Washington State 21
Nebraska 20

Nov. 25, 1920

Cougars Beat Huskers, Turn Defeat to a Win



LINCOLN, Neb., Nov. 25 — The Washington State Cougars invaded Nebraska today and with zip and punch, backed by pantherlike tenacity turned defeat into victory, winning from the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, 21-20. A large crowd saw the game which will go down in history as one of the most thrilling ever staged on Nebraska field.

Entering the final period with a two-touchdown lead to cut down, the Cougars stopped the Nebraska rush, uncorked a fancy brand of aerial plays and put across two touchdowns, kicking both goals.

The fighting spirit and stubborn defense of the Washington Staters was the feature. The Cougar crew never ceased fighting.

Gillis, plunging fullback of the Washington team, was the main driving power. He made no sensational runs but steady, consistent efforts at plugging the line gave gains when yardage was needed. Sax and Jenne were close followers of Gillis in advancing the ball.

The flashy player in the W.S.C. lineup was Skadan. Entering the lineup in the final quarter, the doughty quarterback connected with a thirty-eight-yard pass from McIvor and planted the oval on the Nebraska three-yard line for Gillis to carry over. A few minutes later he grabbed a flip from Jenne and was tumbled on the Nebraska four-yard line, where Gillis again put the oval across. In addition Skadan booted the two goals necessary to win the game.

Nebraska lacked fighting spirit. This was evident early in the game when penalties inflicted seemed to take the heart out of the Scarlet and Cream. With a comfortable lead stowed away, the Huskers seemed to prefer to take it easy with the results that Chief Welsh, Washington’s coach, sent in Skadan who uncorked some nifty aerial attacks, yielding two touchdowns and the game was all over as far as the Schulte aggregation was concerned.

Dale, husky Nebraska fullback, was the star of the Schulte constellation. Dale fought a hard battle and smashed through the cougar line until taken from the game in the final period because of injuries.

His eighty-one yard run for the first touchdown was the sensation of the game.

Trio Plays Last Game

Hubka entered the game in the second half and registered one touchdown. Captain Day and Wade Munn put up a stiff game in the line. Hubka, Day and Munn played their last game in Nebraska togs.

Statistics of the game show Nebraska leading in yards gained from scrimmage, first downs and yards gained from aerial plays. They lacked the fight necessary to make these gains consistent.

Dunton opened the game by kicking off Swanson who returned eighteen yards to the Nebraska thirty-seven-yard line.

Moore, on the opening play raced around end for twenty yards. Dale registered a nine-yard gain, but a forward pass went to Swanson, rolled over the Washington State goal line and the Cougars put the ball in play on their twenty-yard line.

Sax failed to gain and Dunton kicked forty-one yards to Newman who made no return. Penalties brought the Huskers back to their eleven-yard line and Moore kicked to Sax, who returned to the Nebraska forty-one-yard line.

At this stage of the contest Dale snared a forward pass from McIver and raced eighty-one yards through a broken field of the first touchdown. Captain Bill Day kicked goal.

A steady march down the field gave Washington State her first score. The Cougars took Monte Munn’s kickoff and never let go of the ball until Gillis had put it across for a touchdown. Sax kicked goal, tying the score.

Dunton kicked off to Newman who returned to Nebraska’s thirty-one yard line. The Nebraskans had worked the ball to their forty-nine yard line when the quarter was called.

Jenne Driving Power

Jenne, Substituting for Sandberg, was the main driving power of the Cougar in the second quarter. The W.S.C. half got away for a twenty-four yard run soon after the period opened bringing the ball well into Nebraska’s territory. Here the Nebraska line stiffened and Nebraska took the ball on her own seventeen-yard line. In an exchange of punts one of Jenne’s efforts rolled over the Husker goal line and the Nebraska procession started.

Using Dale as a background and Wright and Moore as the two wings the Nebraskans hammered their way down the field. A pass, Dale to Swanson, yielded eighteen yards and a net play gave the ball to Scherer by the air route and the Husker end crossed the line. In the play Newman heaved the ball to Swanson and “Swannie” heaved the ball to his fellow wingmate across the chalk mark. Day kicked goal.

Nebraska tried desperately to score on the kickoff when a criss-cross yielded a gain. The Nebraska eleven looked best in the third quarter when they plugged the line, a series of attacks which planted the ball on the Washington State three-yard line, where the Cougar line stiffened. Jenne kicked out of danger but the Husker were not to be stopped and another procession of line plunges aided by a seventeen-yard pass, Dale to Swanson, permitted Hubka to cross the line for the final Nebraska score.

Captain Day missed the goal kick by a liberal margin.

The last quarter opened with Nebraska in possession of the ball on the Washington thirty-two-yard line. A Nebraska victory seemed certain.

This apparent certainty was increased when a forward pass, Dale to Swanson, brought the ball to within eight yards of the Cougars’ goal posts. With the ball within several yards of the goal and victory, Newman called for a pass, and when the ball missed connection the Washington Staters started their procession from the twenty-yard line.

Gillis Goes Over

Gillis plugged the line until they reached midfield. Then Skadan uncorked his aerial play, and when the final effort, McIvor to Skadan, was good for thirty-eight yards and brought the ball to the Washington State three-yard line, Gillis carried it over and the Cougar colors were hauled up another notch. Skadan kicked goal.

Dunton kicked off to Dale, who returned to the Nebraska twenty-four-yard line. Dale was hurt in the play and Schoeppell substituted. Here the Husker defense seemed to weaken, and the Cougars plowed down the field to within range of the Nebraska goal, when again the aerial play was polished up and brought forth.

The Jenne to Skadan combination yielded twenty yards and brought the ball to the Washington State four-yard line. Jenne planted the ball on the goal line, and with six inches to go and a final down, Gillis smashed through for a touchdown. Skadan kicked a perfect goal and the game went into the Washington State column by a single point.

With a few minutes yet to play, the Nebraska eleven made a desperate effort to score by the air route.

The game ended with the ball in possession of Washington State in midfield.

More coverage

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Series history

Nebraska is 1-3 all-time against Washington State.

See all games »


1920 season (5-3-1)

Washburn Oct. 2
Colorado State Oct. 9
Notre Dame Oct. 16
South Dakota Oct. 23
Rutgers Nov. 2
Penn State Nov. 6
Kansas Nov. 13
Michigan State Nov. 20
Washington State Nov. 25

This day in history

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