The Great Cornhusker Football Eleven—From a Photo Taken Just Before the Start of the Big Michigan Game. Top Row— E. Frank, Warner, Gibson and O. Frank. Bottom Row—Lofgren, Harmon, Pearson, Elliott, Anderson, Shonka and Chauner.
Score Is 6 to 6 in One of the Most Exciting Games Ever Played by the Varsity
Purdy Makes the Down for Scarlet and Cream
In a Kicking Contest Michigan Scores First but Nebraska Evens Up
Nebraska 6 – Michigan 6
Lincoln, Neb., Nov. 25—Michigan came into Nebraska like a lion, but today she is leaving it like the meekest lamb of Bo Peep’s celebrated flock. Touted as the most formidable and ferocious football aggregation of the middle west, Fielding Yost’s Wolverines proved no match for Jumbo Stiehm’s Cornhuskers, who played them to a tie on the varsity field at Lincoln this afternoon. The final score was half a dozen apiece, but Michigan was so grievously outclassed by the home folks that a comparison would be an insult to Stiehm’s great fighting machine.
The unrelenting individual score will show that each team made one touchdown and kicked into goals, but there are 8,000 raving maniacs who saw the wonderful conflict who know that Nebraska really made two touchdowns and that only the direst misfortune which could possibly have confronted them, lost the additional tallies. In the first quarter, on a forward pass from Quarterback Jerry Warner, Owen Frank ran thirty yards for a touchdown, only to learn that time had been called before the play had been started. No whistle announced the end of the quarter, but the official ruling had to stand, and it cost the Cornhuskers the nominal victory, although they won the practical one.
Michigan had no chance at all, and the most heart-rending part of the whole glorious affair is that she should have scored the six slender points credited her. This narrow half-dozen resulted from Captain Conklin’s block of Gibson's punt in the third quarter, when he recovered the ball on the twenty-yard line and ran the short distance across the chalk. He immediately kicked goal and Nebraska’s stock went way down.
Nebraskans Fought Like Demons
Infuriated by the disgusting luck which seemed to pursue them, Stiehm’s men flew into the affray like demons, and in less than five minutes, recovering the ball within thirty yards of the Wolverines’ goal on a fumble. Purdy made a trio of tremendous line bucks which carried the egg across the line, and brought joy to Nebraska hearts.
The most remarkable piece of nerve of the entire game then was exhibited. The ball was in a far corner, and presented an appalling angle to the posts. Purdy coolly kicked out to Gibson, who scarcely had to move a muscle, and Gibson made the last point of the game by kicking goal.
In the last quarter, when the hundreds, aye thousands, of Michigan rooters were calling for one of the famed slaughters which Yost’s men occasionally pull off at a crucial moment, Nebraska showed her undoubted superiority by simply playing the feared visitors off their feet. By deliberate, though speedy, stages, the ball was driven remorselessly to within eight yards of the enemy’s goal line. It was first down, but a forward pass was ordered, which failed. This left the ball in the same place as before, directly in front of the two enticing goal posts, and Owen Frank was called upon for an attempt for a field goal. The pass was bad, striking the ground first, but he got the ball into the air in excellent shape. It missed the mark about ten feet to the left, and Nebraska's last chance was gone.
Lincoln was simply a riot by noon, and every public place was jammed with gaily bedecked visitors. The hotels were so crowded that it was as difficult for an innocent traveling man to get out as it was for an eager football fan to get in. By 1 o’clock the throng was drifting to the field of battle, and by 2:15 o’clock the stands and all available space was crammed to the uttermost. The Michigan unfortunates entered the field at 2:30 o’clock and the Cornhuskers arrived ten minutes later. The noise was appalling. It was not until 2:47 that Bogle of Michigan kicked off, however, Nebraska having won the toss. Previous to this momentous event, Governor Aldrich likewise kicked off, as a formal opening of the huge event. He was doubtless selected for the reason that nobody has anything on him as a kicker.
It was with fear and trembling that the wearers of the Cornhuskers’ colors watched their darlings’ first attack on the Michiganders. The fear was not justified, however, for from the first toot of the whistle Coach Stiehm’s men fairly swamped the ferocious foe. Erny Frank promptly took the ball around left end for five yards at a brisk canter and then permitted his brother, Owen, one of the greatest backs Nebraska ever owned, to duplicate the order for eight yards. When everything was coming Nebraska’s way, some penalties interfered and Gibson was forced to punt.
Thomson returned the punt after Michigan's touted giants had found Nebraska too stiff a foe. It was in this one department of the game that the Ann Arbor crowd excelled, for Thomson did certainly out-kick Gibson and Frank to beat the band. The figures show that he averaged forty-six yards in sixteen punts, while the Cornhusker boot experts got but an average of forty yards in their thirteen kicks. Aside from this, Michigan was outclassed.
As for Thomson, who has been a candidate for the position of All-American fullback, if he has done no better than he did yesterday in the all around game, it is hard to see what claim he has on this great honor. He could not gain ground, while his defense was far from difficult for Stiehm’s men to solve. He was a disappointment.
But of all the disappointments, the greatest was to come in this first quarter, as heretofore suggested. After war of punts, and a few passages at arms in which Nebraska electrified her supporters by the seeming ease with which she broke up Yost’s formidable play and made successes of her own, Michigan secured the ball following a punt and put McMillan and Thomson across several chalk line bars until the thirty-five-yard line was reached. Here Bogle attempted a place kick, which was a dismal failure. Gibson punted from the twenty-five-yard line. For a time McMillan and Smith made a few gains, but Thomson had to boot again. Owen Frank girded up his loins and got busy, and in a few minutes the ball was in Michigan’s territory. The throng was wild with enthusiasm, but went simply insane when Quarterback Jerry Warner executed a perfect forward pass to Ernest Frank, who dodged thirty yards or so for a touchdown.
The stands and their immense cargoes seemed to become alive and the shrieks of delight must have been heard at Omaha. The bitter pill which had to be swallowed when it was learned that the play had started after time had been called for the first quarter pretty nearly choked everybody to death and Coach Stiehm seemed in favor of hanging the officials at daybreak. A long wrangle ensued in which the timekeeper, field judge and everybody else who had a hand in the affair were unfavorably mentioned, to say the least. When the battle of verbiage was over so was the period of rest, and the second quarter began. The Cornhuskers had been cheated of a well-earned victory by as tough a piece of luck as ever visited a really winning team.
The way the two genuine touchdowns were made has been described, but no words could picture the supremacy the Cornhuskers showed over their overrated opponents. Coach Stiehm switched men freely during the conflict, some for injuries and some merely for a rest, to return in the next quarter. Each man put in seemed as good as his predecessor and it would appear that it is really a fact that Nebraska’s “scrubs” are as good as the varsity.
The Great Owen Frank
Owen Frank, playing his last game for his college, shone with wondrous luster. He worked like a demon and was relieved for awhile because he became so tired that a rest as absolutely imperative. When he returned he was as fresh as ever and as valuable. His work through the tackles, around the ends and occasionally through the line was of such a caliber that it is not strange that Yost pronounced him one of the greatest players he had seen in the west in two years.
Purdy relieved E. Frank in the second quarter and from that time until the end of the game as the star, if a star could be picked from Stiehm’s undeniable bunch of wonders. He is a plunger pure and simple, and, although Michigan's line outweighed Nebraska’s some six pounds to the man, he found or constructed great holes and galloped through like a pile driver. It was he who mauled his way in three plays across Michigan’s line and then calmly executed the kickout, enabling Gibson to kick he goal which won the game. His work was clean, but he was as aggressive as a tiger in pursuit of a noonday luncheon and was as susceptible to argument.
Warner and Potter, who ran the team from quarterback at different times, exhibited rare judgment, and Warner particularly was strong in offense. Captain Shonka was a veritable fort in the line and his dashes toward Michigan’s goal were numerous and spectacular and commanded the respect of the most cynical of the eastern critics on the field. It was likewise his final appearance in a Cornhusker uniform, and he retires with as great a record as any of his predecessors ever held. Chauner, at end, was fast as lightning and actually came down so fast under Gibson’s and Frank’s punts that he often missed his man on account of this speed. His work in recovering fumbles amply made up for this, however. Brother Ernest of the famous Frank family was wonderful in his speed, being in the game twice and doing himself great credit. He will be a star with Nebraska next year.
Passing Was Weak
The passing of Elliott and Hornberger was not what it should have been, especially on the kicks, some of Gibson’s punts being seriously hampered by the ball coming to him far too high. It was this, perhaps, which resulted in the blocking of a punt and Michigan’s touchdown in the third quarter. Hornberger relieved Anderson at left guard, but played offensive center during that time.
Of the Wolverines, it would be difficult to pick an individual star, since none had a chance to do anything, their cleverest plans being promptly nipped in the bud on all occasions. The much advertised Craig had little show, although he did pull off a few short runs. Captain Conklin saved his team when he blocked Gibson’s punt, recovered the ball, made a touchdown and then kicked goal. This was the most notable, although grossly fortunate performance of a visiting player. Smith did good work and Thomson’s punting was superior, while McMillan was strong at quarter. Nothing superlative could be said about any of them, however.
To put the matter clearly: in spite of odds of 100 to 15, or even 100 to 10, freely offered in Lincoln or Michigan, Yost’s men were completely outclassed in yesterday’s game. It may be that they were stale or worried by the injuries met by some of their members in the past, but the absence of Wells could scarcely account for the slow and inefficient game they put up. On the other hand, Nebraska was on its toes all the time, and produced a grueling, grilling sort of a battle which would win nine times out of ten against any team in the world. Coach Stiehm is to be congratulated.
Lincoln in Turmoil
Lincoln was certainly in a turmoil after the game—as well as before. Special trains brought in immense cargoes of human freight and the regular caravans were simply bulging with football enthusiasts. Manager Eager says that he couldn’t have put another man into the field for $10 a head.
Before the game and city was a seething mass of happy and expectant cranks. Afterward it was full of racing maniacs, so happy that they didn’t care if anything ever happened on the great wide world again. The tremendous showing of Michigan rooters, as a general thing, took the special trains out of town as soon as practicable, for they were subject to a good deal of guying. The Wolverine team left for Ann Arbor in the evening. The Burlington put on an extra train at 11:30 o’clock to accommodate the hundreds who hunkered to shake the dust of Lincoln from their feet.
It was a great game—and won by Nebraska, no matter what the score shows.
And will it put the Cornhuskers on next year’s football map?