Weber Glad Gaffe Didn’t Cost NU Game of the Century

By Randy York

Bruce Weber was a senior offensive guard on Nebraska’s 1971 national championship team, a squad still permanently etched among college football’s elite. More proof comes this week when The Sporting News distributes its latest publication that labels NU’s ’71 team the best college football team in the last 125 years.

While 56 members of that ’71 team waved to another record sellout crowd in NU’s season-opener Saturday, all eyes focused on HuskerVision screens throughout the stadium to watch an inspiring video chronicling what made the ‘71 Huskers so great. While watching several clips from Nebraska’s 35-31 win over Oklahoma in the Game of the Century, Weber couldn’t help but smile and recall a gaffe that could have cost the Huskers perhaps the most historic win in college football history. Listen to him explain what happened in Norman that Thanksgiving Day:

It was our tradition after pre-game warm ups to return to the locker room for last-minute details and huddle down on one knee in a big circle and say a heartfelt prayer. I-Pads, Smart Phones and the like were not part of a coach’s everyday working gear 40 years ago. Instead of computers and I-Pads, our coaches relied on good old-fashioned “clipboards” loaded with five-inch thick paper where diagrams and game plans were written out and read with interest.

“Well, I had no way of knowing Coach (Bob) Devaney was standing directly behind me and above me as I was praying with my teammates. The second part of our sacred tradition after going down on one knee was jumping up and shouting ’Amen!’ at the same time. We were literally less than five minutes from kickoff for “The Game of The Century” when Coach Devaney’s clipboard bounced off the top of my helmet as I ascended to my feet shouting AMEN!!! at the top of my lungs. I thought Coach was going to have the big one as he screamed out WEBBBER!!! I mean, all of Coach Devaney’s plays were spilled all over the floor and floating in the air. I remember getting back down on both knees this time, so I could help Coach pick all up all his paper. All I can say now is thank God we won the game!!”

Send your comment and residence to Randy York at ryork@huskers.com