Ex-Husker Joe Blahak, who threw key block for Rodgers, dies

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Former Nebraska defensive back Joe Blahak (Blah-ha), a member of the Cornhuskers' national championship teams in 1970-71, has died.

Roper & Sons Funeral Home in Lincoln confirmed Blahak's death Monday. He was 65.

The native of Columbus, Nebraska, was best known for throwing a key block to clear the way for Johnny Rodgers' 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 1971 ''Game of the Century'' against Oklahoma. Some observers believe Blahak's block actually was a clip, but no penalty was called and the Huskers won 35-31.

Blahak was named All-Big Eight in 1971-72 and selected by Houston in the eighth round of the 1973 NFL draft. He played for four teams over five seasons and later worked in the insurance business in Lincoln.

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