Miami, Florida (January 1, 1966) -The third ranked
Nebraska Cornhuskers and the fourth ranked Alabama
Crimson Tide both entered their Orange Bowl matchup
with longshot aspirations at the National
Championship.Things looked up by game time as number
one ranked Michigan State was upset by UCLA in the
Rose Bowl and number two ranked Arkansas fell victim
to LSU in the Cotton Bowl.The scene was set for the
winner of the Orange Bowl to claim the national crown.
The Orange Bowl featured two explosive offensive teams
with different approaches to their attack. Bear Bryant's
Crimson Tide Tide used the accurate throwing arm of
quarterback Steve Sloan to rebound from an early season
loss to Georgia and a tie with Tennessee,while Bob
Devaney's Cornhuskers hit the ground running averaging
290 rushing yards per game and 32.1 points per game.
Alabama took the first lead five and a half minutes
into the game. Sloan guided the Tide on a 61 yard
drive to score on a 21 yard pass play to Ray Perkins.
Perkins grabbed the scoring pass at the 15 and wiggled
away from a pair of defenders to skip into the end zone.
The Huskers rallied back early in the second to tie the
score. The first Husker tally came on a 33 yard pass from
quarterback Bob Churchich to end Tony Jeter. Alabama then
opened up an offensive onslaught to bury the Huskers by
Alabama scored two touchdowns and a field goal in the
second period to post a 24-7 lead by halftime. The first
score followed a 39 yard Sloan to Perkins pass that took
the ball down to the NU 13. Leslie Kelley took the ball
over from 4 yards out for the touchdown. The second score
followed a 93 yard Tide drive, capped by an 11 yard pass
from Sloan to Perkins. A David Ray field goal later in
the period sent the teams to the locker rooms with the
Tide sporting a 17 point lead.
Nebraska pulled back into the game early in the third
period on a 49 yard touchdown pass from Churchich to Ben
Gregory, but the PAT was missed. The Tide lengthened
their lead with a 1 yard touchdown run by Steve Bowman
and a two point conversion to make the score 32-13 after
Nebraska wasn't ready to give up in the fourth period.
Churchich scored his first TD of the day on a 1 yard
plunge.Alabama kept the comeback in check later in the
period by turning in another Bowman touchdown run,this
time from three yards out.Nebraska added a late 14 yard
touchdown pass from Churchich to Tony Jeter but it wouldn't
be enough as the Crimson Tide claimed the National
Championship with a 39-28 Orange Bowl win.
Sloans 20 for 29 passing performance broke the Orange
Bowl pass completion record, set just one year prior by
fellow Tide quarterback Joe Namath.Sloan's 276 yards in
the air also set a new Orange Bowl standard.Perkins
finished his day with 10 completions for 159 yards.
Nebraska was held to 232 yards rushing, almost 60 yards
below their average, and were victimized by four fumbles
and an intercepted pass.
The Huskers finished the season 10-1 and ranked number
five in the nation by the Associated Press.