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32 WeflntxJoY, Jon. 5, 1780 Lincoln, Neb. Joomol Cougars waited till 'next year' i hi Randy York DALLAS -Wait till next year" isn't the bad sports cliche everyone makes it out to be. Houston players said it last year after Notre Dame edged the Cougars on the last play of the Cotton Bowl, 35-34. Kveryone saw Tuesday how a silly vow can turn into exciting revenge.
The Cougars finished the season with the determination they'd started after suffering perhaps the worst collapse in major bowl history 12 months earlier. Houston, the same school that could blow a 22-point lead in the last eight minutes of the 1972 Cotton Bowl beat Nebraska to the finish line this time. It took courage. It took character. It took sacrifice from a team which had lost its entire starting backfield to graduation.
Nebraska will lose some outstanding seniors, too, but the lluskers also return the makings of what could be another outstanding team. Underclassmen accounted for 210 of Nebraska's 227 yards total offense Tuesday against Houston. Underclassmen also produced 62 of the 93 tackles credited on the official slat sheets. An experienced secondary Nebraska will return more than half of its defensive starters from the team which battled so gallantly Tuesday until disaster struck in the final two minutes. The linebackers and secondary offer full cupboards of experienced talent.
Four of the top five linebackers return, including starters Brent Williams and Kim Baker. Steve McWhirter and Steve Damkroger also will be back. Starting cornerbacks Andy Means and Ric Lindquist and starting safety Russell Gary will winter with some discontent, but welcome next season as a chance for redemption. Monster Mark LeRoy will graduate, but Sammy Sims seems ready to fill the void. End Derrie Nelson is the only returning starter in the defensive line, but coaches Charlie McBride and George Darlington aren't exactly looking for blindfolds and cigarettes.
Jimmy Williams has potential equal to Nelson at defensive end. David Clark has been just like a starter at defensive tackle. Henry Waech-ler and Toby Williams, two redshirted defensive tackles, are untested on the field, but believed to be capable of great things maybe even All-America type things. Curt Hineline may have the biggest shoes of all to fill. Following middle guard Kerry Wein-masler will be like following Bob Devaney tough.
Men of tomorrow Nebraska will return only four starters on of- fense in 1980, but looks are deceiving. Three of them are quarterback Jeff Quinn, I-back Jarvis Redwine and fullback Andra Franklin. True, a massive reconstruction task will be required in the offensive line. But, really, what else is new? At Nebraska, rebuilding the offensive line is almost as common as scooping snow in the winter. Tuesday night, Tom Osborne admitted there will be new faces to watch, but ones with the ability to meet Nebraska's high standards of performance.
If you like to look ahead, think about athletes like Dave Rimington at center, Randy Schleus-ener and Joe Adams at guards, Gary England and Dan 1 1 urley at tackles. Schleusener is the other returning starter. The others have shown they can play and play well. Quinn must battle the typical Nebraska logjam of quarterback candidates. There will be Mark Mauer, Bruce Mathison, freshman Nate Mason and Steve Michaelson, who will return after a redshirt year battling mononucleosis.
Jim Kotera returns with Franklin at fullback. Craig Johnson and freshman Roger Craig join Redwine at I-back. Anthony Steels and Tim McCrady, the Nos. 2 and 3 wingbacks behind Kenny Brown, both return. Scott Woodard and Todd Brown, the Nos.
2 and 3 split ends behind Tim Smith, also will be back. Last, but not least, Jeff Finn and Steve Davies, the Nos. 2 and 3 tight ends behind the incomparable Junior Miller, also return. Finn has lived in Miller's long shadow for two years, but came out of it a bit Tuesday when he caught the late touchdown pass. Miller made a special point to a sports writer before leaving the locker room Tuesday for Honolulu, then Tokyo.
"That guy over there," he said, pointing to Finn, "is going to be one helluva tight end. You mark my words." Encouraging words from a departing hero. Finn, and others like him, really do make the phrase "wait til next year" mean more than a cliche. Nebraska received a fourth-quarter chance to overtake Houston when the defense up with a crucial fumble midway through the final period After Houston had gone ahead, 10-7, NU's Derrie Nelson (92) forced John Newhouse (28) to fumble (above) and lineman Bill Barnett (97) dove in (below) to recover from teammate Tom Vering (47). --ymf mm mwmwmmm DALLAS Houston quarterback Terry Elston, who came off the bench to lead the Cougars to their seventh fourth-quarter, tt come-from-behind victory of the season, was named the of fen-JLilstOn, Hodge sive player of the game in the 44th annual Cotton Bowl game here Tuesday, given awards Elston was named on ballot of 29 of the 32 members of the 15 selection committee.
Houston linebacker David Hodge received the most votes for the game's most valuable defensive player, although 14 different players received at least one vote. Huskers- From Page 29- records Season's NEBRASKA (10-2) HOUSTON (11-1) UCLA 24-16 Florida 14-10 W. Texas State. 49-10 Baylor 13-10 Texas 17-14 SMU 37-10 Arkansas 13-10 TCU 21 10 Texas 13-21 Texas Tech Id 10 Rice 63-0 Nebraska 17-14 Utah State 3514 Iowa 24-21 Penn State 4217 New Mexico 57 0 Kansas 42-0 Oklahoma St 36-0 Colorado 38-10 Missouri 23-20 Kansas State. lowo State 34-3 Oklahoma 14-17 Houston 14-17 Kenny Hatfield to give the Cougars a 10-7 lead.
The kick probably wouldn't have cleared the crossbar had it been a 42-yard-er. It was that close. Such a kick was old hat for Hatfield. He won the Baylor game (13-10) for Houston this fall with two fourth-quarter field goals and the Arkansas clash (by the same 13-10 count) with two more fielders in the final frame. Just when time was becoming an obvious factor, Nebraska defensive tackle Bill Barnett pounced on a New-house fumble (the Cougars had seven bobbles, losing three).
Osborne, know for his offen sive tricks, didn't call for an intentional fumble with the guard carrying the ball. But he did have I-back Jarvis Redwine throw a pass to quarterback Quinn. Then came the "swinging gate." The Huskers lined up 15 yards to the left of where the ball was spotted and the Houston defense stood waiting. Quinn was to go up to the ball and with one continuous scooping motion, "center" the ball over to Redwine. "We went over the play with the officials before the game and they said it would be okay," Osborne said.
"But when we did it they called a penalty." The ref said Quinn picked the ball up and then sidearmed it to Jarvis. The lack of "one continuous motion" made it pferfc' 'fit Ci' (incomplete) aimed at Smith. Smith, however, did catch one pass before ending his career. It gained 10 yards and made him the leading split end receiver in NU history, bypassing Guy Ingles. Smith becomes the second-leading receiver at any position, now trailing only Johnny Rodgers.
"I don't like to use those trick plays," Osborne said. "If things are going right with your basic offense, they're not needed. But there were times we didn't execute our basic offense all that well." It appeared Finn's touchdown would give Nebraska an 11-1 record for the season. Instead, alter Elston and Herring finished doing their thing, it was Houston which completed the season with that mark. "No matter how the final ratings come out," Osborne said, "I'm really proud of this team.
They gave a maximum effort again today. They hit hard and played hard. You can't ask for any more than their best. And that's what they gave." Cornhusker Quotes- illegal. On the next play, Quinn found Finn for the touchdown to take the lead.
"Jeff Finn) wasn't even supposed to be a receiver," Quinn revealed. "Junior Miller was the primary receiver, but he was double-teamed. Tim Smith was the secondary receiver, but we was covered too. Nobody followed Finn, lie was wide open." Nebraska unveiled some other trick plays during the afternoon. Tight end Miller revived his end-around run again, and also threw a pass From Page 29 Lindquist- Cole was pressuring Houston's Klston as he released his 22nd passing attempt of the game.
"Just another second and I would have been there and bombed him. Me and Derrie (Nelson) were both right on him," Cole said. "After the quarterback released, I didn't hit him because I didn't want to get a 15-yard penalty. "In that split second, I had time to look and see the dude bobbling the baU," he said. Herring emerged with the ball and the Cornhuskers' fate senior linebacker Tom Vering "We were trying to mix up our defenses on that final Houston drive iust as we had throughout the rest of the game.
It had worked before. What a frustrating way to end my career standing on the sideline. I wasn't even in on that touchdown pass. It was such a disappointing loss because of the way we lost." Cornerback Andy Means "We knew they were a right-handed team. Thev ran to the right.
They passed to the right. As a result, I felt like I was covering a decoy all day." Quarterback Jeff Quinn "Maybe they were controlling the line of scrimmage in the second half. We had earlier in the game. But I don't want to take anythipg away from our offensive line. Thev did a great job all year.
I learned a lot this season. That will make me work all the harder for next year. "I thought we came up with enough to win, but Houston has been known for this all year and I guess they did it one more time." "We played two quarters, not )ur quarters. You could see the pride of the seniors out there. They didn't want to quit.
They showed a lot of character. I feel sorriest for them." On the "swinging gate" touchdown play that was called back "The ref said I picked the ball up and then threw it over to Jarvis Redwine). He said it had to be all one continuous motion. I thought it was. I did it iust the way we'd been practicing it." Field goal kicker Dean Sukup On his miss in the first quarter "I thought I had made it.
The official thought I didn't, it's iust one of those things that goes with the game. It's not the reason we lost." Tight end Jeff Finn "I don't know why I was so open, but it was a good feeling. I thought, the wav the defense had been playing, that 14-10 would be enough. But, Houton came back and I give them credit. We were iust six points (17-14 losses to Oklahoma and Houston) away from being national champs." On catching a past from Redwine "It's the same play David Humm scored on against Oklahoma and the same plav we used last year on a two-point conversion (against California).
I iust pitch and float back to the backside. I thought I wos going to score." Head Coach Tom Osborne "I thought Tim Hoger deserved the chance to start the second half because he's a senior. He didnt do badly, but we still bogged down. I brought Quinn back in because he's bigger, stronger, faster and has a stronger arm. It's harder for Tim to see over those big Houston tackles.
They were exceptional. Houston's defense was exceptional." "Elston gives Houston's offense an added dimension. He's a great player, a great runner. He's iust an average passer, but he gets the lob done and that's what counts. He's big, he's strona.
he's fast. He's almost like having another I-back or Whether it was stepping on, over or through, Houston quarterback Terry Elston (7) got the Cougar offense moving when he came off the bench during the Cotton BowL Here, Elston gets past Husker defensive end Derrie Nelson (92) as he engineers the Houston veer. iuu on the opposite side, made a special trip back into the locker area to talk to his crestfallen young teammate. "I told him it was the whole team's fault. If there was any blame, it should be for all 11 guys on defense.
We should never have let them get down there," Means said. "I told him, 'Hey, that's just one play. That didn't win it or lose it for It was a freak play, and it wasn't his fault." NU defensive coordinator Lance Van Zandt agreed with Means' assessment "Ric Lindquist didn't lose us that ball game," said Van Zandt. Lindquist was credited with eight tackles and one pass break-up. With 19 seconds remaining, on third down before the critical, final play, he forced an incomplete pass intended for Houston's Lonell Phea.
On fourth down, "I was right on him (Herring)," Lindquist said. Nobody could agree on what exactly happened after that. All anyone knew was, it translated into six points and a big disappointment for the Band member Frompoge29 injures ankle Van Zandt- in his hands. "Overall, we gave a great effort. It was just one of those freak plays; they happened to get a lucky pass," said Cole.
"I couldn't believe it. All that work, the whole season right there on that last play, and it blows up on you," Gary said Lindquist was disconsolate after the 17-14 loss. The sophomore cornerback had to be called to the team bus as he sat in front of his locker, a solitary figure who appeared to be watching a rerun of the touchdown play on the carpet in front of him. Andy Means, the cornerback But unlike Nebraska defensive end Derrie Nelson tracking down Missouri quarterback Phil Bradley and sacking him up like a grocery boy at the checkout Husker defensive tackle Dan Pensick was an inch late and a fraction of a second short in getting to Houston quarterback Terry DALLAS The Cotton Bowl football game was free, of; injuries to the Nebraska and Houston players. Diane Pendrock, a member of the Nebraska band from Omaha was not as fortunate.
In the excitement of the closing moments of the ame, lule jumping up and -dow she slipped in the stands'and dislocated an ankle. "I blew it. I was this close to him," Pensick said, holding his fingers about an inch apart. Pensick almost had Elston wrapped up for a New Year's present. "I was even closer than an inch to getting a hand on the ball" Pensick sail "I mean tt.
It was that close." Pensick was finding the memory of the play just as painful as Lindquist Maybe even more painful Dan Pensick is a senior. Houston was his curtain call Ric Lindquist is a sophomore. He has 24 months to erase the memory before he throws his Husker uniform into the locker for the last time. fullback hi there. The other guy (Delrick Brown) has some of the same problems Hoger does physically." Comparing Houston with Oklahoma "Oklahoma probably runt better, but Houston is a better passing team and I'm fairly convinced they're better defensive team.".
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