This story appeared in the Sept. 13, 1970, editions of the Lincoln Journal and Star.
Several questions were answered, but as many were not as Nebraska rolled past Wake Forest, 36-12, in its 1970 football opener Saturday.
Among the positive answers a Memorial Stadium throng of 66,100 received were that Joe Orduna has two good knees, that rookie Johnny Rodgers is as exciting as he's been advertised, that Jerry Tagge is better at three-quarter speed than most quarterbacks at their best and that the Cornhusker defense has the potential to be a typically tough Nebraska unit.
The "70 at 50" series takes readers on a ride through Nebraska's 1970 national title run. Parker Gabriel and Mike Babcock kick off the podcasts.
Yes, Murtaugh guaranteed before the 1970 season started that the Huskers would win the national championship.
Concerns about quality depth and the ability to stop a potent passing attach such as might be expected next week at Southern Cal were left to speculation.
In rolling to a 29-5 halftime advantage the Cornhuskers clearly established their domination. In the first 30 minutes Nebraska rolled up 308 yards while limiting the Deacons to 57. This was basically the work of the No. 1 units. The reserves didn't fare as well and by a game's end Nebraska had only a 382-222 edge in yardage.
Folks expecting a Cornhusker rout were surprised in the early going as Nebraska mistakes staked the Deacons to a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Nebraska opened on a less than auspicious note when it was charged with a holding penalty on its first play from scrimmage. After an exchange of punts Cornhusker I-back Jeff Kinney fumbled and Wake Forest's Frank Fussell recovered on the Cornhusker 26.
When quarterback Larry Russell connected with flanker Steve Bowden for a 13-yard passing gain the Nebraska defense was faced with a critical situation.
Veterans Dave Walline and Jerry Murtaugh came up with a pair of big defensive plays, however, and the Deacons were forced to settle for a 35-yard field goal.
The Cornhuskers needed just seven plays to gain the upper hand after Rodgers returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards.
The big play came on second and 16 at midfield when Tagge scrambled to his left and unloaded a soft pitch to Guy Ingles when the defense started tightening up. Ingles stepped nimbly down the west sideline, avoiding one defender before being bounced out of bounds at the five.
Orduna, who missed last season with a knee injury, blasted over the left tackle for the touchdown on his first ball-toting assignment.
The Black Shirts gave the offense another quick scoring opportunity when Rich Glover pounced on Ken Garrett's fumble at the Wake Forest 26 just a few seconds later.
By halftime Tagge had connected on 9 of 11 passes for 158 yards and Rodgers had handled the ball five times for a net gain of 119 yards.
Leading Nebraska's well balanced running attack was Kinney, who rambled for 57 yards on 11 carries. Jeff also led in pass receptions, grabbing three for 42 yards.
Tagge was slowed slightly by his leg injury, but didn't show it on his 13-yard touchdown scamper which capped the Cornhuskers' long march early in the second quarter.