The drubbing was South Dakota State’s only loss in a 9-1 season that included a conference championship.
Nebraska finished fifth in The Associated Press poll that season, knocking off Oklahoma in the last regular-season game and beating Auburn in the Orange Bowl to go 10-1.
“The press pooh-poohed the whole thing,” Nebraska center Lyle Sittler said. “Some people thought it was a great thing for us to play a team from a neighboring state that wasn’t in the Big Eight.”
The 31,000 fans at Memorial Stadium who paid $4 for a ticket saw Nebraska hold the Jackrabbits to two first downs and 31 total yards (minus-17 rushing and 48 passing). The Huskers led 37-0 at halftime, holding SDSU to minus-22 yards and no first downs to that point.
Ron Meyer, who took over at quarterback after Peterson got hurt, threw a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter against reserve defenders for his team’s only points.
“After the first couple minutes, you had the feeling that it wouldn’t be our day,” Meyer said. “The physical size and skills of Nebraska were too much. They scored every which way you can, and it added up in a hurry.”
Ed Maras, who played defensive end and tight end for the Jackrabbits, said Nebraska outweighed SDSU’s linemen by 40 to 50 pounds a man. Like Peterson, Maras recalled Brown putting big hits on him as he ran pass routes over the middle.
Maras said he also can still hear coach Ralph Ginn’s pre-game pep talk.
“Coach told us, ‘They put their pants on the same way you do,’” he said. “But they didn’t.”