|Penn State 6
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.
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
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
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.
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
The win was Tom Osborne's 100th career victory and came against the same school that he
got win number one against in 1973.
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.
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,
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.
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
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
The game's biggest offensive fireworks came on a second quarter 60-yard TD run by Mike
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.