Saturday, September 26, 2009


NU streak witnessed from start

Memorial Stadium, home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Memorial Stadium, home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.


When I read that Nebraska University would celebrate its 300th straight football sellout tonight, I was hardly surprised.

But I was a bit taken aback when I realized I had been in NU’s Memorial Stadium for the start of that streak. The date was Nov. 3, 1962, and the opponent was Missouri.

I was an MU senior that year and had traveled to Lincoln, Neb., with my roommate, who was the football beat writer for the student newspaper.

For some reason, I saved the program from that game. After rummaging around in a couple of closets, I found it, smiling when I saw on the front cover that I had plunked down a whole 25 cents for it.

When I came to the roster pages and went over the names, I was struck by how many of the participants had chosen to remain in football as coaches, scouts and administrators.

Would you believe, for instance, that two men who coached back-to-back at Missouri played in that game?

Warren Powers, a senior defensive back for the Cornhuskers, was MU’s head coach from 1978-84, and Powers’ successor was Woody Widenhofer, who was a sophomore linebacker for the Tigers’ that season.

Perhaps you read last summer about Jim Johnson, the highly regarded defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles who died after a bout with cancer.

Johnson was known for his attacking defenses that targeted quarterbacks from every angle, a reputation I always found ironic because Johnson was Mizzou’s quarterback that season, the man who guided the Tigers to a 16-7 victory on that historic day.

Missouri’s two halfbacks were Johnny Roland and Bill Tobin. Roland, who played eight seasons in the NFL, retired in 2005 after nearly 30 years as a college and pro coach. Tobin was once general manager of both the Bears and the Colts and gained instant fame with his “Who the hell is Mel Kiper Jr.?” utterance.

Today Tobin is listed as a scouting consultant for the Bengals. His son Duke is Cincinnati’s director of player personnel.

A couple of other father-son angles evolved from the participants on that early November day almost 47 years ago.

Nebraska tackle Monte Kiffin, who spent many years as an NFL aide for several teams, is now on the staff of his son Lane, who took over at Tennessee University this season.

Also, Kent McCloughan, one of the Huskers’ halfbacks, is now in his 43rd season as a scout with the Oakland Raiders. McCloughan’s son Scot is general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.

Several of those MU and NU collegians went on to play professionally, but only one is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bob Brown, a 6-4, 280-pound Nebraska tackle — a huge player for that era — was named to the pro shrine in 2004 after playing in 10 pro bowls and earning All-NFL honors seven times.

Arguably, the second-best player on the field that day was Andy Russell, a Missouri linebacker who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1963-76. Russell, Jack Ham and Jack Lambert formed what is widely acknowledged to be the NFL’s greatest linebacking unit.

Thanks for reminiscing with me.


Eliott Reeder 10 years, 4 months ago

Ummm... think you might get a negative comment or two on this one Chuck. Personally, I found it a good read.

suttonku 10 years, 4 months ago

I will be at the 300th sellout saturday night...should be interesting...Its been rainy here in Lincoln and I really hope it doesnt rain on their parade...Love or hate Nebraska, this is an amazing fete...Kinda funny, the Louisiana Lafayette coach said his team would not be rattled by all the noise and hoopla...Umm with all do respect, this stadium is a little different than the stadium in Manhattan...Its going to be ridiculously loud and its gonna be crazy...I think LL is going to be in for a surprise...Once again I will be analyzing NUs play...Lets see how they bounce back from a tough loss at VT...I really want to see how Lee bounces back after a terrible game last week...If Lee struggles this week and they lose in a couple weeks at Mizzou, look for Cody Green to get some snaps at QB...Green is truly an amazing talent. Future is bright for NU at QB.

OutlawJHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

I could give a crap less about what happened to Nebraska or Missouri players/coaches/family from the 1962 game.

Chuck, I think you e-mailed this article to the wrong newspaper, try sending it to the Lincoln Journal Star or better yet and since you are such a fine loyal alum to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Did you have your "Antler" dress on when you wrote this? Note to self, you are still in Lawrence writing for the LJW and its rabid KU fanbase.

My criticism of this worthless journalism does not mean that still do not enjoy your "Notes & Quotes".

mikeowens 10 years, 4 months ago

Some of you need to grow up. If you weren't armed with the knowledge that Woodling was a Tiger, you'd never be able to tell from what he writes. He's a true professional.

Kent Wells 10 years, 4 months ago

Jesus folks. Just click that x in the upper right hand corner and move on.

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