Nebraska scored first on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jeff Kinney, then Johnny Rodgers scored on a 77–yard punt return on the final play of the first quarter, as Nebraska led 14–0. In the second quarter, Jerry Tagge and Gary Dixon added touchdown runs of one and two yards respectively, as Nebraska led convincingly 28–0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Bama's Terry Davis scored on a 3–yard touchdown run making the score 28-6, eliminating the shutout. Nebraska's Rich Sanger kicked a 21–yard field goal at the end of the third quarter, and a 1–yard touchdown run by reserve senior QB Van Brownson made the final score 38–6.
With #1 Nebraska's 32-point victory, the 1972 Orange Bowl was one of the most lopsided meetings of #1 vs #2, specifically in a season-ending bowl game.
Nebraska (13-0) was the consensus national champion, having defeated the next three teams in the final AP Poll (released in January 1972): Oklahoma, Colorado, and Alabama.