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Rick Telander
September 21, 1987
UCLA ambushed Nebraska's ground game but then was headed off with the pass
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September 21, 1987

A High Time For The Huskers

UCLA ambushed Nebraska's ground game but then was headed off with the pass

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Neil Smith, the 6'5", 260-pound defensive tackle who's the 1987 lifter of the year for the Huskers, says the defense had something to prove after reading that Richards claimed Nebraska's defensive line was slow. Said Smith, who runs a 4.63 40, "That got us going."

Richards himself is a load not often seen on a finesse team like UCLA's. On the first of Green's three touchdown runs, he pulled and flattened free safety Mark Blazek at the goal line. Fortunately for Nebraska, the Bruin runners generally were stopped before Richards could lumber upfield.

In the fourth quarter UCLA made a desperate comeback attempt, with Green scoring twice on short runs and adding two two-point conversions. It was too little, too late; and for Green, who gained only 46 yards on 19 carries while scoring 22 points, it was hard to tell if he's the stuff of which Heisman Trophy winners are made. "He's good," said Blazek, "but there are a lot of good backs out there."

Nebraska lost four fumbles and rushed for only 117 yards in 47 attempts, which made Osborne furious—in his quiet way. "That's abysmal, that's not even football," he said. "But I don't want to be a spoilsport." He should not be too upset, because his Huskers should now roll comfortably along until Nov. 21, the date of the annual range war against Oklahoma. "We don't like to look forward, but that might be it," says Fryar, speaking of the national championship.

UCLA's future is now one of development, as Aikman and Green try to get their acts together. The Bruins may have lost to Nebraska, but they did a lot better than in 1983, when they went on to win the Rose Bowl, and 1984, when they beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

For fullback Heibel, there was the rowdy dancing crowd at Chesterfield's to deal with on Saturday night. As he stood onstage, backed by a screaming fuzz guitar and ear-shattering drums, singing I'm Henry the VIII, I Am, Heibel looked like a man at peace with himself and the football world. "You ought to stick around after us and check out Charlie Burton and the Hiccups," he told a visitor. "They're great."

But Brain Hammer itself isn't so bad.

"Heibel does pretty good," said Dave Dill, a Nebraska alumnus who came in from Scottsbluff to see the game and party. "And who's going to tell him he isn't?"

The Sooners maybe?

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