Lincoln Journal Star from Lincoln, Nebraska on December 28, 1980 · 31
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Lincoln Journal Star from Lincoln, Nebraska · 31

Lincoln, Nebraska
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 28, 1980
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Sports SECTION D feutto lournal anb &tar Dec. 28, 1980 Lincoln, Neb. Big pi et NU needed bowl victory COLOR nebraka 31, mississippi state 17 H " ' " " ' " ' ' ' ' -- ' .- " " ' " RAMIREZ The Nebraska defense came up with one big defensive play after another in forcing six Bulldog i turnovers. The miscues led to the Huskers 31-19 Sun Bowl victory. Most valuable defensive player of the game Jimmy Williams (96) and Sammy Sims (6) celebrate after dropping punter Mississippi State punter Dana Moore (7) for a loss early in the contest Trophies, awards proper end for 1980 season Bookends hold up defense again . . By Randy York Staff Sports Writer EL PASO, Texas One Nebraska defensive end walked off the field with the Sun Bowl championship trophy and the other walked off with the Most Valuable Lineman award. It couldn't have been a more appropriate way for the Huskers to fade into the sunset of the 1980 season .. . All-American Derrie Nelson carting off the team trophy and potential All-American Jimmy Williams squeezing the individual trophy like he'd squeeze a quarterback with nowhere to run. Nebraska's bookends did it again. They helped the Black Shirts foreclose on Mississippi State's well-honed wingbone, holding it to 195 yards total offense in a 31-17 Husker win. The effort is better reflected in another statistic. Mississippi State originated 72 offensive plays and only averaged 2.71 yards a play. Williams forced some of the game's biggest plays, recovering two of Mississippi State's four lost fumbles and helping on the rush that led to two pass interceptions. Jimmy finished with five solo tackles and one assist "I told Jimmy before the game was over that he deserved to be the MVP," Nelson said "He made enough big plays." Nelson sees the individual honor as "a big boost for Jimmy. He should be touted as an All-American going into next year. Td like to see one better than beis." Nelson's endorsement was delivered next to Jimmy's locker in Nebraska's hot cramped dressing room The Moot-J, 220-pound junior walk-on from Washington D.C. dictat even try to hide his huge smile. He didn't try to fake modesty either when a Mississippi sportscaster asked him how he would grade his first season as a Nebraska starter. "In one word greaV Williams said. Tm not ttfRBj tote a big shot but I think I've had a great -inside- season. It's that simple." Williams is the first to admit he made his share of mistakes against Mississippi State. "But I think I made up for them with poise," Jimmy said "That's why this whole defense is good because of poise, experience and character." NU Defensive Coordinator Lance Van Zandt couldn't agree more. "This game," he said, "was a real credit to the players of Nebraska and the way they prepare themselves. They were heartbroken after Oklahoma and it isn't easy to come back like they did Players with lesser character couldn't have done it" "It was a matter of pride, man All of us seniors wanted to go out in style," said safety Russell Gary, who led all Nebraska tacklers with eight solos and one assist "Everybody thought we were down. A lot of people didnt think we could win this game," Gary said "We prepared extra hard and sacrificed a lot in Lincoln. This pme meant just as much to us as the Orange Bowl or the Cotton BowL" Junior cornerback Rodney Lewis, credited with two tackles and two pass deflections Saturday, also wanted to win for the seniors, especially Gary, "my long-time friend and roommate a guy I love very much." "We wanted to win more than they did," sophomore linebacker Steve Damkroger observed "Even though we came close, we've had a crappy season as far as Fm concerned No way were we going to let them think they were better than us." The key, NU defensive tackle Henry Waechter said, "was holding them in the first half like we did (to 63 total yards). We stopped everything the reverses, the traps and what few options they tried." Mississippi State's outside game has been vital to the Bulldogs' nationally seventh-ranked rushing offense. But Coach Emory BeQard, mostly out of respect See DEFENSE on Page 4D . Tears of emotion flow for Quinn By Mike Babcock Staff Sports Writer EL PASO, Texas - Jeff Quinn held the trophy for being selected "Player of the Game" in Nebraska's 31-17 Sun Bowl victory over Mississippi State Saturday afternoon, and he tried, without success, to hold back the tears. "I'm just happy it ended this way," he said. Quinn's emotional statement seemed to be contradicted by his tears, but some were tears of joy and some were tears of the melancholy a senior feels after playing his final varsity game. "This meant a lot; it really did A lot of things flashed by me," Quinn said trying to explain. Minutes earlier he had completed the final pass of his collegiate career to wingback Tim McCrady, another senior. McCrady hauled it in and raced untouched into the end zone for Nebraska's fourth and final touchdown on a play which covered 52 yards. It was Ord to Plaimiew, a pass from one Nebras-kan to another. Quinn threw 20 other touchdown passes in his career, including an eight-yarder to tight end Jeff Finn on Saturday. But "I wont ever forget Tim's touchdown," said Quinn. That play was the crowning glory for 25 Nebraska seniors. Following its completion a jubilant McCrady waved with pride to a section of Mississippi State boosters and tried to express the elation of all those 25. "It was just the Iso' pass we've run all year," he said. After the game McCrady asked Mississippi State strong safety Rob Fesmire what coverage the Bulldogs were in. "He said man-for-man and he was supposed to be covering me, but he went for the fake instead," McCrady said On an afternoon when NU fullback Andra Franklin provided the consistency and ground out 67 tough yards up the middle of Mississippi State's defense, it was McCrady who made the big play. One week before he's scheduled to undergo surgery for calcium deposits on a shoulder separated two seasons ago, McCrady caught two long passes from Quinn. The second the 52-yarder, produced a touchdown. "I just threw it up there and got hit right away," said Quinn. "I couldn't see what happened." The first, which covered 55 yards, set up Quinn's scoring pass to Finn at the Mississippi State eight-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. Without some fancy footwork from McCrady, however, it wouldn't have been successful He caught the ball just in-bounds and waited "at least 10 seconds" for an official to make the call "I was sure I was in," said McCrady. The play began from a formation put into Nebraska's offense by Coach Tom Osborne during the week of bowl preparations. McCrady entered the game in place of an I-back, giving the Huskers two wingbacks, a split end and the tight end as receivers. The play was a "double takeoff from a spread formation," McCrady said. "It's set for a long pass play with the four receivers on three defensive backs, but Jeff (Quinn) normally wouldn't go to me. I was the fourth receiver, the last person he's supposed to look for." But Quinn "read the defensive backs, and he was strong enough to get it to me," said McCrady. The pass was one of nine on which Quinn was successful Saturday afternoon. He started slowly, throwing an interception and completing only two of his first eight attempts. But Quinn connected on seven of his final 11 and finished with 159 yards and two touchdowns through the air to offset the five yards net he lost trying to run with the football "I wasnt happy with my performance early, but I guess it ended all right I just wanted a victory," he said Quinn threw only four passes in the second half, completing three. "I wish I'd been throwing better in the first half; then we might have thrown more in SeeOFFENSEon Page4D J msu Neb First downs 15 16 Rushes-yards 53-105 54-140 Passing vords 102 160 Plays-total oftense 72-207 75-320 Passes 7-19-2 M9-1 Return yards -3 42 Punts 5-50 8-2 Fumbles-lost... 5-4 1-1 Turnovers 4 1 Penalties-yards 4-30 4-37 Third-down conversions 5-15 4-17 Fourth-down conversions 2-2 2-3 Time-ot-possession 28:23 31 :37 By Virgil Parker Sports Editor EL PASO, Texas - The Nebraska Cornhuskers, capitalizing on seven Mississippi State mistakes, capped a 10-2 season with a 31-17 victory in the 46th annual Sun Bowl here Saturday. The game, played before a record Sun Bowl crowd of 34,723 and a nationwide television audience, was far from a thing of beauty. Nebraska's offense, No. 1 in the nation in rushing and second in total offense, managed just 159 yards on the ground compared to a season-long average of 378.3. The total offense (318) wasn't enough to reach that figure. That average was over 500 yards a game during the regular season. But talk about balance. Nebraska gained to the exact yard the same total through the air. The Huskers, especially the seniors who had lost their last two bowl outings (against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and Houston in the Cotton Bowl), were gratified by the win. There wasn't a lot of hoopin' and hoD-enn' in the dressing room, however. One reason! There wasn't enough room to Season's records Miss. St. (9-3) Nebraska (10-2) Memphis St 34-7 Idle Lo.Tech 31-11 Utah 55-9 Vanderbilt 24-14 Iowa 57-0 Florida 15-21 Penn State 21-7 Illinois 28-21 Florida St 14-18 So. Miss 14-42 Kansas 54-0 Miami, Fla 34-31 Okla. St 48-7 Auburn 24-21 Colorado 45-7 Alabama 6-3 Missouri 38-16 Idle Kansas St 55-8 LSU 55-31 Iowa State 35-e Mississippi 19-14 Oklahoma 17-21 Nebraska 17-31 Miss. St 31-17 take a deep breath with 120 players trying to share 50 lockers. "The kicking game was in our favor," Cornhusker Coach Tom Osborne yelled above the din to a pack of pushing, shoving sportswriters who were seeking enough elbow room to write. His main reference was to the fumble of a Nebraska punt by Mississippi State safety Mardye McDole which led to a Nebraska touchdown in the first two-and-a-half minutes of play which gave the Huskers a momentum advantage they never lost But the victory belonged to the Nebraska defense. Third in the nation in both defense against the rush and total defense, the Black Shirts were superb in both categories. NU foes had averaged just 86.4 yards per game on the ground. Mississippi State, the seventh-best rushing team in the nation, had to settle for a mere 93. Overall, the Black Shirts were even more stingy. With 195 yards in total offense, the Bulldogs couldn't do as well as the average of Nebraska's previous 11 opponents (209.1). "Our goal was to keep them from making the big play," NU defensive coordinator Lance Van Zandt said. "And we did a good job of that (Mississippi State averaged just 2.7 yards per play). But it was the turnovers which really made the difference." Defensive end Jimmy Williams earned Lineman of the Game honors after recovering three of four Bulldog fumbles. Steve Davies pounced on the other while Ric Lindquist and Kris Van Norman came up with pass interceptions. "I thought it was a real tribute to our players to concentrate and work as hard as they did after such a disappointing loss to Oklahoma," Osborne said. "Mississippi State's raw personnel was as good as anybody's we played and that includes Florida State and Oklahoma. "We couldn't get outside on them so we had to use Andra (fullback Franklin) up the middle on dives and traps a lot more than we had planned. The kind of defense they played in the secondary made it possible for us to throw long. We completed some (52- and 55-yard passes to wing-back Tim McCrady) but would have done even better if we hadn't overthrown three of four others." Osborne, who has now coached eight straight bowl games five wins and See HUSKERS on Page SO Weekend football news: Mute Bowl reaction Page 3D NFLplayoffs Page 3D 1981 Husker preview York column, page 2D Saturday's basketball action: Big Eight Colleges Page 2D Also in today's sports section: Outdoor news Bowling Page 7D Embarrassing moments Parker column, page 2D Missouri loses Page 2D More on the Huskers Pages 4-5D Page 8D HP Sports 1 V ! Scene Sunday Page8D Football Los Angeles Ram vs. Dallas Cowboys, 11:30 a.m., Q (H) Houston Oiltrs vs. Oakland Raiders 3 p.m., O Tom Osborne, 10:30 p.m., Basketball Oator Bawl Tournament semifinal, a.m., CD Gator Bowl Tournament final, 2 p.m., CD Kansas City Kings vs. New Jersey Nets, 6: 30 P.m., (D Arkansas vs. Kansas State, 7 p.m., 11 p.m., CD Hockey Great Lakes Invitational semifinal, 4 p.m.,l:30a.m.,(D Specials Gymnastics: Spartan Invitational, 4 o.m() Smith gets 26 in losing cause Ball State defeats Huskers UllMriC Tnil D Dm UtTollum t .. .. .... MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - Ray McCallum pumped in 27 points to power the Ball State Cardinals to a 67-62 nonconference college basketball victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday night The Cornhuskers took the lead early, outscoring the Cardinals 17-4 at the start of the game. Andre Smith, who scored 26 points in the game, had 10 in the initial push by Nebraska. The loss spoiled a homecoming for Huskers Jack Moore and Jerry Shoe-craft, who were McCallum's teammates at Muncie Central High School. "I thought Moore and Shoecraft played well, and I am glad they had a chance to play before their hometown fans," Ball State coach Steve Yoder said o Moore scored four points, while Shoe-craft tallied five. McCallum, meanwhile, scored 14 points in the first half, bringing the Cardinals to within three at the half, when Nebraska led 32-29. The Huskers had trouble contending with a zone employed by Ball State. "They went to a wide 2-3 zone in the first half," Nebraska coach Moe Iba said, "and we had a hard time attacking it We made a couple of adjustments in the sec ond half and I thought we did a little bet- Uffjob. rBut the Huskers were unable to hold its halftime lead and its second-half play was hampered severely when Smith picked up his fourth foul with 10:36 remaining in the game. "Nebraska got into some foul trouble early," Yoder said "Several players got two fouls early and when Smith got his fourth one he slowed down considerably Yoder added Ball State tried to take advantage of Smith's foul situation as much as possible in the second half. "We were determined to take the ball inside to (forward Al) Gooden in the sec-See CAGE RS on Pom 3D

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