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    1983 Huskers

    12-1 , AP #2, UPI #2

    The 1983 University of Nebraska Cornhuskers had one of the most explosive football teams of all time.With an offense that included Heisman trouphy winner Mike Rozier,and Heisman canidates Turner Gill and Irving Fryer they lit up the scoreboards with almost unbelievable numbers all season including 84 points against Minnesota, 63 vs Syracuse,69 vs Colorado,72 vs Iowa St.,67 vs Kansas and so on.They lost the National Championship by one point against Miami in the Orange Bowl when Osborne decided to go for a 2 point conversion and a win instead of kicking a field goal for a tie and a for sure National Championship after a final scoring drive late in the fourth Quarter.

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    Mike Rozier
    Penn State 6
    Nebraska 44

    East Rutherford, New Jersey (August 29,1983) -It was sweet revenge for the Nebraska Cornhuskers as they avenged their only loss of the 1982 season with a Kickoff Classic rematch with Penn State.
    It was the inaugural Kickoff Classic game meeting number one ranked Nebraska and number four ranked Penn State, but it was Nebraska putting on the classic performance.
    Nebraska scored on two of their first three possessions to grab a 14-0 first quarter lead and never looked back. The Huskers added a second quarter TD pass from Nate Mason to Todd Frain and even had the defense get in on the action in the third quarter when Mike Knox returned an interception 27 yards for a TD. Penn State was able to avoid a shut out with just 20 seconds left in the game to make the final score 44-6. It was PSU coach Joe Paterno's worst loss in his 18 year tenure.
    Mike Rozier led all rushers with 71 yards on 16 carries while QB Turner Gill had a fabulous day hitting 11 of 14 passes for 158 yards.

    Wyoming 20
    Nebraska 56

    Lincoln, Nebraska (September 10,1983) -Mike Rozier became Nebraska's all-time career rushing leader as the Huskers trounced an out manned Wyoming Cowboy team 56-20.
    Rozier rambled for 191 yards and four touchdowns surpassing I.M. Hipp's record of 2,814 yards.
    Nebraska racked up six first half touchdowns while Wyoming managed a field goal as time expired in the half to make the score at the break 42-3. The Husker reserves played most of the second half as the Huskers continued their high powered assault
    Turner Gill also had a record breaking afternoon. His 13 passes without an interception upped his two year streak of errorless passing to 99, eclipsing Jerry Tagge's 14 year old record.

    Nebraska 84
    Minnesota 13

    Minneapolis, Minnesota (September 17,1983) -Nebraska scored almost at will against Minnesota in recording an 84-13 win over the Gophers. NU rolled up its biggest score ever against an NCAA Division 1-AA team and its most overall since a 100-0 win over Nebraska Wesleyan in 1917.
    The entire 60 man travel squad had played before the end of the third quarter.
    Irving Fryar broke Johnny Rodgers' Nebraska wingback record for reception yards with 138 on just two catches (70 and 80 yard TD catches).
    Turner Gill had his first ever 100 yard rushing day, doing so on just four attempts. Mike Rozier added 196 yards on the ground including three touchdowns on just 15 carries.

    UCLA 10
    Nebraska 42

    Lincoln, Nebraska (September 24,1983) -Top ranked Nebraska received its biggest scare of the young season when winless UCLA took advantage of two Husker fumbles to put NU behind for the first time in 1983, 10-0 early in the second quarter.
    The Huskers scored on their next two possessions, though to take a 14-10 halftime lead. The, when Husker linebacker Mike Knox blitzed to sack Bruin quarterback Rick Neuheisel early in the second half, Neuheisel fumbled, Nebraska recovered at the UCLA 32, and the Huskers went in to score in seven plays and went on to win, 42-10.
    Nebraska's three Heisman Trophy candidates each had excellent days as I-Back Mike Rozier rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns, quarterback Turner Gill completed 8 of 10 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, and wingback Irving Fryar caught six passes for 100 yards.
    The win was Tom Osborne's 100th career victory and came against the same school that he got win number one against in 1973.

    Syracuse 7
    Nebraska 63

    Lincoln, Nebraska (October 1, 1983) -Nebraska scored on nine of its first 11 possessions and rolled to a 63-7 non-conference win over Syracuse.
    The Huskers were again led by All-American I-Back Mike Rozier, who rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns on just two carries against the Orangemen.
    About the only negative note for the Huskers came with 1:42 left in the first half when Syracuse safety Ron Hobby intercepted a Turner Gill pass, ending Gill's Nebraska record of 125 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to the 1982 Colorado game. Gill's mark was just 17 short of the Big Eight record.

    Nebraska 14
    Oklahoma State 10

    Stillwater. Oklahoma (October 8,1983) -Nebraska got a big wake up call in Stillwater when opened their conference competition against number 20 ranked Oklahoma State. The Big Eight's first battle of unbeaten teams in eight years lived up to its billing as the outcome was in doubt until the final play.
    OSU scored first on a 26 yard field goal by Larry Roach 5:28 into the second period, but the Huskers answered with a 62 yard TD pass from Turner Gill to Irving Fryar on the second play after the ensuing kickoff.
    Late in the half, though, the Cowboys drove 81 yards to score on a 15 yard pass from Ike Johnson to Jamie Harris and Nebraska was down at halftime for the first time in 1983, 10-7.
    The Huskers came back with a 32 yard TD pass from Gill to tight end Todd Frain, set up by a 42 yard Fryar run, to take a 14-10 lead early in the third period. Nebraska then held on, watching three drives end on turnovers inside the Cowboys 20. In all the Huskers fumbled five times, losing four, and threw an interception, but were saved by three interceptions of their own - the last by safety Bret Clark off Jackson in the Nebraska end zone on the final play of the game.

    Nebraska 34
    Missouri 13

    Columbia, Missouri (October 15, 1983) -For the second straight week, top ranked Nebraska struggled through the first half against a fired-up Big Eight foe, and the Huskers went into the fourth quarter at Missouri leading by just 20-13, but surged to a 34-13 win before the fifth largest crowd in Faurot Field history (72,348) and a national television audience.
    The Huskers, who trailed twice in the first half, got 159 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from All-America I-Back Mike Rozier, 14 of 18 passing for 151 yards and two TD's from quarterback Turner Gill, and seven receptions and two TD's from wingback Irving Fryar - who sat out the second quarter with the flu, but was named player-of-the-game by ABC-Chevrolet.
    The game's biggest offensive fireworks came on a second quarter 60-yard TD run by Mike Rozier.
    However Nebraska needed a big defensive stand and a big Missouri fumble in the second half to pull out the win.
    On their first second-half possession, the Tigers drove to the Nebraska 10, but came up short on fourth and inches. On its next possession, Missouri drove to a first and goal at the Husker one, but quarterback Marlon Adler fumbled the snap on first down. Mike Keeler recovered for Nebraska, and the Huskers drove 97 yards to take a 27-13 lead on a 4-yard pass from Gill to Fryar early in the fourth quarter. NU then added a 9-yard TD run by Rozier on its next possession to ice the game.

    Colorado 19
    Nebraska 69

    Lincoln, Nebraska (October 22, 1983) -Top ranked Nebraska was stymied by a well conceived Colorado game plan for 30 minutes, then exploded for a Big Eight record 48 pints in the third quarter to increase a tenuous 14-12 halftime lead into a 62-19 margin after three periods before winning 69-19, before 76,268 Homecoming fans.
    In the Huskers record setting third quarter (they missed the NCAA one-quarter scoring mark by one point) their seven drives averaged 2.6 plays, 37 yards and 36 seconds. The first three scores came within 2:24 seconds of the second half kickoff.
    Mike Rozier started the third quarter off with a 54 yard TD run just seconds into the half. Just over a minute later Rozier added another score on a 13 yard run. It took another 31 seconds for Turner Gill to score on a 17 yard run of his own. Nebraska had to wait a full three more minutes before Irving Fryar scored on a 34 yard pass from Gill. Rozier added an 18 yard TD run nine minutes into the quarter. Jeff Smith's 12 yard TD run came another 43 seconds after that, and Shane Swanson caught a 1 yard TD pass from Nate Mason to finish up the record shattering quarter.
    On the day Mike Rozier tallied 155 yards on 19 carries and four touchdowns. The four scores gave him 32 career rushing TD's to set a school record. Rozier totaled 271 all-purpose yards, 18 short of the Nebraska single game record.

    Nebraska 51
    Kansas State 25

    Manhattan, Kansas (October 29, 1983) -Nebraska gave up a safety on the opening kickoff when Mike Rozier stepped back into the end zone to down the ball. It meant the Huskers fell behind for the fourth straight week, but recovered to roll up a 38-5 halftime lead over Kansas State. But the Wildcats refused to make the game an easy for the number one ranked Huskers.
    Nebraska's defense helped the first half cause out as sophomore right tackle back-up Jim Skow intercepted a Stan Weber pass and returned it 31 yards for the Td and the 38-5 halftime margin.
    After a scoreless third quarter (scoreless only because Kansas State fumbled at the Nebraska three on one drive), the Wildcats scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, recovered an onside kick and scored in three plays, recovered another Nebraska fumble and drove 63 yards in nine plays. With 8:57 still remaining, Kansas State was back in the game 38-25, but Nebraska responded with two quick drives capped by Turner Gill touchdown runs and iced the game 51-25.
    I-Back Mike Rozier had his first 200-plus yard game of the season(227) and three touchdowns on 23 carries, and moved past Oklahoma's Steve Owens and Joe Washington into second place on the Big Eight career rushing chart with 4,078 Yards. He trailed only Oklahoma State's Terry Miller at 4,582.

    Iowa State 29
    Nebraska 72

    Lincoln, Nebraska (November 5,1983) -I-Back Mike Rozier had another outstanding game, rushing 26 times for 212 yards and four touchdowns as the Huskers crushed the Cyclones 72-29. The four TD's gave Rozier 24 for the season breaking the Big Eight record of 23 by Oklahoma's Steve Owens, and 47 in his career breaking Johnny Rodgers' career marks of 45 touchdowns and 270 points.
    The Cyclone's David Archer had one of the finest passing days ever against Nebraska, completing 26 of 46 with no interceptions for 346 yards and one touchdown. But the Huskers' Turner Gill was also outstanding completing 13 of 24 with no interceptions for 241 yards and three touchdowns. Wingback Irving Fryar caught five passes for 114 yards and a TD.
    The 72 points were the most ever scored by Nebraska against a Big Eight opponent and the most ever scored by one team in Memorial Stadium, and the 101 points racked up by both squads were the most-ever in Memorial Stadium.

    Kansas 13
    Nebraska 67

    Lincoln, Nebraska (November 12, 1983) -Playing in his final home game, Mike Rozier ripped Kansas for a school record 285 yards and four touchdowns as the Huskers romped to a 67-13 win over the Jayhawks. The effort earned Rozier a record-tying fourth Big Eight offensive player-of-the-week award for 1983, upped his season rushing touchdown total to 28 to break the NCAA record of 26 set by Penn State's Lydell Mitchell in 1971, set Nebraska and Big Eight single season rushing yards records with 1,943, and broke Johnny Rodgers' 1972 season all-purpose yards record of 2,011 with 2,219.
    At halftime Rozier had 230 yards and all of his TD's (on runs of 49, 11,3, and 17) as the Huskers surged to a 41-0 mid-point lead.
    The Huskers exploded several times in the second half including a third quarter 63 yard punt return for TD by Jeff Smith, a 21 yard punt return for touchdown by Dan Casterline, and a 78 yard touchdown run by Paul Miles.

    Nebraska 28
    Oklahoma 21

    Norman, Oklahoma (November 26, 1983) -It was only the second time in the last thirteen years that the annual Nebraska- Oklahoma matchup didn't pair up two ranked teams (Oklahoma was unranked in 1981),but it still lived up to its reputation as a classic battle of two Big Eight powerhouses, going down to the last minute before it was decided.
    Trailing 14-7 in the second quarter, Nebraska drove 73 yards in five plays, the big one a 40-yard run by quarterback Turner Gill to the OU 18, and tied the score at halftime on a 3-yard run by Mike Rozier with 42 seconds left. Oklahoma's Spencer Tillman logged an 18 yard third quarter TD run to put the Sooners up 21-14, but Nebraska came back on their next possession driving 65 yards in three plays (the first a 62-yard Rozier run to the OU 3) and scored on a Turner Gill 1 yard run to tie the game again. As the quarter wound down, Nebraska scored again when Mark Schellen went over from 17 yards out giving the Huskers a 28-21 lead going into the fourth quarter.
    It was then time for the defense to take over. Neither team was able to score as the game clock ticked down. Oklahoma had moved to second-and-one at the Nebraska one yard line in the final minute, but a motion penalty moved the Sooners back to the six. Sooner quarterback Danny Bradley was then sacked for a 3-yard loss by Bill Weber to set up a third-and-four situation. Husker cornerback Neil Harris knocked away a Danny Bradley pass on third down, then with 32 seconds left in the game a Danny Bradley pass intended for Buster Rhymes was knocked away, again by Neil Harris, to preserve the Husker win.
    Mike Rozier recorded 205 yards rushing giving him the all-time Big Eight career rushing yardage leader with 4,780 and became only the second player in NCAA history to top 2,000 yards in a season with 2,148.


    Miami - Fla. 31
    Nebraska 30

     Miami, Florida (January 2, 1984) -One game. One Play. The distance of the outstretched fingertips of a Miami defender. That alone separated the 1983 Nebraska Cornhuskers from a perfect season, a National Championship and possibly even the title of one of the greatest teams of all time.
    Nebraska entered the Orange Bowl matchup as the prohibitive favorite over number four ranked Miami. But almost from the beginning Miami was able to control the game
     Freshman Miami quarterback Bernie Kosar led the Hurricanes to the first score of the game halfway through the first period when he connected with Glenn Dennison on a two yard strike. Later in the quarter the same two connected on a 22 yard touchdown pass. Throw in a 45 yard field goal by Jeff Davis and the upstart Hurricanes were in command early with a 17-0 first quarter lead.
     Nebraska turned to some trickery to finally get on the board. With nine minutes left in the second and the ball on the Miami 19 yard line Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill took a snap and intentionally dropped the ball on the ground. Guard Dean Steinkuhler swept up the ball and took off around the left side for a 19 yard touchdown. Later in the quarter Gill took the ball over for a 1 yard touchdown run and the Huskers went into halftime trailing 17-14.
     On their first drive of the second half Nebraska was able to tie the score 17-17 on a 34 yard Scott Livingston field goal. But Miami responded with a strong attack. Within a five minute span Miami scored two more touchdowns to regain the lead 31-17.
    On the next Husker drive Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier left the game with a badly bruised ankle, leaving Nebraska looking for a hero.
     Nebraska found their hero in Jeff Smith. Smith took the spotlight in the fourth quarter when he rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns. The key touchdown came on a 24 yard run with only :24 seconds left in the game making the score Miami 31- Nebraska 30.
     Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said later he never debated the decision he made next. A one point PAT and a tie game would have given Nebraska the National Championship, but Osborne went for the win with a two point conversion attempt.
     Turner Gill took the snap from center and rolled out five steps to his right. He fired the ball towards Jeff Smith just inside the goal line. Hurricane defender Kenny Calhoun stretched out his arm and tipped the ball away and the Hurricanes claimed their first National Championship.

    More 1983 Orange Bowl coverage.

    Mike Rozier was the 1983
    Heisman Trophy winner.
    Only the second in Nebraska history.
    Heisman winners -more info here