1978 Nebraska Cornhuskers football
Big 8 Co-Champions
Orange Bowl vs. #4 Oklahoma, L 24-31
ConferenceBig Eight Conference
CoachesNo. 8
APNo. 8
1978 record9-3-0 (6-1-0 Big 8)
Head coachTom Osborne (6th season)
Offensive coordinatorJerry Moore (1st season)
Offensive schemeI formation
Defensive coordinatorLance Van Zandt (2nd season)
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium
← 1977
1979 →
1978 Big 8 football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Oklahoma § 6 1 0     11 1 0
#8 Nebraska § 6 1 0     9 3 0
Iowa State 4 3 0     8 4 0
#15 Missouri 4 3 0     8 4 0
Kansas State 3 4 0     4 7 0
Oklahoma State 3 4 0     3 8 0
Colorado 2 5 0     6 5 0
Kansas 0 7 0     1 10 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1978 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Tom Osborne and played their home games in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.



Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 2* at #1 Alabama #10 Legion FieldBirmingham, Alabama ABC L 3-20   77,023
September 9* California #10 Memorial StadiumLincoln, Nebraska W 36-26   75,780
September 16* Hawaii #12 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska W 56-10   75,615
September 30* at Indiana #12 Memorial StadiumBloomington, Indiana ABC W 69-17   42,738
October 7 at #15 Iowa State #10 Cyclone StadiumAmes, Iowa W 23-0   51,450
October 14† Kansas State #8 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska W 48-14   75,818
October 21 Colorado #5 Folsom FieldBoulder, Colorado W 52-14   53,262
October 28 Oklahoma State #4 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska W 22-14   75,786
November 4 at Kansas #4 Memorial StadiumLawrence, Kansas W 63-21   50,463
November 11 #1 Oklahoma #4 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska ABC W 17-14   74,657
November 18 Missouri #2 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska L 31-35   75,850
January 1 vs. #4 Oklahoma #6 Miami Orange BowlMiami, Florida (Orange Bowl) L 24-31   66,365
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.



Adams, Joe #2 (So.) LB
Andrews, George #96 (Sr.) DE
Baker, Kim #41 (So.) LB
Barnett, Bill #97 (Jr.) DT
Bergkamp, Tim #36 (So.) PK
Berns, Richard #35 (Sr.) IB
Bloom, Jeff #50 (Jr.) C
Branch, Anthony #4 (So.) WB
Brown, Kenny #22 (Sr.) WB
Bruce, Mike #76 (So.) OT
Bryant, Bill #95 (Sr.) DT
Carlstrom, Tom #78 (So.) OG
Clark, David #63 (So.) DT
Clark, Kelvin #73 (Sr.) OT
Cole, Andy #56 (So.) MG
Cole, Lawrence #81 (Jr.) DE
Cooley, Lawrence #67 (Sr.) OG
Cotton, Barney #54 (Sr.) C
Davies, Steve #82 (So.) TE
DeLoach, Trey #52 (So.) C
Dunning, Bruce #40 (Jr.) LB
England, Gary #70 (Jr.) LB
Finn, Jeff #63 (So.) OG
Fischer, Tim #16 (Sr.) DB
Franklin, Andra #39 (So.) FB
Gary, Russell #9 (So.) DB
Gemar, Scott #1 (So.) PK
Glenn, Steve #71 (Sr.) OT
Goodspeed, Mark #72 (Jr.) OT
Hager, Gary #87 (So.) SE
Hager, Tim #10 (Jr.) QB
Hansen, Jeff #48 (Sr.) DB


Havekost, John #69 (Jr.) OG
Hedrick, Brian #43 (So.) DT
Hineline, Curt #59 (So.) MG
Hipp, I.M. #32 (Jr.) IB
Holmes, Daryl #94 (So.) DE
Horn, Rod #55 (Jr.) DT
Johnson, Craig #30 (So.) IB
Juehring, Chris #45 (So.) FB
Keith, Percy #21 (So.) IB
Kelly, Jim #49 (So.) FB
Kotera, Jim #44 (So.) FB
Krejci, Jeff #2 (So.) LB
Kunz, Lee #38 (Sr.) LB
LaFever, Dan #37 (So.) LB
Lee, Jeff #26 (Sr.) SE
Lee, Oudious #65 (Jr.) MG
LeRoy, Mark #23 (Jr.) DB
Letcher, Paul #8 (Jr.) DB
Lewis, Rodney #5 (So.) DB
Liegl, David #28 (Jr.) DB
Lindquist, Ric #15 (So.) DB
Lindquist, Steve #68 (Sr.) OG
Lindstrom, Dan #98 (So.) DE
Lockett, Frank #80 (Sr.) SE
Matthies, Tom #77 (So.) OT
Mauer, Mark #17 (So.) QB
McCloney, Maurice #31 (Fr.) WB
McCrady, Tim #24 (So.) WB
Means, Andy #34 (So.) DB
Michaelson, Steve #18 (So.) QB
Miller, Junior #89 (Jr.) TE
Minor, John #86 (Jr.) DE


Nelson, Derrie #92 (So.) DE
Ohrt, Tom #74 (Sr.) OT
Payne, Dennis #13 (Sr.) DB
Pensick, Dan #93 (Jr.) DT
Pillen, Jim #29 (Sr.) DB
Phillips, Patrick #94 (Fr.) DE
Poeschl, Randy #75 (Sr.) DT
Porter, G.M. (Budge) (Sr.) CB
Potadle, Paul #61 (Jr.) OG
Quinn, Jeff #11 (So.) QB
Rabas, Greg #85 (So.) TE
Ruud, John #46 (Jr.) LB
Ruzich, Mike #99 (So.) DT
Saalfeld, Kelly #57 (Jr.) C
Schleusener, Randy #53 (So.) C
Searcey, L.G. #42 (So.) DB
Selko, John #83 (Jr.) TE
Sherry, Scott #91 (So.) DE
Sims, Sammy #6 (So.) DB
Smith, Tim #84 (Jr.) SE
Sorley, Tom #12 (Sr.) QB
Steels, Anthony #33 (So.) WB
Steiner, Dan #58 (Jr.) OG
Stewart, Eric #19 (Jr.) DB
Sukup, Dean #3 (Jr.) PK
Theissen, Gordon #90 (Jr.) DE
Todd, Billy #14 (Sr.) PK
Vering, Tom #47 (Jr.) LB
Walton, Darrell #7 (Sr.) DB
Weinmaster, Kerry #51 (Jr.) MG
Williams, Brent #66 (So.) LB
Woodard, Scott #88 (So.) SE
Wurth, Tim #25 (Jr.) IB


Coaching staffEdit

Name Title First year
in this position
Years at Nebraska Alma Mater
Tom OsborneHead Coach19731964-1997Hastings College
Jerry MooreOffensive Coordinator19781973-1978Baylor
Lance Van ZandtDefensive Coordinator
Defensive Backs
Cletus FischerOffensive Line 1960-1985Nebraska
John MeltonTight Ends
Mike CorganRunning Backs19621962-1982Notre Dame
Boyd EpleyHead Strength Coach19691969-2003Nebraska
George DarlingtonDefensive Backs 1973-2002 Rutgers
Milt TenopirOffensive Line19741974-2002 Sterling
Guy InglesFreshman Head Coach 1976-1978Nebraska
Gene HueyReceivers19771977-1986Wyoming
Charlie McBrideDefensive Line19771977-1999Colorado

Game notesEdit


#10 Nebraska at #1 Alabama [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#10 Nebraska 3 0 0 0 3
#1 Alabama 0 7 6 7 20

Tom Osborne brought his Nebraska Cornhuskers into Birmingham to face Bear Bryant's top-ranked Crimson Tide to start the 1978 season, and Nebraska put the first points on the board with a field goal halfway through the 1st quarter. Unfortunately for the Cornhuskers, the game belonged to Alabama for the rest of the day with no further answer from Nebraska. Alabama suffered no fumbles and rolled up twice as many ground yards as Nebraska, showing that their #1 ranking was deserved.


California at #10 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
California 7 0 7 12 26
#10 Nebraska 0 7 7 22 36

The Golden Bears were on the scoreboard first, but the Cornhuskers came back to tie midway through the 2nd quarter with help from a tricky two-handoff pass play to set up a score. The score was still tied at 14 through the 3rd quarter, before a surge of scoring opened up in the 4th as both teams combined for 34 points. Nebraska led on the ground 302-76, while California owned the air 271-190, but it was the Cornhuskers with more points at the final whistle.


Hawaii at #12 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Hawaii 0 0 10 0 10
#12 Nebraska 7 28 7 14 56

Nebraska rolled to a dominating 35-0 1st half lead, and eight Cornhusker players scored during the course of the game as Hawaii allowed 599 yards of offense in their futile attempts to slow the onslaught. Hawaii's only touchdown came on the heels of a Nebraska fumble, and the spread was by then far too great for the Warriors to ever pose a threat to the Cornhuskers.


#12 Nebraska at Indiana [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#12 Nebraska 28 7 14 20 69
Indiana 0 10 0 7 17

Indiana was outclassed from the kickoff, as Nebraska scored on all of their first four possessions and jumped to a 28-lead in the 1st quarter, scoring more points than Indiana would be able to muster on the entire day. Five Cornhusker runners found the end zone, as well as a Blackshirt who recovered a fumble, as Nebraska rolled up 613 yards of offense for the day.

Iowa StateEdit

#10 Nebraska at #15 Iowa State [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#10 Nebraska 6 3 0 14 23
#15 Iowa State 0 0 0 0 0

Nebraska was the first on the board and never allowed Iowa State to join them afterwards, as they led 9-0 at halftime and tacked on 14 more before the final whistle, while capitalizing on two interceptions thrown by the Cyclones and holding Iowa State to just 82 yards of total offense at their own home field.

Kansas StateEdit

#8 Nebraska at Kansas State [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#8 Nebraska 0 14 21 13 48
Kansas State 0 7 0 7 14

Kansas State made an effort to be competitive for a bit, but Nebraska kept going after obtaining a 14-7 haltime lead, and the Wildcats were trailing by 28 before they put up their final 4th quarter touchdown, which the Cornhuskers further marginalized with 13 additional points while posting their second consecutive 600+ yard game.


Colorado at #5 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Colorado 14 0 0 0 14
#5 Nebraska 3 11 17 21 52

Colorado jumped out to an 11 point lead in the 1st quarter, helped in part by a 100-yard kickoff return, but there would be no further Colorado points allowed as Nebraska tallied 49 straight unanswered points to silence any Colorado hopes for an upset while recording their third consecutive game with over 600 yards of offense.

Oklahoma StateEdit

Oklahoma State at #4 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Oklahoma State 7 0 7 0 14
#4 Nebraska 0 19 3 0 22

Oklahoma State endeavored to keep this one close, and held Nebraska to around half of the total offensive yards the Cornhuskers had accumulated in each of the last three games. Statistically, in fact, it was very close, as the Cowboys barely led in the air 110-99, while the Cornhuskers barely led on the ground 217-213, and the Cowboys also held the edge in 1st downs 17-15. At the end of the day, however, it was all about who put points on the board, and Nebraska clinched the win on a 42 yard field goal with 15 seconds left to play, going ahead by 8 and holding on for the win.


#4 Nebraska at Kansas [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#4 Nebraska 7 35 14 7 63
Kansas 0 7 8 6 21

Nebraska started slow, only leading by 7 after the 1st quarter, but then the game blew open when the Cornhuskers put up four unanswered touchdowns in the 2nd and five overall, leading 42-7 at the half. The Jayhawks gamely put up 14 more points before the day was over, but not nearly enough to catch up, let alone overcome the additional 21 posted by the Cornhuskers before the final whistle. Nebraska's 799 total yards of offense set a new Big 8 record.


#1 Oklahoma at #4 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#1 Oklahoma 7 0 7 0 14
#4 Nebraska 0 7 7 3 17

It was an epic contest, the biggest since the original Nebraska-Oklahoma Game of the Century in 1971, as the top-ranked and undefeated Oklahoma Sooners arrived in Lincoln to defend their ranking and possibly settle the 1978 Big 8 title with Nebraska. Oklahoma put up the first score, which was matched by Nebraska by halftime, and the game was still tied at 14 at the start of the 4th quarter. Nebraska put up the go-ahead field goal just minutes into the 4th, and the ensuing battle pitted the vaunted Oklahoma offense against the stalwart Blackshirts, who held until the end, finally forcing Oklahoma RB Billy Sims to fumble on the Nebraska 3 with 3:27 remaining to play and sealing the first Cornhusker victory over the Sooners since the famous 1971 contest.


Missouri at #2 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Missouri 7 7 14 7 35
#2 Nebraska 14 3 14 0 31

With the Cornhuskers riding high from their win over #1 Oklahoma, concerns that Missouri might be overlooked came to pass, as the Tigers downed the Cornhuskers in Lincoln 35-31. Nebraska RB Rick Berns, soon to be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, started the day by tearing off an 82-yard run to set the tone. Nebraska was able to cling to a slim 3-point halftime lead through the 3rd quarter, but failed to answer Missouri's final touchdown with 3:42 remaining to play, which subsequently and unexpectedly sent both Oklahoma and Nebraska to the Orange Bowl to once again face each other.


#6 Nebraska vs #4 Oklahoma [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#6 Nebraska 7 0 3 14 24
#4 Oklahoma 7 7 17 0 31

Just six weeks prior, Oklahoma and Nebraska met for the 1978 revisit of the "Game of the Century", and yet circumstances dictated that they would meet again for a rematch, and once again the Cornhuskers were in the role of spoiler, but the Sooners were simply not going to be defeated this time around. Nebraska led the first down battle 27-17 and led Oklahoma in the air 220-47 as well as in total offense, but was hurt by two lost interceptions. Although behind by 7 at the half and falling to 31-10 by the end of the 3rd, the Cornhuskers still rallied back and had a chance until IB Craig Johnson was stopped on a 4th-and-1 for no gain on the Sooners 7 with 8:07 left. Nebraska got the ball back and eventually did put it into the end zone again with :03 left on the clock to come within 7 points for the final score.


Ranking Movement
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 Wk 13 Wk 14 Wk 15 Final
AP 4 4 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 6 5 4 8
Coaches 8



Award Name(s)
National Coach of the Year Tom Osborne
All-America 1st team George Andrews, Kelvin Clark
All-America 2nd team Steve Lindquist
All-America 3rd team Junior Miller
All-America honorable mention Rick Berns, I. M. Hipp, Rod Horn, Lee Kunz
Big 8 Coach of the Year Tom Osborne
All-Big 8 1st team George Andrews, Rick Berns, Kenny Brown, Kelvin Clark, Steve Lindquist, Junior Miller, Jim Pillen
All-Big 8 2nd team Kenny Brown, Barney Cotton, I. M. Hipp, Rod Horn, Lee Kunz, Tim Smith, Billy Todd, Kerry Weinmaster
All-Big 8 honorable mention Andra Franklin, Jeff Hansen, Andy Means, Derrie Nelson, Tom Ohrt, Kelly Saalfeld, Tom Sorley

NFL and Pro PlayersEdit

The following Nebraska players who participated in the 1978 season later moved on to the next level and joined a professional or semi-pro team as draftees or free agents.[5]

Name Team
Bill Barnett Miami Dolphins
Rick Berns Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kelvin Clark Denver Broncos
Barney Cotton Cincinnati Bengals
Andra Franklin Miami Dolphins
Russell Gary New Orleans Saints
Mark Goodspeed St. Louis Cardinals
Rod Horn Cincinnati Bengals
Lee Kunz Chicago Bears
Jeff Lee St. Louis Cardinals
Oudious Lee St. Louis Cardinals
Rodney Lewis New Orleans Saints
Frank Lockett Boston Breakers
Junior Miller Atlanta Falcons
Derrie Nelson San Diego Chargers
Jeff Quinn Pittsburgh Steelers
Anthony Steels Boston Breakers


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.