HOUSTON (UPI) - Kent Smith blocked a
punt and Nebraska quarterback Vince Ferragamo fired a 23-yard touchdown
pass to Chuck Malito on the next play to vault the Cornhuskers to a
27-24 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders
Friday night (video).
Ferragamo, one of two brilliant quarterbacks in this wild offensive
game, threw another touchdown pass, and workhorse Nebraska tailback
Richard Berns scored twice as the Cornhuskers roared back from two
10-point deficits for the victory.
Eighth-ranked Texas Tech, 10-1 during the regular season, took its lead
as running back Billy Taylor caught two touchdown passes from
quarterback Rodney Allison and rushed eight yards for another.
Tech kicking specialist Brian Hall booted a 28-yard field goal in the
first quarter but missed 32-and 37-yard attempts in the second half
which would have tied the score.
Each team scored in each of the first three quarters but the fourth
quarter was scoreless as Nebraska held on for its third post season
victory in the four years of head coach Tom Osborne.
Ferragamo, the eventual offensive hero during a game which featured many
standouts, almost gave the game away in the final half when two of his
mistakes resulted in Texas Tech touchdowns.
With Nebraska leading 7-3 early in the second quarter, Ferragamo was hit
from the blind side and fumbled. Tech defensive end Richard Arledge
recovered at the Nebraska 32 and four plays later Taylor caught a 14
yard touchdown pass (video).
Late in the second quarter, Nebraska lost the ball again on Ferragamo's
poor pitchout. Again Texas Tech converted the mistake. Four plays later
Allison found Taylor for a 11 yard touchdown pass.
Nebraska trailed 17-7 at that point with 2:14 left in the first half,
but Ferragamo passed 24 yards to Dave Shamblin and 22 yards for a
touchdown to Mark Dufresne to cap an 80-yard drive and bring the
Cornhuskers to within three points at halftime.
Tech scored first in the second half on Taylor's 8-yard run (video),
but Nebraska roared back again from a 10-point deficit to score on Berns'
18-yard run (video) and Ferragamo passed
Ferragamo passed for 183 yards and Berns led all rushers with 119 yards.
Allison, who rushed for 88 yards and passed for 193 more, was voted the
most valuable back in the game. Malito received the honor as the most
The victory was Nebraska's seventh in the last eight years. A 14-17 loss
to Arizona State in the Fiesta Bowl following last season tarnished
Nebraska's bowl record during the period and sent the Cornhuskers into
this Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl with more determination.
Texas Tech coach Steve Sloan remained winless in his two bowl
appearances in three years. Sloan's only other bowl team, the 1974
Vanderbilt squad, was tied by Texas Tech 6-6.
Nebraska broke on top by driving 80 yards in 19 plays on the opening
possession and appeared like it would easily put a glittering, finishing
touch on a disappointing 8-3-1 regular season (video).
But Texas Tech drove 57 yards on its first possession and only settled
for Hall's field goal after Nebraska linebacker Percy Eichelberger made
a saving tackle on Taylor on a big third down play at the 11 yard line.
NU- Berns 1 run (Eveland kick)
TT- FG Hall 28
TT- Taylor 14 yard pass from Allison (Hall kick)
TT- Taylor 11 yard pass from Allison (Hall kick)
NU- Dufresne 22 yard pass from Ferragamo (Eveland kick)
TT- Taylor 8 run (Hall kick)
NU- Berns 18 run (Eveland kick failed)
NU- Malito 23 yard pass from Ferragamo (Eveland kick)
TT- Allison 13-89, Isaac 13-54, Taylor 13-46
NU- Berns 27-118, Donnell 8-34, Craig 5-27
TT- Allison 15-23-193
NU- Ferragamo 13-23-183
TT- Williams 3-63, Isaac 4-41, Taylor 4-33, Turner 2-25, Brown 1-17,
NU- Chuck Malito 3-107, Shamblin 2-45, Dufresne 2-31, Craig 2-24, Spaeth
1-14, Berns 2-10