LINCOLN — Some 30 members of the first Nebraska football squad to be coach by Dana Xenophone Bible gained a lot of experience in the season's inaugural with the Southern Methodist Mustangs Saturday afternoon but they didn't make any scores. Neither did the Mustangs, so the 20 thousand present had to content themselves with the reflection that Mr. Bible has a tremendous team in the making and that it got this afternoon that which it needed most — experience.
Experience came at a high cost, however, for Halfback Claude Rowley, Nebraska's best punter, suffered a broken collar bone early in the third quarter after making a 13-yard gain. He will be out of the Syracuse and Pittsburgh games and may not be able to play against Missouri.
They also can reflect on comforting and satisfying things that might have happened had the Cornhuskers been given the chance to snatch at just one of two little breaks. Little breaks would have put them in the scoring column on at least three occasions while S. M. U. would have had to grab a great big break to have got anywhere at any time during the 60 minutes of thrills, mistakes and startling flares of keen strategy and football technique.
Both Dana Bible's "A" team and the one which chiefly for purposes of identification is designated by the next letter of the alphabet, outplayed the Ponies consistently, but when in scoring distance the tenseness of the moment told and the scores never came in. Veterans probably would have chosen the strategy different; veterans probably could have made the "little breaks" that were so sorely needed.
S. M. U.'s irresistible passing attack was exposed, in this game at least, as a ghost story. The Mustangs did no better than the Huskers at any sort of aerial tactics and neither team ventured many attempts. At the business of lugging they flopped.
Only Mason, quarterback, was able to pry through the Scarlet line, and he didn't pry in a way to make the prying worth while.
The first scoring chance came very soon after the kickoff and when that failed, well, it was too bad, but the way the Huskers had chivvied the Mustangs down toward the corral indicated that it was only a matter of time before a Scarlet laddies would get behind the Pony goal. That time, as matters developed, never came. Sixty minutes were not quite enough.
The "A" eleven, with Peaker, Paul, Rowley and Captain Farley in the backfield, received the kick off, which crossed the goal for a touchback. From their own 20-yard line, Rowley and Farley hit the line, often after deceptive monkeyshines behind the line of scrimmage, and finally, after working the ball well toward midfield, Rowley punted.
Mason of the Mustangs essayed a reciprocal boot almost immediately, but it wasn't much of a boot. It traveled only 14 yards, and Nebraska had possession on the S. M. U. 45-yard line. A double pass behind the line with Farley receiving the last flip netted 16 yards. Then Marvin Paul, the Fremont sophomore, hit for five more, Rowley faked a spinner for five more, Farley smashed fore the same distance and it was a first down on the S. M. U. 15-yard mark. Rowley made seven more on three line plays.
Fourth and three. Peaker called for a pass. He elected to receive it himself. Standing on the Mustang goal Rowley heaved a pretty one, as far as east and west were concerned, but it landed too far south, just above Peaker's show laces. Harold mussed it bad and the Mustangs go what comfort they could from possessing it on their own eight-yard line.
It looked brighter for the Hosses when Mason punted fifty yards out of his end zone to the Nebraska 42-yard line.
At the beginning of the second quarter Bible shooed in his "B" class. Red Young and Buddy McBride were at halfback, Marquis at quarter and Art Perry at fullback. Like Paul, Marquis and Perry were getting their varsity initiation Buddy and the Norfolk Titan proceeded to give the most thrilling exhibition of the afternoon, although it netted nothing. They pried holes when none was available and when they were they scooted through to do hulu-hula stuff well into the Mustang secondary.
McBride was slightly hurt just before the close of the period and Frahm replaced him, but Young stayed to make merry almost all the rest of the afternoon. The red head got away for a 23-yard gain that ended on the Mustangs' 45-yard line and for a while looked as if another goalward march was on, but Hopper finally intercepted Frahm's pass to end any threats during the first half.
The "A" team was back at the opening of the third period, and during the remainder of the game Bible sent in his replacements individually, on in twos at most. Coach Morrison was very conservative at the business of substituting. Only a single one was made until well along in the last half.
Right at the second half kickoff Cornhusker hopes soared high again. Captain Farley received Guard Neely's boot on the 10-yard line. He ran the boot back through almost the entire Mustang herd, finally being chased out of bounds by a lone ranging pony, after a 54-yard gallop. That put the ball on the Mustang 36-yard line. Paul and Rowley gained a few yards through the wall. Then Claude from Clyde, Kan., aimed a punt out of bounds about four yards from the enemy goal mark. It went out of bounds about four yards from there, too. Mason was equal to the crisis this time, however, and his kick was downed by his mate, Butler, substitute tackle, on the Scarlet 40-yard line. Rowley's beautifully placed kick kept the Huskers in an advantageous position, however, and pretty soon were tearing through and running around for gains that looked as if their makers were going some where until Paul fumbled a pass from center and this same Mr. Butler recovered for S. M. U., well out of territory dangerous to the Southerners.
Twice in the fourth quarter there was mighty whooping from Cornhusker loyalists and the plays themselves were worthy of the whoops despite their ultimate fate.
S. M. U. had the ball on the Nebraska 29-yard line, which, by the way, is about as close as the Mustangs ever got, when the final quarter began. A line play failed. Mason passed. Certainly is wasn't intended for Center Feiber Maasdam of the wrong team, but the good old Ex-Techer snared it, then began to gallop. He galloped and galloped with the stands encouraging such a career. He didn't gallop fast enough. ponies, of course, are faster over a long stretch and good old Felber was cut down after a marathon that covered 45 yards. He got over the ball himself on the Mustang 26-yard line. That was striking distance for sure, but the Huskers didn't strike. A 15-yard penalty for illegal use of hands on the first play tarnished the outlook a great deal. Quarterback Long decided to pass. End Long of the Southerners snared it. That settled all the pretty opportunity.
With less than a minute to play, Vic Scherzinger sent late into action, shot a long pass to End Prucka. Prucka was there. Almost all the 32-yard gain was through the air, and it put the ball on the Mustang 24-yard line. Time choked the hopeful offensive launched by Wally Marrow.
The Huskers earned 15 first downs to four for the Mustangs. The visitors got another by penalty. Nebraska clicked twice with forward passes; S. M. U. made three good. Look at the statistics, elsewhere in the paper for the rest of it. They'll show that for a team pressagented as passers, the Ponies exhibited a strange preference for the ground on this day.
Coach Ray Morrison himself said they didn't pass enough. But he did not say that passes would have been certain to click. He did say this, "Bible has a tremendous team — a great team — on the make. He brings his men along steadily. He hasn't had time enough at Nebraska."
And that just about expresses it. The Cornhuskers today certainly were better crowd pleasers than the Cornhuskers of four preceding seasons, even when the latter were victorious.
Nebraska is 1-0 all-time against Southern Methodist.
|Southern Methodist||Oct. 5|
|Kansas State||Nov. 23|
|Iowa State||Nov. 28|
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