Grinnell 12
Nebraska 0

Nov. 30, 1899 • Omaha, NE

Win In The Mud



Grinnell's Mighty Athletes Score a Victory of 12 to 0 Over Nebraska.

Grinnell's big athletes walloped the Nebraska university's football team by a score of 12 to 0 at the Ames avenue park Thanksgiving afternoon.

Direst enemies of football could not have invented, even with Mephistophelian aid, a more beastly day for a game of football than yesterday. After a run of nearly two months of as beautiful autumn weather as ever graced the most favored clime on earth, Thanksgiving morning dawned with gold grey skies, chilly winds and rain, sleet and snow, an almost execrable culmination of an ideal summer and fall.

But it will require something more potent than inclement meteorological conditions to block a battle of the armored hosts of the gridiron, and something worse than cold and snow and rain to suppress the enthusiasm of the average fanatic who glories over the deeds of the canvassed gladiators of the mop-like hair. This was thoroughly demonstrated yesterday, not only in Omaha, but on hundreds of other chalk-lined fields over the country.

With suspicious weather yesterday there would have been a mighty throng assembled at the Ames avenue park to witness the closing game of the season between the Nebraska varsity and the Grinnell, Ia, college elevens. The interest among all classes was more widespread and of a more pronounced character than that evidenced over any game that has taken place here in the past, and there is no doubt in the world that the attendance would have largely exceeded that of any former occasion of the kind.

Good crowd at that

As it was the crowd wasn't half bad, there being at a rough guess something like 1,000 persons gathered along the roped lines and within the dripping grandstand when the shrill blast of Referee Hess' whistle lined the sides up for action. And there was a fair sprinkling of women too in the gathering, and their courage and hardihood in braving the dangers of trapped pedal extremities, chilled anatomies, pneumonia and the innumerable other perilous and uncomfortable concomitants of a day outdoors under such conditions was, to say the least, commendable. The wind came in from the northwest at a razor's edge and laden with a blinding mist of sleet and snow, it looked as if it would be impossible for the stalwart youths to meet in so rigorous a contest as a game of football. The field, too, was little better than a street of mud and water, and locomotion even by the trained young athletes was an exceedingly laborious task. It was seen at once that the game could under no possible circumstances be much better than a burlesque.

And it wasn't, so far as scientific football was concerned, and yet the strife was waged as fiercely and determinedly as it would have been under fair skies, and the spectators was as clamorously enthusiastic as the greatest lover of blood and thunder could have desired. Young men and women fringed the oval, and flaunting the colors of one side or the other, yelled and screamed themselves hoarse as the brawny heroes of the globulated pigskin wallowed each other in the aggutinative soil in their mad ambition for victory.

First touchdown in a lake

Of course, the conflict was replete with ludicrous contretemps and side splitting episodes, but it cannot be denied that in some respects it was thrillingly interesting, especially when Lyman, after his twenty-yard sprint through Nebraska's center and around left end, made a headlong dive into a big puddle of mud and water, lying half submerged, like a wounded turtle, as he planted the ball over the line over the line and achieved the first touchdown.

There was but little chance for any of the sentimental in the spectators' interest: it was all engendered by the hardest and toughest and muddiest kind of work on the part of the padded hosts they worshipped. There was too much humidity and too much mud for but little brilliant running or kicking, and the defense of both teams was muscular enough to make the propers of the ball up or down the field sufficiently uncertain to maintain the feverish itch of the freezing and frantic crowd.

In the first half the Nebraska boys were little better than so many cigar signs: they were slow and sluggish and clumsy and looked like a lot of mud larks alongside the chipper lads from the prohibition state. Grinnell was always prompt in getting away and they bucked and smashed and hurdled and sprinted and kicked in a way that couldn't mean anything less than ultimate and overwhelming triumph.

Benedict's off day

The great Benedict is certainly a fair-weather athlete, for yesterday he was unable to either hold the ball when he did get his clamps on it or kick it when it was well placed for him, neither could he run or get any sort of a move on him, especially in the first half. Still there is little to wonder at. It was marvelous that any of the men in that sea of slush and mud, were enabled to get out of a walk. Everybody knows what Benedict is capable of, and it is not the intention to criticize him here. If he could have kicked with anything like his well known skill of former contests a different story would have to be told. Kicking is an element of of the utmost importance in football, but when used ad nauseam fails to have any very material effect on the outcome of the game and ceases to attract the attention of the average looker-on. But when it is eliminated entirely from a game then the gridiron lacks one of the brightest and most-interesting of all its plays.

But whatever the relative strength of two teams may be under favorable conditions, there is little doubt but what Grinnell had the most effective team yesterday in both attack and defense. The Iowans proved all through the first half that they would advance the ball consistently by running through and around the ends, even in a morter box. During the first half the ball was pushed along almost wholly by running, but during the latter half when the fight was almost entirely on their own territory they invariably punted the ball after receiving it from their opponents.

Pearse made some handsome gains in the last half by savage rushes through the middle, Brew did some brilliant and effective tackling, while Cortleyou did the brilliant all-around playing of the whole team.

Near the scoring point

If the Antelope kicker had only excelled the Hawkeye punter Nebraska might have won. The Nebraskans got the ball down dangerously close to scoring line on several occasions by absolute requisition on their strength and nerve. But they couldn't get there. At the supreme moment all hope was dashed by a fumble, a miscue or something, and Grinnell kept the ball passing back and forth over the center of the field for the last fifteen minutes of the closing half.

It was the repeated failures on Nebraska's part to take advantage of her own strength that made her play uninteresting. But Grinnell, on the other hand, kept up the excitement by virtue of her good beadwork. Nebraska was weak in sundry spots, notably the left end, and seemed to have no effective style of attack and no power of advancing the ball with any very encouraging degree of consistency. Grinnell was sure to stop whenever she attempted to run with the ball, and her only conspicuous progress was made by the most heroic bucking.

Desperate effort

Along in the second half it became apparent to Nebraska that if she desired to evade the ignominy of a shut-out she must carry the ball bodily over the crimson and black's goal line. And for a time it looked as if she would succeed, but right here Grinnell very properly resorted to dilatory and defensive tactics, and the Antelopes were thwarted in a way that was certainly exasperating for the masses pulling for them along the line and in the stands.

But it was a bully contest, nevertheless, in spite of the cold and mud and Nebraska's lunkheadedness, and the afternoon was full of glory for Grinnell. They played ball, kept up the excitement and deserved the victory they won. But the great game has gotten such a hold on the people and is such a rough and rugged pastime that it cannot be become listless or dull under any circumstances.

The intense college spirit and overwhelming enthusiasm of college adherents is sufficient at all times to fill the air with enough electrical fervor to, furnish any trolley system with motive power. Any game in which the Nebraska boys take part will always have an interest for the people aside from the technical merits of the competing teams. The intense rivalry among these young scions of the country's best families, the wild huzzahs, the singing of songs, the presence of pink and white girls, well gowned matrons, proud papas and the kids is the factor which makes the game what it is. The most brilliant football playing that ever happened, without these accompaniments, wouldn't be considered worth half the price of admission.

Inside the field lines

Details Showing How Grinnell Defeated the University.

The coin was tossed at 3:30 and fell Grinnell side up. Captain Burd took west goal, and two minutes later Benedict sent the oval to Lindsay, who brought it up the field for seventy yards. Then Grinnell started a series of plays that gained yards on every down, and if Nebraska counted on her superior weight holding the Hawkeyes she certainly began to realize that she reckoned without her host.

Time after time did Lindsay, Lyman and Burd skirt Nebraska's ends and force their way through her line. It began to look as if Grinnell were going straight for a touchdown without Nebraska's consent or permission, when Branch's men took a decided stand and secured the ball on downs. Benedict made a nice gain of four yards, and then through a fumble Grinnell once more recovered possession of the coveted ball. Lindsay, Lyman, Douglas and Taft each carried the ball for substantial gains, and then Burd kicked to Nebraska's ten-yard line.

First touchdown

Benedict here kicked to Fisk, who returned the ball to Nebraska's twenty-yard line, and after a series of plunges Lyman carried the ball over Nebraska's goal for the first touchdown. Things looked decidedly Grinnell at this time, as twelve minutes of time had hardly elapsed.

Benedict kicked to Lyman, Hunter tackled, and once more the game was on. Then came another series of bucks, losses and downs and kicks. Grinnell lost the ball on Nebraska's ten-yard line. Benedict kicked to Flake, who circled Nebraska's left end for thirty-five yards and a touchdown. Wheeler kicked goal, making the score 12 to 0 for Grinnell. A half minute before time was called for the first half Benedict made an unsuccessful attempt for goal from field.

Nebraska's good stuff

Wheeler started the second half by kicking to Nebraska's ten-yard line. Benedict got the ball and started up the field toward Grinnell's goal, when he met Thell and stopped. Here Nebraska showed the stuff that was in her. She took a stubborn stand and when the Iowans had secured the ball on downs they were unable to repeat the feat of the first half, and found many difficulties in trying to circle Nebraska's ends or get through her line.

Time after time did Nebraska buck Grinnell for gains, and it began to as if Nebraska would surely score, but Grinnell took a stand and Burd punted out of danger. Grinnell was never able to take full control of the field again, and after thirty-five minutes of the hardest kind of playing, under the worst conditions, the Thanksgiving game for 1899 at Omaha closed, with the state team of Nebraska humbled by its opponents from across the hills.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 7-2 all-time against Grinnell.

See all games »


1899 season (1-7-1)

Iowa State Oct. 6
KC Medics Oct. 14
Missouri Oct. 21
KC Medics Oct. 28
Iowa Nov. 4
Drake Nov. 11
Kansas Nov. 18
South Dakota Nov. 24
Grinnell Nov. 30

This day in history

Nebraska has played 9 games on Nov. 30. See them all »

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