William Murray has a lifetime coaching record of 76-26-5. His winning ways followed him from the University of Delaware to Duke in 1951, and in four seasons the Blue Devils have won 27, lost 10 and tied three.
BOB PASCAL, JERRY BARGER, JOHNNY PALMER (see opposite page).
BRYANT ALDRIDGE (27), fb: They call on him for the one necessary yard. Second to Pascal in net yardage with a 5.4-yard average. Has replaced Worth Lutz (17).
BUDDY BASS (34), rhb: Leads pass receivers with nine caught for 147 yards and one TD. Also has thrown for two TDs and is fine tackier with good speed.
BERNIE BLANEY (26), rhb: Small but tough to bring down. Very fast, he excels as an open-field runner. So far hasn't looked too good on defense.
JESSE BIRCHFIELD (75), lg: Pretty good two-way man who knows how to handle his 208 pounds. Played tackle in 1953.
RALPH TORRANCE (11), rg: May be team's best lineman, he is a consistently alert player, hasn't had a bad game in 1954. Good blocker, aggressive on defense.
FRED CAMPBELL (48), It: Varsity wrestler, he isn't as good as he should be and yardage has been made through him. Missed 1952 season with injuries.
DAN COX (77), rt: A sophomore who has developed quickly after a standout freshman year. Doesn't fool easily.
SONNY SORRELL (20), le: Best receiving end with good speed but often used as decoy. Only 178 pounds but still a pretty polished defensive player.
TRACY MOON (35), re: Even smaller (158 pounds) than Sorrell, he is a good receiver but because of his weight has had trouble on defensive assignments.
Like all but a few of the 1954 Bowl teams, Duke had an in-and-out year. However, the Blue Devils finished strong and will be favored at Miami. Nearly 80% of Duke's offense is a running game from the split T. Quarterback Barger directs the club efficiently, and although he is not a great passer, he has often thrown a key pass. A big team physically, Duke is not fancy. They do not set many flankers but can whip an opponent in the line with steady pressure. A few opponents have hurt them by containing their blocks and drifting them off the line of scrimmage. Halfbacks will sometimes pass on a pitchout. Some weakness has been found in the defensive line-up, usually the 6-2-2-1 or the 6-2-3 with center and fullback backing up. They won't penetrate much on defense, but at the same time they'll make you go the hard way. Coach Bill Murray isn't afraid of Nebraska but says, apprehensively, "Bowl-game underdogs have won more often than they have lost."
The cornhuskers operate from the split T, and most of the time (nearly 85%) they will use a running offense rather than rely on passes. Their main offensive maneuvers have been the hand-off, the off-tackle slant and the wide play. Five variations of wide plays have already been unveiled this season. Their attack up the middle has not been too effective. They outrushed their 10 opponents by a total of 2,657 yards to 1,990, and if there is any trend to their running game, it is a steady tendency to run to the wide field. On third and fourth down with short yardage to go, Nebraska usually hits inside with hand-offs and quarterback sneaks. They threw only 100 passes all season, completing 42 of them for 701 yards and seven TDs. Their opponents, on the other hand, got to this club for 822 yards and four TDs on 58 completions out of 156 attempts. Nebraska, however, cannot be written off. The second team is almost as good as the first, and no fewer than 17 different players managed to hit the scoring column during a strictly in-and-out season.
NUMBER TO WATCH
BOB PASCAL, LHB
Made the AP's third All-America team. He is strong and fast; good passer, but best play is the quickie. Main weakness is defending against the down-and-out passes.
JERRY BARGER, QB
Really runs team. Does most of their passing—and does it well. He is a stand-out on defense, and intercepted six passes this year from his safety position.
JOHNNY PALMER, C
Very talented lineman who blocks well, tackles harder than most and can be as rough as the situation requires. He'll back up the right side on defense.
DAN BROWN, QB
Calls offensive and defensive signals well, prefers running with the ball on option play. Had four of his 24 passes intercepted. Comes up fast on defense.
RON CLARK, LHB
Averaged 6.8 yards per carry. Has fine speed, can be dangerous if he gets turned up field. May fumble if hit hart. Shares the punting with Don Erway.
BOB SMITH, FB
Carried most of the ball-carrying load, with a 5.1-yard average. Quick starter, strong runner, he also kicks extra points. Is defensive corner linebacker.