|1976 Nebraska Cornhuskers football|
Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl Champions
|Conference||Big Eight Conference|
|1976 record||9-3-1 (4-3-0 Big 8)|
|Head coach||Tom Osborne (4th season)|
|Offensive coordinator||Tom Osborne (8th season)|
|Offensive scheme||I formation|
|Defensive coordinator||Monte Kiffin (4th season)|
|Home stadium||Memorial Stadium|
|1976 Big 8 football standings|
|#14 Oklahoma State||5||–||2||–||0||9||–||3||–||0|
|#19 Iowa State||4||–||3||–||0||8||–||3||–||0|
|Rankings from AP Poll|
The 1976 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska in the 1976 college football season. The team was coached by Tom Osborne and played their home games in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.
|September 11*||at LSU||#1||Tiger Stadium • Baton Rouge, Louisiana||T 6-6||70,746|
|September 18*||at Indiana||#8||Memorial Stadium • Bloomington, Indiana||W 45-13||41,289|
|September 25*||TCU||#6||Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska||W 64-10||74,981|
|October 2*||Miami||#5||Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska||W 17-9||76,155|
|October 9||at Colorado||#6||Folsom Field • Boulder, Colorado||W 24-12||53,538|
|October 16†||Kansas State||#3||Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska||W 51-0||76,150|
|October 23||#17 Missouri||#3||Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska||L 24-34||76,051|
|October 30||at Kansas||#9||Memorial Stadium • Lawrence, Kansas||W 31-3||47,327|
|November 6||#13 Oklahoma State||#9||Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska||W 14-10||76,272|
|November 13||at Iowa State||#9||Cyclone Stadium • Ames, Iowa||L 28-37||51,500|
|November 26||#8 Oklahoma||#10||Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska||L 17-20||74,284|
|December 4||at Hawaii||#13||Aloha Stadium • Honolulu, Hawaii||W 68-3||33,737|
|December 31||at #9 Texas Tech||#13||The Astrodome • Houston, Texas (Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl)||W 27-24||48,618|
|*Non-Conference Game. †Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.|
Altman, Dick (So.) WB
Glenn, Steve #71 (So.) OT
Pruitt, Ron #91 (Sr.) DT
in this position
|Years at Nebraska||Alma Mater|
|Tom Osborne||Head Coach
|Monte Kiffin||Defensive Coordinator||1973||1967–1976||Nebraska|
|Cletus Fischer||Offensive Line||1960–1985||Nebraska|
|John Melton||Tight Ends
|Mike Corgan||Running Backs||1962||1962–1982||Notre Dame|
|Warren Powers||Defensive Backs||1969–1976||Nebraska|
|Boyd Epley||Head Strength Coach||1969||1969–2003||Nebraska|
|Jerry Moore||Wide Receivers||1973||1973–1978||Baylor|
|Milt Tenopir||Offensive Line||1974||1974–2002||Sterling|
|Guy Ingles||Freshman Head Coach||1976||1976–1978||Nebraska|
Top-ranked Nebraska quickly found the scoreboard with a touchdown just four minutes into the game, but a failed extra point attempt was the first sign of trouble to come, as the Cornhuskers failed to score again against a fierce LSU defense. The Tigers also struggled to make headway against the tenacious Blackshirts, managing just one field goal in each of the final two quarters, which resulted in a less than stellar beginning of the season for Nebraska as they were forced to settle for a 6-6 tie.
Nebraska pushed Indiana around all day to make up for the previous week's disappointing tie game, running out ahead 38-0 before Indiana managed to score. Indiana had the slight edge in the air, but without enough points to back it up, the 248-89 Cornhusker domination on the ground told the story of the game.
TCU proposed to make it a game by scoring first, and was still in it with a slight 10-14 lag at the end of the 1st quarter, but the Horned Frogs proceeded to fall apart as the Cornhuskers quickly rolled off 50 unanswered points to steamroll their way to a 64-10 romp in the Lincoln home opener. Nebraska QB Vince Ferragamo tied the Nebraska record of four touchdowns in a game (by halftime), while ground responsibilities were widely shared as 5th-string IB Byron Stewart ended up with the day's rushing lead at 64 yards.
A hard-hitting game saw several players leaving the field with injuries as Nebraska fought from behind for the second week in a row, after having to start the 2nd half down 0-6. The Cornhuskers eventually wore the Hurricanes down in the end, putting up 10 more points while Miami was only able to add a field goal in their failed attempt to hold the lead.
Colorado never did find the end zone, but Buffalo PK Mark Zetterberg split the uprights four times to account for all of Colorado's scores to put Nebraska behind 7-12 at the half. Those 12 points were not nearly enough to overcome the Nebraska 2nd half effort which ran off an additional 17 unanswered points to pull away from Colorado for the win.
Nebraska smashed Kansas State to celebrate homecoming, holding the Wildcats to a painful -45 yards of negative progress on the ground, as the Cornhuskers did not even have to defend their side of the field until late in the 3rd quarter when Nebraska gave up an interception. Still missing several players from injuries sustained in the previous two games, the Cornhusker machine rolled on anyway, as Nebraska QB Vince Ferragamo tied the school single-game touchdown record for the second time this season while the Blackshirts put up their only shutout of 1976.
Missouri arrived in Lincoln on the way to owning an impressive upset thanks to a record-setting play. Nebraska was behind 18-23 at the half, but had obtained two field goals to pull ahead 24-23 at the start of the 4th quarter. The Tigers than scored on a spectacular 98-yard pass play and successful 2-point conversion to take the momentum back just two minutes later, and iced the win with 1:19 remaining on the game clock when they added 3 more on a field goal, handing the Cornhuskers their first loss of the season.
Kansas took the brunt of Nebraska's frustration following their loss to Missouri the week prior, as the Blackshirts only allowed the Jayhawks to cross midfield twice all day, while the Cornhusker offense accumulated 483 yards of total offense in the one-sided game. The lone Kansas score was a field goal against Nebraska reserves in the 4th quarter.
Both teams struggled to make progress against each other at the start as both defenses protected their end zones, and by the half only Oklahoma State had managed to put any points up, with a field goal midway through the 2nd quarter. The defensive battle continued after haltfime, but the Cornhuskers were finally able to secure a 3rd quarter touchdown, only to have the Cowboys answer it four minutes later and retake the lead 10-7. Nebraska was uncharacteristically losing the ground war, as Oklahoma State piled up a 291-121 edge in yards, and so turned to the air and found results as they amassed a 235-34 passing yardage lead, which included the game-winning touchdown pass with almost 12 minutes still remaining in the 4th quarter. The Blackshirts held from there on out to secure the victory.
Turnovers took a brutal toll on Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers fumbled eight times and gave up an interception in Ames. For the second week in a row, Nebraska was forced to go to the air for results as the Cyclones held them to just 77 rushing yards, but it was not enough, as Nebraska fell behind 0-10 early on and never recovered the lead in a heartbreaking road loss to an unranked team following their thrilling finish against #13 Oklahoma State the week before.
Nebraska was outrushed on the day, lagging Oklahoma 185-357 on the ground and once again resorting to an air attack to stay in the game, yet the Cornhuskers were in the lead 17-13 when Oklahoma resorted to an unexpected air attack of their own to win. The Sooners had only thrown two passes in the last two games combined, but used two pass plays in the final minutes to pull out the surprise win. One pass, a 47-yarder from reserve Oklahoma HB Woodie Shepherd, was the first of his career, while the other was tossed by backup Oklahoma QB Dean Blevins 10 yards and then lateraled for an additional 22 yard gain. The Cornhuskers, felled by passes from a ground-based team they had not defeated since 1971, was knocked out of the Orange Bowl.
In a lightly attended Honolulu game with more Cornhusker fans in attendance than locals, Nebraska punished Hawaii with a 47-0 lead before allowing the Rainbows to obtain their lone points of the day on a field goal near the end of the 3rd quarter, which was answered by an additional 21 straight Cornhusker points to close the game. Nebraska's 655 yards of total offense was a new all-time school record, as was the 211 single game yards accumulated by IB Rick Berns, which succeeded the mark of 204 set by Frank Solich in 1965. Nebraska SE Chuck Malito's 166 receiving yards also set a new single game school record, and Nebraska QB Vince Ferragamo broke David Humm's 1972 season touchdown record of 18 when he pushed his season total to 20.
Nebraska was behind 17-14 at the half, and Texas Tech increased their lead shortly after the start of the 3rd when they posted another touchdown, and things were looking bleak for the Cornhuskers as the Red Raiders seemed to have an answer for everything Nebraska came up with. Then, two minutes later, Nebraska found the end zone to pull within 4 points, and after managing to force Texas Tech into a punt that was partially blocked, the Cornhuskers scored again two minutes later to take the lead, and held on for the win.
|Poll||Pre||Wk 1||Wk 2||Wk 3||Wk 4||Wk 5||Wk 6||Wk 7||Wk 8||Wk 9||Wk 10||Wk 11||Wk 12||Final|
|All-America 1st team||Dave Butterfield, Vince Ferragamo, Mike Fultz|
|All-America 2nd team||Clete Pillen|
|All-America honorable mention||Greg Jorgensen, Bob Lingenfelter, Ray Phillips, Ron Pruitt, Dan Schmidt|
|Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year||Clete Pillen|
|All-Big 8 1st team||Dave Butterfield, Vince Ferragamo, Mike Fultz, Bob Lingenfelter, Ray Phillips, Clete Pillen, Dan Schmidt|
|All-Big 8 2nd team||Al Eveland, Steve Hoins, Chuck Malito, Ron Pruitt, Ken Spaeth|
|All-Big 8 honorable mention||Tom Davis, Greg Jorgensen, Dave Shamblin, Bobby Thomas, Larry Valasek|
NFL and Pro Players
The following Nebraska players who participated in the 1976 season later moved on to the next level and joined a professional or semi-pro team as draftees or free agents.
|George Andrews||Los Angeles Rams|
|Bill Barnett||Miami Dolphins|
|Rick Berns||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Ed Burns||New Orleans Saints|
|Kelvin Clark||Denver Broncos|
|Barney Cotton||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Tom Davis||Toronto Argonauts|
|Vince Ferragamo||Los Angeles Rams|
|Mike Fultz||New Orleans Saints|
|Mark Goodspeed||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Rod Horn||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Lee Kunz||Chicago Bears|
|Oudious Lee||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Bob Lingenfelter||Cleveland Browns|
|Ray Phillips||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Stan Waldemore||New York Jets|
- "Football - 1976 Schedule/Results". University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics Department. http://www.huskers.com/SportSelect.dbml?SPSID=3&SPID=22&DB_OEM_ID=100&KEY=&Q_SEASON=1976. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- Nebraska 1976 Roster
- "Nebraska 1976 Commitments". Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. http://www.webcitation.org/5hYfmNcoz. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- 1976 Husker Honors
- "All Time NFL Huskers". Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. http://www.webcitation.org/query?id=1244759555199807. Retrieved 2009-06-10.