Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi on December 28, 1980 · Page 25
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi · Page 25

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Jackson, Mississippi
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Sunday, December 28, 1980
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Page 25
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1 Stye (Slarion-Icriger Jackson Daily News Sports AM O Scorecard c Sunday, December 28, 1980 : A tota SIX ; yiHi.iirmimn.iyi ltiiiM.p.,.,.n l.,.,.s.,.l ly eclipse Nebraska coach Tom Osborne offers condolences to State's Emory Bellard Ho hum: just another win for Cornhuskers Related stories. Pages 7-9 By RICK CLEVELAND Clarion-Ledger Sports Writer EL PASO, Texas - It was as if the Nebraska Cornhuskers had just completed an 8-to-5 day at the office. ' Actually, they had just beaten Mississippi State 31-17 before a Sun Bowl record crowd and a national television audience to complete a 10-2 season and clinch a 12th consecutive finish in college football's elite Top 10. Yet, in the winners' locker room afterward, there was little cheering and backslapping indeed, scant display of any emotion at all. Another day, another bowl game, another victory. Nebraska is used to this kind of thing. The Cornhuskers, you see, expected to win Saturday. "We weren't flat, but we were more businesslike than emotional," said a satisfied Tom Osborne, the taciturn man who coaches the fiery-red horde that is the Nebraska football team. "I was concerned at how we would approach this game1 after we lost to Oklahoma. I am satisfied. We played pretty well, although we could have played better." Nebraska lost its chance for an Orange Bowl bid and a possible national championship when it lost its regular-season finale 21-17 to Oklahoma. The Cornhuskers were low-key all week in their approach to the Sun Bowl, giving the distinct impression they might not be all that excited about playing in the Sun Bowl. 'We let them (the Bulldogs) make all the noise," said Nebraska's Ail-Ameri INSIDE Irish upset TTT "W UJ, 0-DI. Special Sun State can defensive end, Derrie Nelson. "They acted a lot like Oklahoma does. They tried to come in here and intimidate us with their chants and cheers at all the functions. "I'm not taking anything away from them because they played hard. They've got a good team, probably on a par with Missouri in the Big Eight Conference. I'm sure they feel like they could have played better today. I'm sure they'd like to try us again, but, then, we'd like to play Oklahoma again, too." Nelson, a senior, was the end who received most of the attention during the regular season.'but Jimmy Williams, who plays the other end, was the here for the Huskers Saturday. Williams was credited with six tackles and three fumble recoveries, good enough to earn him the game's most valuable lineman award. "We were down for a while after the loss to Oklahoma," Williams said, "but we regrouped and prepared well for this game. This was business as usual for us but I think we showed a lot of character to go out and win one like this." Perhaps, but the Cornhuskers had some help. Mississippi State may not have committed football suicide, but the Bulldogs certainly loaded Nebraska's guns with four lost fumbles and two pass interceptions. "The mistakes they made were definitely the key," said Nebraska fullback Andra Franklin, an Anniston, Ala., product who the Bulldogs actively re-See For Nebraska, Page 9C - Page 3 section, Pages 7-10 ffVtQSfi tiWWAt-h &x7m V tY 4V - - (? 1 State's Tony Fernandez 1 -ranked DePaul earned a mea sure of revenge by racing past UCLA, 93-77. UCLA had knocked off DePaul in last year's tournament. Psc 3. Outdoors editor Bob Gwizdz remembers a special friend. Page 16. after the Sun Bowl. comforts quarterback John Arkansas, Purdue win. - Page 5 Related stories, Pages 7-9 Statistics, Page 10 By JOHN McGHATH Daily News Sports Writer L PASO, Texas Mississippi State's football team finally opened its postseason holiday gift here Saturday afternoon, only to discover that the goods had been ruined in transport. Oh, how shiny and fresh the Sun Bowl package seemed before Nebraska's Cornhuskers beat the Bulldogs 31-17 in the 46th renewal of the annual game. But while 34,723 fans looked on, State unwrapped a passing attack that emitted a foul odor, special-teams play that was stale, and a big-play defense that was chipped by bad field position. And when the persistent Bulldogs still attempted to make a contest out of the mess in the second half, it came apart and wafted away. "It was so strange," said MSU strong safety Rob Fesmire, "like standing on a ledge and reaching for something that wasn't there." Most regrettable, however, was a fumbling, bumbling offense that grasped the football as if it were five sizes too small. The Bulldogs dropped the ball and lost it no less than four times, with three of the turnovers directly contributing to Nebraska scores. "Pitiful," said State quarterback John Bond, who doubtless will enjoy more prosperous afternoons than the one he displayed before a national television audience. "Pitiful." Well put. Consider this: Nebraska drove all of 23 yards to the end zone after its first fumble recovery, 32 yards for a field goal after its second, and 25 yards after its fourth. That traaslates roughly into 17 points rewarded for 80 yards of work decent on any union scale. State, on the other hand, joylessly hoed in place for its 17 points, 14 of which were accrued in the unsuspensef ul fourth quarter. "I think anybody who was in attendance can make a similar judgment that the turnovers really killed us," said Bulldogs coach Emory Bellard, whose second Starkville team nevertheless finished at an impressive 9-3. "We just flat out made too many mistakes." State wasted little time in making its first mistake: Mardye McDole's fumble of a Nebraska punt after the Bulldogs' errag Stabler in NFL NFL playoff data, Page 12 ; ; Compiled From AP Dispatches i The Oakland Raiders want to make Houston's Ken Stabler j throw the ball. The Dallas Cowboys, on the other hand, want ! to stop Los Angeles' Vince Ferragamo before he can cut it J loose. ; Quarterbacks Stabler and Ferragamo are a couple of key i players as the National Football League playoffs begin to-! day. In the American Conference wild-card game, Stabler : and the Oilers will visit Oakland at 4 p.m. CST. In the Nation- al Conference wild-card matchup, Ferragamo and the Rams I will be at Dallas at 12:30 p.m. CST. . j The Raiders consider Stabler, unquestionably the main ' man when he directed their offense, the Houston Oilers' No. 2 ! threat. "I'd say it's imperative that we stop Earl Campbell. In general, we'll be successful if we can make Stabler throw the ball," Oakland cor-nerback Lester Hayes said. "Earl's the best. As far as pure running backs go, no one can match him," said Dan Pastorini, the former Houston quarterback who joined the Raiders when Stabler was traded to the Oilers. "If he gets any crease at all, he's going to gain 4 or 5 yards, and if he gets more than that, he can easily go all the way." ! " Pastorini suffered a broken leg during the season's fifth J game and has remained on the injured list. The Raiders are sticking with Jim Plunkett, who has thrown for 2,299 yards and 18 touchdowns. j Stabler threw only 13 touchdown passes this season, half I his 1979 total for Oakland, but his 3,202 yardage total was i close to last season's output. Oakland's leading rusher this season is Kenny King, who ! broke into the NFL with Houston last year and carried the j ball only three times. He was traded to the Raiders for veter-: an safety Jack Tatum. The Cowboys, bombed by Ferragamo and the Rams only ; two weeks ago, are looking for a better pass rush in the return ; match. But with or without that, the Cowboys will need better j secondary coverage. "Most teams have thrown long on us this year," Dallas' coach Tom Landry said. "We just might throw deep our- j selves. We didn't do too bad in our last game." Dallas quarter- back Danny White, who had a miserable time against the; Rams in the 38-14 loss earlier, rifled four touchdown passes; in a 35-27 victory over Philadelphia. ; Los Angeles coach Ray Malavasi said his team will be: looking to bum the Cowboys deep again. "To win in the NFL,' you have to get those big plays," Malavasi said. "The games! we have won by a wide margin, we got them. In games we! didn't get them, we got beat." Malavasi said his team somehow has got to forget how! easy Dallas was the last time. ' "We just have to put it out of our mind," said MalavaA Staff ptralo by David Frank Bond. defense had successfully withstood the Huskers' opening drive. ' McDole caught the ball without ah;' difficulty at the MSU 25, but lost hisgrir ' after he took three steps. "It's hard to say what happened' said McDole, who ended his brilliant ca reer with a rare uninspired perfo'r mance. "I can't really say I lost it in tlr sun, because I caught it OK. Then it jus sort of slipped out. I can't understand it." -j Lurching onto the porch at the Statr 23, the Cornhuskers barged in uninvite on the next play, Todd Brown's revers-1 around right end. Although the pla; wasn't out of a coach's clinic textbooi. Brown nearly collided with righ. tackle Dan Hurley it gave Nebraska a quick, no-sweat 7-0 lead. i While State's defense literally playef well enough to win, Bond and Co. wal; lowed in neutral. When the Bulldog! (net yards rushing: 93, roughly one-thhV of their average output) ran, they dis' covered that Nebraska's talented de; fensive ends had sealed off the outsidt lanes. j So Bellard was left with no other re course than to hit the middle with full back Don Ray King (23 carries, 9i yards; he was one of the few MSU play ers who seemed to approach the gam' naturally) or to pass. Ah, the pass. Bond finished the after noon with seven completions in 19 at! tempts for 102 yards but failed ti complete a single delivery until mid way through the third quarter. i Consequently, by then the Husker: had built a 17-0 lead, although a control versial Jeff Quinn-to-Tim McCrad; pass of 55 yards down the right sidelin was the only visible accomplishment d Nebraska's high-powered offense. ' The Bulldogs made their only rea" run in the third quarter. Dana Moori kicked a 47-yard field goal. State's do fense held on Nebraska's next series! and an MSU comeback rally seemed well, possible. ! But on third down from the State 37 Bond fumbled the snap and relin quished the ball. Five plays later, Andr.' Franklin dived over to put Nebraska uf 24-3. Bond's touchdown (1 yard) and Mi chael Haddix's 3-yard touchdown re ception gave the Bulldogs 14 fourth-quarter points. But by then the issue hai; been decided. j amo, ' keys games Related stones, Page 11 Playoffs on TV j; Los Angeles at Dallas (CBS), 12:30 p.m. i Houston at Oakland !j (NBC), 4 p.m. i

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