Minnesota 13
Nebraska 0

Oct. 19, 1912 • Northrop Field, Minneapolis

Gophers Defeat Cornhuskers in Fierce Conflict



Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 19—Losing possession of the ball on Minnesota’s two-yard line, Nebraska saw the Gopher halfback, McAlmon, race ninety-eight yards to place the ball between goal posts for the touchdown that won the game.

Outplaying Minnesota in almost every point of the game. Nebraska saw itself decisively beaten by two lucky touchdowns. The first came after two fortunate plays of Minnesota giving them the ball on Nebraska’s nineteen-yard line. Referee Masker then picked up the ball and marched down to the Cornhusker four-yard line as a penalty for alleged holding. McAlmon of Minnesota went over on the fourth down.

Nebraska fought its way to the Minnesota two-yard line and after trying two line bucks, tried two forward passes in an attempt to score. McAlmon intercepting one was the first instance of a fleeting shadow of Maroon and Gold and Minnesota had scored. Woefully weak in almost every place, the line of Nebraska was again and again pierced for heavy gains. Through the center Allan played a good game, but the guards were unable to aid him sufficiently to prevent the slippery McAlmon from reeling off eight to ten yards at a time off the tackle or inside the tackle.

Doc Williams had developed two plays that were irresistible in force. Time and again tackles of Nebraska were forced aside while Minnesota went through for short gains. Harmon and Pearson proving easy victims in their crippled condition. The weakness in defense of Nebraska was not as great as when the Cornhuskers carried the ball, the linesmen proving unable to open up a hole anywhere. The ... line that South Dakota and ... found in Minnesota did not exist.

Doc’s Famous Shifts

Coach Williams’ famous shift was in full action. Three men were on the line when signals were called — a single shift and the ball was shot to the quarterback.

Howard of Omaha played a strong and heavy game. His punting was better than Tollefson’s and his work on breaking up interference soon deterred Minnesota form attempting to round the ends any more. But it was Howard’s work as interference in forward pass work that brought Nebraska many yards. He and Halligan working with Purdy in assisting the speedy halfback to long gains. Nebraska worked well on the forward pass, finding this branch of the game greatly to its liking, and most of its yards were made in this way. Purdy proved the most successful recipient of the sphere, getting away for several gains of twenty to twenty-five yards. Lack of confidence with the forward pass proved the savior of Minnesota. Purdy proved the best of Nebraska’s ground gainers,

McAlmon a Star

McAlmon and Erdell ganed the greater part of Minnesota yards. McAlmon was by far the best man to lug the ball on the team, but Tobin and Erdell outplayed him in defensive play. Minnesota’s secondary defense proved much better than its line.

Nebraska was penalized a total of eighty yards to Minnesota’s fifteen. The greater part of the penalties were for alleged holding, the referee’s definition of holding catching Nebraska hard and exempting Minnesota.

Doc Williams could lay to ... to having developed the game in the line of the forward pass or in speedy work around the ends, neither branch of the game being demonstrated with any degree of success. The Gophers simply confined themselves to experiments in open work and made their gains through the weak line. In punting Howard worked yards ahead of Tollefson, and after the first quarter few of the Gophers ever returned a punt but a short distance.

Two Favorites Out

Harmon, the big right tackle on the Cornhusker tine, was forced to leave the game on account of trouble with the injury received to his ankle last Saturday, as was Mastin on account of his shoulder. Tollefson, the Minnesota quarter was knocked breathless in the second quarter, but was back again in the game after the intermission. Otherwise the Gophers’ two weeks’ layoff had placed their men in such good condition that they played straight through.

Nebraska supporters were cast into deep disgust that after having produced a team that really proved itself superior to the Minnesota eleven the fates should have turned the victory with such a decisive score over the Gophers. One yard more in the third quarter and the Cornhuskers would have placed a victory down against the Maroon and Gold.

Nebraska won the toss and received the west goal. The ball changed hands twice and Nebraska punted to Tollefson, who returned it to the Nebraska thirty-yard line. The referee carried the ball to Nebraska’s fifteen-yard line as a penalty for holding and McAlmon and Erdell brought the ball to within four yards of the goal, where it passed over to Nebraska.

During the rest of the quarter the battle fought back and forth and in the second quarter Frank carried the ball to Nebraska’s thirty-five-yard line on a forward pass. Potter attempted a drop kick, but failed. Nebraska gained eight and ten yards many times, but at the crucial moment Minnesota proved to be strong enough to ward off the blows at the goal. Tollefson was taken out at the last of the first half.

The third quarter Nebraska opened up on the forward passes and Purdy and Frank made two consecutive gains of fifteen yards, but lost the ball on the twenty-five-yard line. Minnesota took the sphere and carried it to the twenty-yard line by a series of wonderfully lucky plays and good work by McAlmon. Penalized fifteen yards, Nebraska proved unable to prevent the Gophers from taking the other four for the touchdown.

Purdy and Frank made runs of fifteen and forty-four yards respectively at the end of the quarter but Nebraska lost the ball again on the thirty-yard line. Tollefson failed at a drop kick and Nebraska then opened up on its best ground gains of the day.

She used all her plays and in a moment was fighting on the Minnesota two-yard line. An unlucky fate again intercepted or Nebraska would at least have tied the score, and McAlmon was down the field for a touchdown. The quarter closed with the score thirteen to nothing and Nebraska had lost a game in which it had outplayed the Gophers for the first time in years.

A crowd of 8,000 people witnessed the game. The bands of both universities were present on the field. Nebraska’s total rooting brigade of 100 did themselves proud in cheering for a victory. In the evening the teams were banqueted by the university club and entertained at the Metropolitan theater.

More coverage

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Series history

Nebraska is 25-33 all-time against Minnesota.

See all games »


1912 season (7-1)

Bellevue Oct. 5
Kansas State Oct. 12
Minnesota Oct. 19
Adrian Oct. 26
Missouri Nov. 2
Doane Nov. 9
Kansas Nov. 16
Oklahoma Nov. 23

This day in history

Nebraska has played 15 games on Oct. 19. See them all »

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