In my lifetime, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have gone through at least 3 different periods where they had one of the very best football teams in the history of the game.
Often the talk emerges of which college football team was the greatest of all time, and at least three separate Nebraska teams have been in the discussions.
The very first time their team had been considered possibly the best college team of all time was in 1971. In that season, the Huskers won the national championship and played in one of the most famous games of all time featuring the #1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers versus the #2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Of all of the Games of the Century match ups, this one may have been the best.
I wrote about it in this blog last year: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/15-saturdays-the-real-game-of-the-century/
One of that 1971 Nebraska team’s best players was a Jersey City, New Jersey guy named Rich Glover.
He was an undersized Nose Guard that played with extreme heart, determination and fierceness and just so much passion that he couldn’t help but become a fan favorite. I’ve always admired the kind of guy that was supposed to be too small, or too slow, or too whatever other handicaps he might have stacked against him and still goes on to greatness in spite of his many flaws. A classic example would be Teddy Bruschi from the Arizona Wildcats and then the New England Patriots.
Bruschi was the leader of one of my all time favorite defenses, the Arizona Wildcats Desert Swarm of the mid 1990’s. Bruschi was smaller than the prototyped NFL player and he was slower, but he brought everything he had on every play. He even suffered a stroke and came back and played in the NFL. He is one of my all time heroes of the game.
Rich Glover from Snyder High School in Jersey City, New Jersey was a similar type guy. In college, Glover was 6-1, 235 and he never got much bigger. But, in spite of the lack of ideal size, Glover was a terror for any Offensive Lineman that he faced.
After his senior season in 1972, Glover won the Outland and Lombardi Trophies for the nation’s best Lineman. He was so well thought of nationally that he finished 3rd in the Heisman voting in 1972. He was a 3 year starter for the Cornhuskers and a difference maker and one of the game’s all time greats.
In 1971, which was Glover’s junior season, the top ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers traveled to Norman, Oklahoma to face the second ranked Oklahoma Sooners in a game that was hyped as the Game of the Century. It was the classic number one versus number two.
This game truly lived up to the hype.
Supposedly, he had 22 total tackles in the game, which was a 35-31 win for the Huskers in a nail biter.
In this game, All American Nose Tackle Rich Glover was matched up against All American Oklahoma Center Tom Brahaney. If you are into watching the battles in the trenches as I am, this was one of the most fun ones I can remember. With Glover making 22 tackles, one would assume that Glover whipped Brahaney badly.
But, strangely, that was not totally the case. Brahaney won more than his share of battles against Glover. He would drive Glover off of the ball and Glover would eventually recover and get back in on the tackle.
With Oklahoma running it’s record breaking running offense, they would run the ball constantly directly at Middle Guard Rich Glover time and time again. This version of the Wishbone Offense used by the Oklahoma Sooners broke every national rushing record in existence and averaged 472 yards rushing per game. Nebraska, on the other hand, had the top defense in the country allowing 171 yards per game. Something had to give here.
The Huskers, led by Glover, held the Sooners to 279 yards on the ground, but they passed for 188 giving them 467 total yards. An Offense that good was somewhat slowed, but found other ways to move the ball.
Sometimes, Glover just blew up the play completely and behind the line of scrimmage.
Brahaney played 9 seasons in the NFL so he was not a bum and again he was a first team all American.
Glover finished 1971 with 92 tackles with 13 for loss.
In 1972 Glover made 100 tackles with 9 tackles for loss in winning both major awards for Defensive Linemen.
Rich Glover, the undersized Defensive Lineman, was a 3rd round pick by the New York Football Giants in the 1973 NFL Draft, but he was only there one year before moving to the Shreveport Steamers of the World Football League. From there, he moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles and played there one season before having to toss in the towel due to injuries.
Glover was a college Hall of Fame inductee in 1995 and a member of Nebraska all century team.
Former Nebraska head coach Bob Devaney called Glover the greatest defensive player he ever saw. I would have to rate him pretty high on my list, too.
Glover was smaller, but he had another level of quickness. Often, in those years an offensive lineman was used to going up against a slightly bigger and much slower defensive tackle. Glover would just blow them away with his quickness, speed, agility and aggressiveness.
After he gave up football, Glover got into coaching and eventually became an assistant coach at New Mexico State. Now he is the head coach in New Jersey.