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Nebraska's Offensive Line Rotation in the 1995 Orange Bowl

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Last week, an article in the Lincoln Journal-Star stated that, contrary to common opinion, Nebraska did not substitute on the offensive line during the 1995 Orange Bowl against Miami. The common thought was based on Nebraska's frequent substitution on the offensive line in other games combined with the memories of seeing Miami's Warren Sapp exhausted as Nebraska overcame a 17-9 fourth quarter deficit to defeat Miami 24-17.

A review of the 1995 Orange Bowl (always a fun trip down nostalgia lane for Husker fans) showed the conventional opinion was, in fact, actually correct.  Nebraska's starting lineup on the offensive line stayed intact for the first two drives.

1995 Orange Bowl Offensive Line Starters

NBC

On the third drive, senior Bill Humphrey (#51) replaced Aaron Graham at center.

Bill Humphrey

NBC

Graham returned on the fourth drive, but sophomore Chris Dishman (#75) replaced Rob Zatechka at left tackle.

Chris Dishman

NBC

On the 5th drive, Zatechka returned at left tackle and Humphrey replaced Graham once again. On the final drive before halftime, Graham returned to play center.  After halftime, the starting line once again was intact for the first two drives, but on the ninth drive of the game, Humphrey played most of the 11 play drive, which ended with a fumble.  Graham did enter the drive for at least one play near the end of the drive, but Humphrey was in the game when a bad snap resulted in a fumble near midfield.

From that point forward, it was difficult to identify any other substitutions on the offensive line the remainder of the game. The starting offensive line was on the field for those legendary fourth quarter drives against the Hurricanes. Right tackle Zach Wiegert, left guard Joel Wilks and right guard Brendan Stai played the entire game without substitution, but rotations at center and left tackle meant the starting line up only played 10 of the 14 Husker drives against Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl.