1983 Orange Bowl
|1983 Orange Bowl|
|Date||January 1, 1983|
|Favorite||Nebraska by 10½ points |
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Don Criqui and John Brodie|
The game suffered from poor attendance (54,407) due to riots in the Miami area, as well as the game having no impact on the national championship, since #2 Penn State was playing #1 Georgia at the same time in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
LSU began the season 7–0–1, notching two huge road victories in Southeastern Conference play, ousting #5 Florida 24–13 in October and #4 Alabama in November. The 20–10 triumph at Birmingham's Legion Field was the Tigers' first over the Crimson Tide since 1970 and lifted LSU to No. 6 in the national polls.
One week after toppling Alabama, any faint national championship hopes LSU harbored were blown away with a stunning 27-24 loss to Mississippi State in Starkville. The Tigers recovered the next week to rout Florida State 55–21 in Baton Rouge to earn an Orange Bowl berth, but they inexplicably dropped a 31–28 decision to Tulane, a 28-point underdog, at home in the regular season finale. It was the Green Wave's first victory at Tiger Stadium since 1948, and is Tulane's last triumph in the series, which has not been played on a yearly basis since 1994. Despite the November swoon, LSU came into the bowl game ranked thirteenth in the AP and UPI polls.
Nebraska was 11–1 and ranked third in both polls, but they had been denied a chance to play for the national championship due to a controversial 27–24 loss at Penn State early in the season.
Nebraska forced a three and out, and then scored easily on their first possession, capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by fullback Mark Schellen to take a 7–0 lead just four minutes into the game, and the heavily favored Huskers looked as if they would put the Tigers away early. But then a series of miscues turned the game on its head.
Toby Williams intercepted a Tiger pass at the Husker 7, to thwart a promising LSU drive. But the Huskers fumbled the ball right back to LSU on the very next play from scrimmage, and Dalton Hilliard scored from the 1 to tie the game at 7.
Nebraska drove to the LSU 15 before fumbling again, then inexplicably fumbled a third time after forcing LSU to punt. Turner Gill then threw an interception. The Tigers took advantage with a second Hilliard 1-yard touchdown run, and Nebraska found itself trailing 14–7 at halftime after committing four turnovers on four consecutive series.
Halftime provided no relief for the mistake-prone Husker offense, with a missed field goal on the opening drive of the second half, followed by yet another fumble. LSU converted the latest Husker error into a 28-yard Juan Bentanzos field goal, which gave them a 17–7 lead.
On the very next series, Nebraska held on to the football and went on a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive, capped by an 11-yard swing pass from Turner Gill to Mike Rozier which pulled the Huskers within three at 17–14.
Gill then finished off a 7-play, 47-yard drive with a QB sneak early in the fourth to put the Huskers ahead 21–17. Another miscue, this time a dropped pass on a fake field goal, prevented the Huskers from extending their lead. LSU got a 49-yard field goal from Bentanzos late following an interception (Nebraska's sixth turnover of the night), but they could not get the ball back again, and the Cornhuskers held on to win 21–20.
- Nebraska - Mark Schellen 5 run (Kevin Seibel kick)
- LSU – Dalton Hilliard 1 run (Juan Betanzos kick)
- LSU – Hilliard 1 run (Betanzos kick)
- Nebraska - Gill 1 run (Seibel kick)
- LSU – Field goal, Betanzos 49
Statistics LSU Nebraska First Downs 12 22 Rushes–yards 31–38 58–219 Passing yards 173 184 Passes 14–30–2 13–22–2 Total yards 211 403 Punts–average 6–39 1–31 Fumbles–lost 1–0 4–4 Turnovers by 2 6 Penalties-yards 8–57 4–25 Time of possession 25:28 34:32