1972 College Football Recap
Nebraska's hopes for a third straight national championship received a jolt in the very first game. Opening the season on the road, the Huskers had their 32–game unbeaten streak snapped by UCLA, 20–17.
But it was the other Los Angeles team—Southern Cal—that succeeded Nebraska as No.1 in the final poll. The Trojans were the only major squad to make it through the regular season without a loss. Only two-time Rose Bowl champ Stanford came within 10 points of USC and that margin was nine (30–21).
USC ended the season with a flourish, blowing Notre Dame out of the Coliseum (45–23) and Ohio State out of the Rose Bowl (42–17). Tailback Anthony Davis scored six touchdowns against the Irish (two kickoff returns went 97 and 96 yards), and fullback Sam Cunningham scored four times against the Buckeyes.
Oklahoma lost to Colorado but beat everyone else including Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. When the season was over the Sooners were placed on two-years probation by the NCAA for using an ineligible player in three games.
Texas was blanked by Oklahoma early in the season but finished at 10–1, beating Alabama in the Cotton Bowl to place third.
Finally, Nebraska flanker Johnny Rodgers (5–ft 9) won the Heisman, Louisville running back Howard Stevens (5–ft 6) led the nation in all purpose running, and freshman became eligible.