sacks, forcing the Tigers to punt.
Jan. 1, 1987
New Orleans, LA
Nebraska 0 10 7 13 - 30
Louisiana State 7 0 0 8 - 15
LSU - Harvey Williams 1 run (David
Browndyke kick) 12:06
NEB - FG Dale Klein 42, 10:01
NEB - Steve Taylor 2 run (Klein kick) 0:39
NEB - Tyreese Knox 1 run (Klein kick) 10:35
NEB - Todd Millikan 3 pass from Taylor
(Klein kick) 6:02
NEB - Knox 1 run (Klein kick failed) 3:26
LSU - Tony Moss 24 pass from Tom Hodson
(Alvin Lee pass from Hodson) 2:01
First downs 22 10
Rushes-yards 60-242 29-32
Passing yards 110 159
Return yards 48 11
Passes 11-20-0 14-30-2
Sacks by 3-30 1-5
Punts 4-30 6-42
Fumbles-lost 5-2 6-1
Penalties-yards 5-78 12-130
Time of possession 34:47 25:13
Nebraska, Knox 16-84, Taylor 20-63. Louisiana State, Williams 12-48, Sam Martin 7-4.
Nebraska, Taylor 11-19-0-110. Louisiana State, Hodson 14-30-2-159.
Nebraska, Tom Banderas 4-42, Rod Smith 2-24, Millikan 2-23. Louisiana State, Wendell Davis 3-63, Martin 3-19, Rogie Magee 2-29.
Missed field goals: Nebraska, Klein 51, 52 (blocked).