The 30th anniversary of 84-13

2013-10-24T10:13:00Z The 30th anniversary of 84-13By BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON JournalStar.com

Wait, it's really been 30 years since 84-13? Why does time move faster than Mike Rozier did on astroturf?

Better question: Why did Minnesota blitz on every play against Nebraska in 1983?

Ask anyone of a certain age from the state of Nebraska or Minnesota about Huskers-Gophers and the 1983 game is usually the one that comes to mind first.

Oh, sure, we're used to seeing Baylor or Oregon put up 70 on some hapless team now. But back in 1983, you didn't see scores like 84-13 on a regular basis.

That game was revisited within this story I wrote two years ago about the history of the Husker-Gopher football series, which actually has a much more interesting past than you might think.

Recalling that game, Tom Osborne said: "...I remember that particular night, apparently Minnesota decided the best chance they had against us was to blitz. So they'd send their linebackers on blitzes a lot. Sometimes they'd guess right and we'd have no gain. But if they blitzed the wrong way, we'd obviously have a huge play."

I know there are some in Minnesota who still believe Nebraska ran up the score that night.

In fact, it was reported that one legendary Minnesota sports columnist stood up in the press box after a Rozier 71-yard touchdown in the third quarter and announced that he hoped the running back "would break his leg."

Of course, it's hard to have your leg broken when no one is there to tackle you.

It was also hard for Nebraska to not score 84 that night considering it could only take 60 players on its travel roster. The Huskers played 50 of them in the first half, and all had played by the end of the third quarter.

Rozier had only 15 carries all game. Third-string quarterback Craig Sundberg ran it more than Turner Gill. Consider Nebraska already had 428 total yards and 292 rushing yards by halftime.

So it honestly didn't matter who was playing for Nebraska. Against that gambling defense, the Huskers piled up 790 yards by game's end and averaged 11 yards per play.

Dave Mona, a Minnesota grad and longtime media voice in the area, was at the game. He remembers one play that didn't work for Nebraska as much as anything.

"There was a long pass down the sideline in front of me," Mona said in that story two years ago. "And a Gopher defensive back dove at the last moment, got a hand on the ball, knocked it out of bounds, then rolled on top of Irving Fryar. And our D-back stupidly straddles Fryar and points his finger at him to taunt him.

"And I'll never forget, Fryar puts his arm around the guy, points to the scoreboard, which is about 55-0 or something. I thought it was one of the greatest putdowns I ever saw."

If you want to see how bad that Minnesota team was, click on this video link. Pay particular attention to the play at the 30-second mark, when the Gophers don't even bother to cover Fryar on one lone touchdown.

Here's the thing: Minnesota actually leads the football series against Nebraska 29-22-2.

But the Huskers are gaining quickly. They've won the last 16 in a row. They've won the last 12 by at least 24 points.

Almost all those games have been forgettable. Yet that one at the Metrodome 30 years ago maintains space in the memory bank.

As for why the Gophers blitzed all night?

Sometimes, even when given three decades to ponder a question, you can't come up with an answer.

Reach Brian Christopherson at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. Follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

activate-button-3 FULL ACCESS

Contributors

Steven M. Sipple

Steven M. Sipple

Steven is the Husker sports columnist for the Lincoln Journal Star.

Brian Christopherson

Brian Christopherson

Brian is the Husker football beat writer for the Lincoln Journal Star.

Brian Rosenthal

Brian Rosenthal

Brian Rosenthal is the Husker men's basketball beat reporter for the Lincoln Journal star.

Brent C. Wagner

Brent C. Wagner

Brent is the Husker volleyball and women's basketball beat reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star.