Nebraska 21
Southern Methodist 14

Dec. 3, 1932 • Fair Park Stadium, Dallas, Texas

Huskers Outlast S.M.U. to Capture 21-to-14 Thriller



Overcome Heat for Greatest Nebraska Record in Decade

Fair Park Stadium, Dallas, Tex., Dec. 3 — The Cornhusker football squad, which was rapidly sweating itself into emaciation, managed to last long enough under a semitropic sun Saturday afternoon to lick the Mustangs of Southern Methodist university and complete their most successful season in exactly one decade.

In 1922 a covey of giants coached by Fred T. Dawson Papa Schulte lost but one contest. That was to Syracuse.

Just a Turkish Bath

This intersectional victory over Professor Ray Morrison’s pupils gave the lightest Cornhusker gridiron class in more than 20 years, a record of seven victories, one defeat, by the margin of one point.

It was a victory purchased at the cost of heavy poundage. There was a great deal less of the Nebraska kids when they dragged themselves from the heat-baked stadium yard than there was the kickoff.

The heft oozed out first through their pores and then through their pants, and with it went a deal of what is commonly referred to by after-dinner speakers as vital energy.

But they managed to hold on, these game kids, and they made their 21 points scored in the opening half hold up for victory. The final reckoning was 21 to 14.

No Dance for Huskers

There was a dance in the evening, given in honor of the guest athletes, but not many of them were there. They felt more like flopping themselves on the hospital cots that were so miraculously vacated overnight by the pupils of Professor Weeping Ray Morrison.

Professor Morrison had most of his prize scholars on hand, and if the few who were absent possessed greater talent than those who put together bucks and plunges and end runs in the second quarter to score the only touchdown of the season through the Scarlet line, then it is downright impossible to explain how the Mustangs lost the Southwestern conference title.

All three Nebraska touchdowns came on passing plays that were expertly executed. A pitch netted the Ponies their second score in the fourth quarter.

Thermometer Hits 100

But the Huskers presented themselves in something of a sweating, sensational role to the five thousand customers who sat in the big cement bowl seemingly enjoying the 100-degree sun rays that caressed their shirt-sleeved torsos.

That is what the thermometer registered down there on the brown Bermuda grass which, strange as it seems, was positively detachable and would certainly have sent Uncle Will McGeehan into a fit of senile rage. The Bermuda grass, however, was impartially detachable. It caused Huskers to slip and fumble, and it was just as pesky to the kids who tread it every week-end in the autumn.

But those Huskers — they threw forward passes in the way that the home trade long supposed that only the Mustangs could throw them. They took the Mustangs’ favorite offensive tactics right of the Mustangs’ hands and turned them into touchdowns.

Carry Out Bible’s Orders

But while the Huskers were doing this the Mustangs were spoiling that record of a goal line uncrossed by a running play.

Colonel Bible sent his boys on to the field instructed to get touchdowns quickly if that were possible, because Colonel bible knew how his boys were going to feel a half hour or so later. The Huskers obeyed orders and then went on to discover that Colonel Bible knew what he was talking about.

Before the first half ended they found it hard to draw breath and harder still to get up that steam and power so necessary to whanging the enemy line.

Tough on Water Boy

The S.M.U. boys chivalrously let their guests dip into their water wagon, which is a very necessary part of a football team equipment in these parts. It is a red tank wagon, built on the style of those vehicles that used to trail the engine back in those good old days when threshing machines were run by steam. The tank holds no less than 15 gallons and it was necessary to refill it three times during the afternoon.

Following orders strictly — and with happy success — the Nebraskans got themselves their first touchdown before the celebration was five minutes gone.

Halfback Ray slipped on the brown Bermuda and fumbled. George Sauer was right on hand to snatch the bobble, 37 yards from a touchdown. George Henry passed to Lee Penney for 15 yards. Chris Mathis and Carlyle Staab ran the ends for 15 more and the George Henry pitched again, this time to Steve Hokuf who was waiting in the end zone. Bernie Masterson kicked the first of three successful placements after touchdown.

The Huskers kept right on pushing throughout the opening quarter and were deep in Mustang precincts almost every minute. But they were unable to count any more and their seven points appeared of little value when the Mustangs began to buck and gallop in the second quarter.

Starting on the Huskers’ 41-yard line, Travis, Ray and McNutt, two of them hopeless invalids but one day ago, mixed plunges with sprints around the flanks until they had gone far enough. A spinner play that sent a wedge of Ponies ahead of the lugger through the middle was an especially baffling problem to the visiting boys. They didn’t manage to solve it until the game was nearly over. Travis hit right guard for the final few yards needed for the touchdown, then he doubled as a placement kicker and the score was tied. But not for very long.

Hokuf Picks Up Freight

Travis punted and in their zest to render the Huskers null and void Mustang mates went clipping marrily down the field. Their ardor cost them 25 yards. Referee “Sees All” Quigley gave Nebraska the ball 29 yards from a score and that was inspiration enough.

Again Georgy Henry threw a pass and again Steve Hokuf caught it. Steve was 10 yards from the goal line this time and Mr. Ray, a very ubiquitous youth was barring the way. Steve didn’t try to elude him. He just carried him across with him, and a moment later big Bernie had boosted the count to 14 to 7.

Seven more points came crowding right after and the game looked safe for Nebraska as the half ended — at least to those who don’t know about the effects of a radical change in the climate.

Bernie Connects Again

Mr. Ray fumbled a later pass, which is a very serious mistake for a Mustang to make. Corwin Hulbert spread himself over it on the Mustang 25-yard line. Theo Fahrnbruch, subbing for Sauer, tossed a forward to Hokuf who went racing toward the sidelines. A Mustang tackler lunged at Steve. Steve tossed a lateral and Masterson snatched it, and turning sharply, saw the illuminated sign flash 20 points for Nebraska. Bernie made it 21 with his third and last kick with Mathis holding.

Then the half ended. So did almost all of Nebraska’s emphatic manner, but this wasn’t as serious as it might sound. The Huskers didn’t go in for passive resistance when the Mustangs had the ball and it is quite probable had it not been for a pretty unusual quirk of fate, the final score would have been 21 to 7.

Pass Turns the Trick

Late in the third quarter Travis punted to the Husker 29-yard line where Bernie Masterson was lying prone, having been placed in that position by the emphatic block of a merry Mustang. The ball hit the field near Bernie, bounced and hit him, and before a mate could cover it Mr. Ray, that pest, had smothered it like a Plymouth Rock hen smothering her eggs in nesting season.

The Husker line had solved that bothersome spinner by this time so there was nothing to do but pass. Travis threw to Red Fuqua, who duplicated Steve Hokuf’s feat of whirling over the line and taking a couple of tacklers along for company.

It was the one S.M.U. pass that meant something. It did give the Mustangs heart, and as the contest neared its end they kept up an aerial barrage, but nothing came of it. Pass after pass was ruined by the alert Husker secondary.

Back on the Grid Map

S.M.U. was through. And so were the Huskers, who when they early discovered that passes were poison to the team that is supposed to be the greatest passing team in the land, left off the exhausting business of trying to run with the ball and took to the air.

Success crowned their efforts and Lawrence Ely, Chris Mathis, Steve Hokuf, Corwin Hulbert, Carlyle Staab and Clare Campbell will be able to remember senior season as Cornhuskers as the campaign under Colonel D.X. Bible that put the red armor back on the big football map.

Those Huskers who are seniors said a lusty and intrepid farewell on the brown Bermuda grass of Fair Park stadium. They inspired their junior mates to keep going when weary muscles and aching lungs called for a cessation of effort. They fought a team that was primed and inspired, a team that outweighed them 13 pounds per man; they fought the heavy atmosphere and the frying sun — and they won a victory over them all.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 1-0 all-time against Southern Methodist.

See all games »


1932 season (7-1-1)

Iowa State Oct. 8
Minnesota Oct. 15
Kansas Oct. 22
Kansas State Oct. 29
Iowa Nov. 5
Pittsburgh Nov. 12
Oklahoma Nov. 19
Missouri Nov. 24
Southern Methodist Dec. 3

This day in history

Nebraska hasn't played any other games on Dec. 3.

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