Michigan 31
Nebraska 0

Oct. 21, 1905 • Ann Arbor, Mich.

Cornhuskers Defeated By The Wolverines

Some language in this article does not adhere to current World-Herald standards.

Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct. 21—In one of the hardest-fought battles Ferry field has ever seen, Michigan vindicated her title of champion by burling Nebraska down to defeat a score of 31 to 0. For forty anxious minutes the big outsiders held Michigan to a zero score and pushed the ball to Michigan’s eight-yard line. But superior condition told and Michigan’s trip hammer machine pounded remorsely on to victory.

Nebraska can congratulate its team. In yesterday’s form, Michigan would have beaten any team in the country.

It was Keene Fitzpatrick who turned the tide of victory. With Longman out of the game since the first ante-season practice, with “Denny” Clarke limping around with a knee inflamed, with Dunlap a cripple and Captain Norcross a disabled man. Michigan’s veteran trainer (provided) a machine which tackled and plunged like men of iron.

The Nebraskans played like fiends, never letting up for a moment. In the first half particularly Cotton and Mason, standing half erect behind the line, would break up Michigan’s interference, while in critical moments Taylor, Little and Cotton placed Michigan’s line for straight gains.

Bender, Nebraska’s punter, and Tom Hammond each played a star game. Hammond’s goal from the field gave his teammates just the encouragement they needed, while Benedict kept his goal out of danger time after time.

It was a real championship game. Norcross before the game admitted that Wolverines were “scared stiff.” Only “Octopus” Graham remained calm, drimmine the plane at the training quarters as if it were an afternoon reception.

Michigan students last night voiced their sentiment that it was no disgrace to Nebraska to lose, but a great honor to Michigan to win against the aggregation from the west.

Starting The Play.

At 2:20 o’clock the Michigan team ran out on the field, the numbers wearing for the first time the big blue blankets stamped with the block. The crowd keyed up to the highest pitch of excitement, gave them a splendid ovation. Close on their heels came the Cornhuskers led by sturdy Captain Borg. The loyal band of sixty Nebraska motors sprang to their feet as one man and waved their banners and tore small holes in the atmosphere with the Nebraska yell. A minute later the two captains met in the center of the field and 5,000 people watched Referee Darby spin the silver dollar into the air.

Borg won the toss and chose the west goal with the wind at his back. Stuart kicked off for Michigan and sent the spheroid whirling down to Mason behind the goal post. Dunlap’s same knee went back on him on his first tackle and he was helped off the field and Clark took his place.

Benedict punted to the center of the field and the game was on. Longman distinguished his debut into the scrimmage by hitting Nelson’s guard for ten yards. Hammond took four yards outside Weller, then Nebraska was penalized five yards on offside plays. Curtis hit the left side for four more, but Longman finds a stone wall in the big colored boy. (Schultz?) was shoved through for five more and Hammond made the first down.

With the ball on their fifteen-yard line and Michigan rooters yelling touchdown Nebraska (rallied?) to the defense. On the next play Cotton broke through and held Clark for one yard. The splendid Michigan offense wavered and broke, while the Nebraskans held like a stone wall. Curtis got a scratch there and Hammond (sore?) and then Taylor charged through and the ball went to Nebraska on her own ten-yard line. Benedict punted to the forty-eight line and Johnson held Norcross to a ten-yard run. Again, Nebraska braced for the charge and again the ball went over, this time on Nebraska’s three-yard line.

Taylor Holds Them.

Wild at the stubborn resistance and spurred to the highest pitch by the splendid cheering of their rooters, Michigan charged to the attack. Morse called Taylor for a plunge but the burly negro found eleven men in front of him and gained but a yard. Weller was thrown back for a loss and Benedict was forced to punt.

Little caught Norcross in his tracks on Michigan’s thirty-five yard line.

Nebraska scented touchdown and fought hard. Borg broke through and blocked the pass and Michigan was awarded five yards by the referee. Then Michigan’s triphammer began to pound Nebraska’s guards and tackles, who were fighting hard at every step.

Nebraska was pushed back one three five yards at a time until the ball reached Nebraska’s twelve-yard line, when there was fumble and again the Cornhuskers ‘had a chance.’

Benedict punted thirty-two yards and Norcross, aided by splendid interference, made up fifteen. Down came the ball by short plunges step by step to the twenty-two yard line, where Nebraska held four downs.

Benedict’s good right foot put the ball out of danger and Michigan undismayed, lined up on their own fifty-two yard line. Hammond hurled and Joe Curtis took eight. Then gains grew shorter and Nebraska’s splendid defense braced up and held on their own forty-five yard line. Little and Wilson hit the Michigan line for short gains and then Benedict sent the ball flying down over Norcross’ head, where he was down on the ten-yard line.

Five yards for Michigan, three more, then five, then two, then one, and Stuart is forced to punt. Mason annexed a yard, then Stuart of Michigan threw Morse for a loss. Then Benedict sent the ball whiting to the twelve-yard line. Michigan made short line gains and Nebraska took the ball, on a fumble, on Michigan’s twelve-yard line.

Michigan Rooters Howl.

Every Michigan rooter was on his feet and yelling himself hoarse as the big Swede was seen to plunge through for three. Wilson took one more and Nelson three. The heart-breaking procession was only headed on Michigan’s eight-yard line, where the ball went over.

More heart disease was in store for Michigan. Hammond made a splendid run around Miller’s tackle to the twenty-two yard line, then Curtis made five more, but fumbled the ball and Nebraska took it on her twenty-eight yard line. Excitement rose to fever heat when, after an ineffectual attempt to gain, Benedict dropped back to place kick at goal. The ball was squarely in front of the posts. Was Michigan to be scored on?

But the pass was high and the kick low and little Norcross gathered in the ball on his eight-yard line. In spite of the most determined effort on the part of Cotton and Taylor, Wilson and Little to hold them, Michigan continued to advance the ball to the center of the field where Hammond fumbled.

Wilson took two and then Schmit was thrown back on a fake play, and Benedict again was forced to punt. Stuart took the ball on the twenty-seven-yard line with no gain. Five short gains and Michigan had to punt out of danger.

Wilson was laid out for the tenth time, but for the tenth time pluckily resumed his position. Lining up on their thirty-seven-yard line, Wilson and Taylor found Michigan’s line inflexible and Benedict booted the ball to the opposing thirty-five yard line. “Octopus Graham had just rolled over for four yards when the whistle blew with a 0 to 0 score.

Michigan came back on the field in the second half with a feeling that it was their time to win. Foxy old Fitzpatrick had his men trained to the fighting edge and the renewal of the struggle found them as good as ever. Nebraska on the other hand was already showing signs of the cruel punishment they were undergoing, and as the half advanced the disparity in condition became more and more evident. Fighting gamely to the bitter end, they were forced back step by step to defeat.

Some Hard Playing.

Colton kicked off against the wind to Reinschild, who was stopped at the thirty-five yard line. Hammond plunged through Taylor for eight and Reinschild, Curtis, and Clarke kept up their merciless pounding tackle plays. Five, four, eight, three, the gains went on.

Twice Cotton and Taylor piled up in front of Joe Curtis and held him to no gain. But the result was inevitable. At the twenty-yard-line, Michigan received a momentary check by Garretts getting offside.

Failing to recover the ground Michigan lined up for place kicks and Tom Hammond, whose good right foot had saved the day for Michigan more than onces, was gain equal to the emergency and the ball went squarely between the goal posts.

Yost smiled for the first time during the game, while the Michigan rooters—men, women, and children—went wild over the foreshadowed doom of Nebraska. While the band played “There Will Be a Hot Time in Ann Arbor Tonight.” This was the beginning of the end.

The second touchdown was scored after a straight series of plunges and tackle smashes. Cotton kicked off to Clarke at the end of the field, who returned to the twenty-six yard line. Clarke, Hammond and Curtis tore hole after hole in the weakened Nebraska line then Norcross broke away for a quarterback run and was only stopped by Morse on the twenty-yard line. Wilson and Longman were laid out twice each, but came back into the game harder than ever.

On the ten-yard line, about ten men got in front of “Octopus” Graham and succeeded in holding him to no gain. But the next down, “Denny” Clark went across the line. Hammond kicked out to Norcross, who missed the catch. Score: 0 to 0.

Doing Good Work.

The game seemed safe but Michigan played harder every minute of play. The quality of ball they put up during the last eighteen minutes of the game would have broken any team down. Nebraska exhausted, beaten, clung to it like a bloodhound and the Wolverines had to fight to win. On the thirteen yard line, they held Michigan once more, but the Wolverines were not to be dined. Starting again harder than ever at the forty-five yard line, they rushed the ball down again to a touchdown and Hammond made the score 15 to 0.

Weeks scored the next Michigan touchdown. The Nebraskans held their opponents to short gains, but were unable to stop them and 16 points were made in the last fifteen minutes. With ten seconds to play, Hammond kicked the last goal from the twenty-five-yard line and the score stood 31 to 0.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 4-5 all-time against Michigan.

See all games »

1905 season (8-2)

Grand Island Sept. 23
South Dakota Oct. 7
Knox Oct. 14
Michigan Oct. 21
Creighton Oct. 28
Iowa State Nov. 4
Colorado Nov. 11
Minnesota Nov. 18
Doane Nov. 25
Illinois Nov. 30

This day in history

Nebraska has played 19 games on Oct. 21. See them all »

©2019 BH Media Group