January 3, 1967
Tide Deserves No. 1 Spot, Says Devaney
Cornhuskers Belted, 34-7, By Alabama
By Gregg McBride
Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, La.Ñ"Alabama deserves to be the No. 1 team in the nation," Nebraska Coach Bob Devaney said Monday after the Crimson Tide washed the Huskers out of Tulane Stadium, 34-7.
Coach Devaney spoke in a low voice as he shucked a heavy sweater, a shirt and
a weatherproof sideline suit.
"I had to dress for all sorts of weather, but I can hardly say I was prepared for
Bob confided, attempting to smile, "I believe the record will show I gave Alabama a first place vote."
Alabama Coach Bear Bryant said of the Huskers: "We beat a great football
Nebraska just kept coming back and coming back. They never gave up and
were tougher in the fourth quarter than in the first.
"This is the greatest college football team I've ever seen or been associated
with," Coach Bryant said. "Alabama had stars, and super stars."
Asked if he would like to play Notre Dame in a super bowl game, Bryant replied:
"All I'm interested in now is going home and getting out of these wet clothes,
but I would have liked to play anybody today."
What hurt Nebraska most?
"Everything," Bob said, failing to come up with a quip.
The Nebraska coach did not seem sad or disappointed.
Devaney told newsmen he had "prayed for rain, but we should have prayed
for a driving rain."
Bomb Fired Early
It rained most of the morning but stopped shortly before the kickoff.
Devaney possibly was still in state of shock from the long bomb Alabama exploded to gain position for its first touchdown.
This was a pass to one of the great ends in Sugar Bowl historyÑRay Perkins,
who outshined the Miller-Digby Memorial Trophy Winner Ken Stabler, the Tide's
Devaney tagged Perkins the game's greatest player and one of the best he has seen.
The Cornhuskers, according to Devaney, had set up a special defense to corral Perkins.
"It didn't work," Bob explained. "We tried everything, Double-teamed him, but that didn't work.
"The player (Kaye Carstens) who let him catch the long one at the start of the game played him correctly. Perkins simply was too fast and too clever."
Cross Play Damaging
It was the "cross play," in which the Tide sent Perkins down or across and had Dennis Homan and at least one other potential receiver open, that cooked the Husker goose.
"You couldn't place all your attention on Perkins because Homan was another receiver almost as dangerous," Devaney said.
"Homan can catch the ball (he grabbed five for 36 yards) but Perkins can catch (seven) and also run (178 yards).
"We did well to hold him to one touchdown."
Why didn't Nebraska put greater pressure on alabama passers?
Devaney had an answer for that one: The Huskers simply did not have the man power, speed or agility.
"We tried a four-man rush and hoped we could put sufficient pressure while also containing Stabler, who is a dangerous runner as well as passer," Devaney explained.
"This we hoped would release enough men to cover the secondary while closing the ranks in case of a rush."
The Nebraska rush, Bob said, failed to take care of Stabler or Trimble.
This may have been the understatement or comment on the game, as Alabama
had 24 points before Stabler's uniform was spotted and 34 before Trimble's jersey was soiled.
During the first three quarters Nebraska linemen got to Stabler only twice and
just once dealt punishment.
Got Idea Late
Only in the closing minutes did Nebraska get the idea of smearing the Tide quarterback on every play regardless of whether he was the carrier or running out the fake.
Devaney made no excuses for the defeat. He had no criticism of his players.
"The boys wanted another crack at Alabama, because they wanted to take on
the best," he said.
"They trained and worked harder than most any team I have had.
"We gave everything, but that was not enough."
Devaney praised Bob Churchich for keeping the team calm, under heavy pressure. He noted Barry Alvarez made "a lot of stops and Wayne Meylan played well the second half after a disappointing showing the first two quarters."
Tide Defense Stronger
Nebraska had a new defensive formation and several new tricks on offense.
Alabama couldn't have handled the new stuff better had they planted a scout
in Nebraska practice sessions.
"Alabama was a couple of touchdowns stronger than a year ago and two or
three touchdowns stronger on defense," Devaney insisted as he reviewed the game.
Looking toward next year; Devaney praised the play of Ends Dennis Richnafsky,
a junior, and Tom Penney, a sophomore, and said Dick Davis, another sophomore, for a time was slated to replace Pete Tatman, a North Platte senior, as the starting fullback.
'Bomb a Test'
Tatman got only a few yards on one plunge, then Davis, took over.
The Omaha North grad took a 15-yard pass for the touchdown that saved Nebraska from being shut out.
Coach Bryant said the early long bomb to Perkins was just a test flare.
"We wanted to throw a long one on the first play to Perkins and see-what the Nebraska defense would try. We found out."