FANDOM


1981 Nebraska Cornhuskers football
59px
Big 8 Champions
Orange Bowl vs. #1 Clemson, L 15-22
ConferenceBig Eight Conference
Ranking
CoachesNo. 9
APNo. 11
1981 record9-3-0 (7-0-0 Big 8)
Head coachTom Osborne (9th season)
Offensive coordinatorTom Osborne (12th season)
Offensive schemeI formation
Defensive coordinatorCharlie McBride (1st season)
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium
Seasons
← 1980
1982 →
1981 Big 8 football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#11 Nebraska 7 0 0     9 3 0
#20 Oklahoma 4 2 1     7 4 1
Kansas 4 3 0     7 5 0
Oklahoma State 4 3 0     7 5 0
#19 Missouri 3 4 0     8 4 0
Iowa State 2 4 1     5 5 1
Colorado 2 5 0     3 8 0
Kansas State 1 6 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1981 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 1981 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Tom Osborne and played their home games in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.

ScheduleEdit

[1]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 12* at Iowa #7 Kinnick StadiumIowa City, Iowa L 7-10   60,160
September 19* #19 Florida State #17 Memorial StadiumLincoln, Nebraska W 34-14   76,289
September 26* #3 Penn State #15 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska L 24-30   76,308
October 3* Auburn Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska W 17-3   76,423
October 10 Colorado Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska W 59-0   76,169
October 17 at Kansas State #19 KSU StadiumManhattan, Kansas W 49-3   45,915
October 24 at #19 Missouri #15 Faurot FieldColumbia, Missouri W 6-0   72,001
October 31† Kansas #12 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska W 31-15   76,208
November 7 at Oklahoma State #11 Lewis FieldStillwater, Oklahoma W 54-7   48,500
November 14 Iowa State #7 Memorial Stadium • Lincoln, Nebraska W 31-7   76,258
November 21 at Oklahoma #5 Oklahoma Memorial StadiumNorman, Oklahoma W 37-14   74,807
January 1* vs. #1 Clemson #4 Miami Orange BowlMiami, Florida (Orange Bowl) L 15-22   72,748
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Central Time.

RosterEdit

[2][3]

Abbott, Todd (So.) DE
Alberico, Tim (So.) SE
Bachman, Ron (So.) DT
Barnes, Ed #57 (So.) LB
Bates, Phil #43 (Sr.) FB
Bauer, Steve #94 (So.) MON
Behning, Mark (So.) OT
Bess, Donnie #44 (Jr.) LB
Bourn, Don (So.) TE
Brandl, Matt #58 (Sr.) OG
Brown, Steve #95 (So.) DE
Brown, Todd #29 (Jr.) SE
Brungardt, Tim #32 (So.) IB
Buchanan, Eric (So.) DE
Campbell, Grant #24 (Jr.) P
Carlstrom, Tom #78 (Sr.) OG
Chandler, Rick #39 (So.) LB
Clark, Bret #10 (So.) S
Corbeil, Jim #92 (So.) LB
Craig, Roger #21 (Jr.) IB
Curry, Tom #1 (So.) WB
Damkroger, Steve #35 (Jr.) LB
Daum, Mark (So.) LB
DeBus, Robert (So.) LB
Dhein, Doug (So.) OT
Engebritson, Monte #83 (So.) TE
Evans, Brent #48 (Jr.) LB
Felici, Tony #46 (Jr.) DE
Fischer, Dan #26 (Jr.) S
Fryar, Irving #27 (So.) WB
Gdowski, Tom #93 (Jr.) DT
Gill, Turner #12 (So.) QB
Glathar, Kurt #69 (Jr.) C
Graeber, Ken (So.) MG
Greene, Ricky (So.) IB
Grimminger, Harry (So.) OG
Haase, David #4 (So.) S
Hagerman, Mark #9 (Jr.) PK
Hansman, Bob #98 (So.) LB
Harris, Neil #11 (So.) CB
Haywood, Calvin (So.) MON
Heath, John #52 (So.) LB
Herrmann, Doug #63 (So.) DT
Hill, Dan #84 (Jr.) TE
Hill, Pete #41 (Fr.) FB
Hinds, Tom (Jr.) OG

 

Hineline, Curt #59 (Sr.) MG
Hoback, Rob (Jr.) LB
Holbrook, Tim #23 (Jr.) MON
Huebert, Randy #31 (Sr.) WB
Hurley, Dan #73 (Sr.) OT
Iodence, Brian #14 (Sr.) CB
Jeffries, Jim (So.) MON
Johnson, Brad #55 (Jr.) C
Kammerer, Kyle (So.) OG
Keeler, Mike #61 (So.) DT
Kimball, Scott (So.) SE
Knox, Mike #44 (Fr.) LB
Kramer, Brian (So.) OG
Krejci, Jeff #2 (Sr.) S
Krenk, Mitch #89 (Jr.) TE
Kwapick, Jeff #70 (Jr.) OT
Larsen, Pat #3 (Jr.) CB
Lewis, Rodney #5 (Sr.) CB
Lindquist, Ric #15 (Sr.) CB
Lindstrom, Scott #56 (Jr.) MG
Lonowski, Jack #67 (Sr.) DT
Lyday, Allen #18 (Jr.) CB
Mandelko, Mike #68 (Jr.) OG
Mann, Ricky #16 (So.) S
Mason, Nate #8 (Jr.) QB
Mathison, Bruce #19 (Jr.) QB
Mauer, Mark #17 (Sr.) QB
McCashland, Mike (So.) MON
McCowan, Randy #37 (Jr.) IB
McElroy, Mike #54 (Sr.) C
McLaughlin, Scott (So.) C
McWhirter, Steve #45 (Jr.) LB
Merrell, Jeff #74 (Jr.) MG
Moravec, Mark #40 (Jr.) FB
Muehling, Brad #53 (So.) C
Murphy, Jim (So.) DB
Neil, Eddie #13 (Jr.) PK
Nelson, Randy (So.) OT
Orton, Greg (So.) OG
Patterson, Bill (So.) IB
Petersen, Tim (So.) CB
Praeuner, Wade #85 (So.) DE
Raridon, Scott #72 (So.) OT
Reinhardt, John (So.) MG
Ridder, Dave #86 (So.) DE
Rimington, Dave #50 (Jr.) C

 

Ripa, Dan (So.) FB
Rogan, Dennis #42 (So.) IB
Rozier, Mike #30 (So.) IB
Santin, John #36 (Jr.) LB
Schaffer, Scott (So.) WB
Schmuecker, Dan #77 (So.) OT
Schoening, Lynn #91 (Jr.) PK
Sculley, Mike #51 (Sr.) MG
Seibel, Kevin #49 (Jr.) PK
Shark, Doug (So.) TE
Sherlock, John #66 (So.) OT
Simmons, Ricky #7 (Jr.) WB
Sims, Sammy #6 (Sr.) MON
Smail, Bob (Unk) MG
Smith, Jeff #28 (So.) IB
Smith, Paul #25 (Jr.) FB
Sorenson, John (So.) SE
Spratte, Todd #81 (So.) DE
Steels, Anthony #33 (Sr.) WB
Steinkuhler, Dean #71 (So.) OG
Stephens, Greg #82 (Jr.) TE
Stromath, Dave #99 (Sr.) DT
Stuckey, Rob (So.) DT
Sundberg, Craig (So.) QB
Theiss, Randy #65 (Jr.) OT
Thomas, Anthony (So.) OG
Thompson, Jim (So.) WB
Tramner, Mike #64 (So.) MG
Traynowicz, Mark (So.) OT
Valla, Ronald (So.) PK
Van Lent, Bill #90 (Jr.) DT
Van Norman, Kris #38 (Jr.) MON
Vergith, Tom #22 (Jr.) SE
Waechter, Henry #75 (Sr.) DT
Waechter, Kevin #76 (Jr.) DT
Walton, Jerry (So.) S
Weber, Bill #87 (So.) DE
Weed, Dan (So.) C
Wees, Dennis #62 (Jr.) MG
Wehrle, Craig #47 (Jr.) TE
Wilkening, Doug #34 (So.) FB
Williams, Jamie #80 (Jr.) TE
Williams, Jimmy #96 (Sr.) DE
Williams, Toby #97 (Jr.) DT
Woodard, Scott #88 (Sr.) SE
Zierke, Mike (So.) DT

     

Coaching staffEdit

Name Title First year
in this position
Years at Nebraska Alma Mater
Tom OsborneHead Coach
Offensive Coordinator
19731964-1997Hastings College
Charlie McBrideDefensive Coordinator19811977-1999Colorado
Cletus FischerOffensive Line 1960-1985Nebraska
John MeltonTight Ends
Wingbacks
19731962-1988Wyoming
Mike CorganRunning Backs19621962-1982Notre Dame
Boyd EpleyHead Strength Coach19691969-2003Nebraska
George DarlingtonDefensive Backs 1973-2002 Rutgers
Milt TenopirOffensive Line19741974-2002 Sterling
Gene HueyReceivers19771977-1986Wyoming
Frank SolichHead Freshman Coach19791979-2003Nebraska
Jack Pierce 1979-1991
Jerry PettiboneRecruiting Coordinator19801980-1981Oregon State
Bob ThorntonSecondary19811981-1985Nebraska

Game notesEdit

IowaEdit

#7 Nebraska at Iowa [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#7 Nebraska 0 0 0 7 7
Iowa 7 3 0 0 10

Unranked Iowa jumped out to 10-0 lead by halftime on their way to paying back the 0-57 defeat handed to them by the Cornhuskers last year, and Nebraska was unable to answer in kind. Three 4th quarter Nebraska forays into Hawkeye territory produced no points, and an Iowa interception with 39 seconds remaining closed the book on the upset. Iowa went on to play in the Rose Bowl.

Florida StateEdit

#19 Florida State at #17 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#19 Florida State 0 7 0 7 14
#17 Nebraska 10 0 14 10 34

Nebraska held a close 10-7 lead at halftime, but the momentum quickly turned in favor of the Cornhuskers when WB Irving Fryar scored on an 82 yard punt return, followed up six game clock seconds later when DE Tony Felici's off-the-bench opportunity allowed him to recover a Florida State fumble and return it 13 yards for another touchdown. Nebraska sealed the deal on a 94 yard touchdown run by IB Roger Craig, tying the standing Nebraska record. Felici's defensive performance earned him the starting position.

Penn StateEdit

#3 Penn State at #15 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#3 Penn State 3 14 3 10 30
#15 Nebraska 0 10 14 0 24

No major records fell on this day, as each team fought to overcome the other and the scoring lead was exchanged five times. Penn State running back and future NFL star Curt Warner rolled up 238 yards, nearly matching the entire Nebraska team ground production. Penn State pulled ahead on an early 4th quarter touchdown and added a field goal with 4:54 remaining to extend their lead to 6 points, and the Cornhuskers were unable to muster a response before time expired. Nebraska fell out of the rankings for the first time since a one week absence early in the 1977 season.

AuburnEdit

Auburn at Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Auburn 3 0 0 0 3
Nebraska 0 0 10 7 17

Auburn put up a 1st quarter field goal to take the lead, and the score remained 3-0 at halftime. Through the course of the game, however, Auburn coughed up 10 fumbles, losing half of them, and never scored again. Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill took over after halftime, and with help from the turnovers, Nebraska overcome the weight of their worst season start since 1961 and put up 17 points in the second half and evened up their season record at 2-2.

ColoradoEdit

Colorado at Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Colorado 0 0 0 0 0
Nebraska 14 24 21 0 59

This game marked the first start for Nebraska QB Turner Gill and IB Mike Rozier, and the Cornhuskers finally came to life. Gill tied an existing Nebraska record by passing for four touchdowns, as Nebraska piled up 719 offensive yards and set a new NCAA record with 42 first downs while racking up all 59 points before the start of the 4th quarter, while the Blackshirts posted their first shutout of the season.

Kansas StateEdit

#19 Nebraska at Kansas State [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#19 Nebraska 14 14 0 21 49
Kansas State 0 0 3 0 3

For the third straight game, the Nebraska defense prevented a touchdown, as the Cornhuskers rolled up 674 offensive yards and handled Kansas State with ease, showing that the return of Nebraska to the rankings at #19 was appropriate. Despite recovering three of eight Nebraska fumbles and the opportunity to capitalize accordingly, the Wildcats still managed only 8 first downs, and they barely avoided the shutout with a single 3rd quarter field goal.

MissouriEdit

#15 Nebraska at #19 Missouri [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#15 Nebraska 0 0 0 6 6
#19 Missouri 0 0 0 0 0

This slugfest of two near evenly-ranked teams contained plenty of action if not points, as the stalemate dragged on until time nearly ran out. Finally with just 23 seconds left in the 4th quarter, Nebraska FB Phil Bates punched a three yard run into the end zone. Like all the other scoring attempts preceding the eventual touchdown, even the PAT failed, and Nebraska departed Columbia with the 6-0 win.

KansasEdit

Kansas at #12 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Kansas 3 6 3 3 15
#12 Nebraska 0 3 14 14 31

The Blackshirts extended their touchdown-prevention streak to five games, yet Nebraska was still behind 9-3 at halftime due to the prolific field goal production from Kansas PK Bruce Kallmeyer. Adjustments made during the break had an immediate effect, however, and despite Kallmeyer putting two more kicks between the uprights, the Cornhusker offense ran off four touchdowns with the help of IB Mike Rozier's career-best 179 yards to pull away.

Oklahoma StateEdit

#11 Nebraska at Oklahoma State [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#11 Nebraska 17 0 28 9 54
Oklahoma State 0 0 7 0 7

The high-flying Oklahoma State defense, ranked #1 in the nation when the Cornhuskers rolled into town, were obliterated by Nebraska's 546 yards of offense. Nebraska QB Turner Gill led his squad to scores on their first three possessions, and handed over the controls shortly after halftime, but the Cornhuskers continued to score with ease. The Nebraska defense allowed just one score, a 3rd quarter touchdown, which ended their touchdown-free streak at 22 quarters.

Iowa StateEdit

Iowa State at #7 Nebraska [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
Iowa State 0 7 0 0 7
#7 Nebraska 0 7 0 24 31

The Cornhuskers struggled to put Iowa State behind them, catching up with them to enter halftime tied at 7, and it wasn't until the 4th quarter that the worn-down Cyclones allowed a 63 yard punt return touchdown by WB Irving Fryar as they gave up 24 unanswered points to decide the outcome. However, Nebraska QB Turner Gill suffered a leg injury that eventually became serious enough to cause nerve damage, putting him out for the rest of the season and also casting a shadow over his athletic future.

OklahomaEdit

#5 Nebraska at Oklahoma [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#5 Nebraska 10 14 10 3 37
Oklahoma 7 0 7 0 14

Oklahoma started out strong but failed to produce points to match their ability to march down the field, hampered by losing 3 of 5 fumbles over the course of the game. Despite the early concern, the Sooners went to the locker room at the half trailing 24-7 after a successful campaign by backup Nebraska QB Mark Mauer, and Oklahoma was never able to recover. Nebraska finished with an unbeaten conference slate and headed to Miami as conference champions.

ClemsonEdit

#4 Nebraska vs #1 Clemson [box score]
by Quarter1234 Total
#4 Nebraska 7 0 0 8 15
#1 Clemson 6 6 10 0 22

Nebraska failed to capitalize on the opportunity for a national championship, coming in as #4 to attempt a takedown of the #1 Tigers as both the #2 and #3 teams dropped their own bowl games, but in a hard fought game that showed a near match of squads statisitically, Clemson simply outplayed the Cornhuskers and took advantage of Nebraska mistakes to hold on to their 7 point lead for the final nine minutes to keep their claim on the #1 ranking, departing Miami with the 1981 national title.

RankingsEdit

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 Final
AP 6 7 17 15 NR NR 19 15 12 11 7 5 5 4 11
Coaches 9

AwardsEdit

[4]

Award Name(s)
Outland Trophy Dave Rimington
All-America 1st team Dave Rimington, Jimmy Williams
All-America honorable mention Dan Hurley, Jeff Krejci, Mike Rozier, Jamie Williams, Turner Gill
Big 8 Player of the Year Dave Rimington
Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year Jimmy Williams
Big 8 Offensive Newcomer of the Year Mike Rozier
All-Big 8 1st team Roger Craig, Tony Felici, Turner Gill, Dan Hurley, Jeff Krejci, Ric Lindquist, Dave Rimington, Mike Rozier, Sammy Sims, Jamie Williams, Jimmy Williams
All-Big 8 2nd team Steve Damkroger, Roger Craig, Grant Campbell, Phil Bates, Mike Mandelko, Randy Theiss, Henry Waechter
All-Big 8 honorable mention Phil Bates, Tom Carlstrom, Jeff Merrell

NFL and Pro PlayersEdit

The following Nebraska players who participated in the 1981 season later moved on to the next level and joined a professional or semi-pro team as draftees or free agents.[5]

Name Team
Mark Behning Pittsburgh Steelers
Todd Brown Montreal Concordes
Bret Clark Tampa Bay Bandits
Roger Craig San Francisco 49ers
Irving Fryar New England Patriots
Turner Gill Montreal Concordes
Dan Hurley Boston Breakers
Brad Johnson Boston Breakers
Mike Knox Denver Broncos
Mitch Krenk Chicago Bears
Rodney Lewis New Orleans Saints
Allen Lyday Houston Oilers
Bruce Mathison San Diego Chargers
Jeff Merrell Boston Breakers
Greg Orton Detroit Lions
Dave Rimington Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Rozier Pittsburgh Maulers
Kevin Seibel Chicago Blitz
Ricky Simmons Washington Federals
Jeff Smith Kansas City Chiefs
Anthony Steels Boston Breakers
Dean Steinkuhler Houston Oilers
Mark Traynowicz Buffalo Bills
Henry Waechter Chicago Bears
Jamie Williams St. Louis Cardinals
Jimmy Williams Detroit Lions
Toby Williams New England Patriots

ReferencesEdit

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