Nebraska 7
Minnesota 0

Oct. 18, 1913 • Nebraska Field, Lincoln, Neb.

Nebraska University Defeats Gophers in Fierce Gridiron Battle

The Nebraska Lineup Just Before the Game.

Clean Conquest Over Vikings; Score, 7 to 0

Superb Generalship, Lucky Forward Passes and Warren Howard’s Magnificent Kicking Win Game for Nebraska

Doc Williams’ Men Have Everything Their Own Way for Just Three Minutes, Then Cornhuskers Play Football

Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 18—Breaking up the best plays the desperate Doc Williams could concoct, and massing the cream of their attack at the one moment in the game when they had a chance to score, “Jumbo” Stiehm’s greatly underrated Cornhuskers won a magnificent victory over the ferocious Gophers on Nebraska field this afternoon, 7 to 0.

Their victory over Minnesota, the second in the history of the school, and one of the grandest football surprises ever sprung on an unsuspecting fandom, was no fluke. It was gained in the third period by a perfectly legitimate transaction, following a desperate fight against the Gophers’ much vaunted attack.

Towle had attempted a kick from placement on the thirty-yard line. The pigskin missed the left bar by a couple of yards, and Shaughnessy kicked out to Thompson in the center of the field, Bob returning ten yards. Rutherford took fifteen around right on a forward pass and a couple of line bucks garnered a mite of distance. Another forward pass, from Warren Howard to Beck, gathered in twenty yards more. The stands were in an uproar.

Then Towle coolly repeated his performance and Beck, pouncing upon the flying oval, dashed speedily across the goal line, being thrown by about half a dozen furious Gophers—a moment too late.

Towle kicked out to Howard and then kicked an easy goal. Nebraska 7, Minnesota 0.

Nebraska in Danger Twice

Nebraska was in danger but twice, the first being the worst. Captain Aldworth of the lumberjacks won the toss and chose to kick to the west, defending the east goal. Tollefson booted the ball far down the field and Howard promptly punted fifty yards. Then Minnesota marched, by long and terrifying gains, to the Cornhuskers’ three-yard line.

With an apparently certain touchdown staring them in the face, Stiehm’s men, encouraged by the fighting Captain Purdy, held like a battlement, and Howard’s too soon had averted the one great crisis of the conflict.

There can be little doubt that had the Gophers made this touchdown the ginger and pepper of the downstate lads would have suffered a serious deterioration, which would probably have resulted in defeat. Having felt their oats, however, Stiehm’s grievously unappreciated beauties lost all possible fear of the Vikings and busted big holes in old Doc Williams’ pet plots with a reckless and careless abandon that made the notable medicine man shudder from top to toe.

Purdy Stops

In the final period, with the game seemingly clinched by Nebraska, the Gophers again showed signs of life, and for a time sent a lot of cold shivers up the Cornhuskers’ spinal columns. They waltzed right down to the twenty-yard line and the home folks seemed to be all balled up. Then Captain Purdy thoughtfully discovered a terrible misery in his knee or ankle, he couldn’t quite decide which, and by the time he had recovered from this agony, his boys were on the job again and the game was saved.

During the seance Minnesota gained 268 yards in carrying the ball, as against the Cornhuskers’ 142 yards. Nebraska was penalized twenty-two yards, as against the Gophers’ ten, but Warren Howard punted nine times for a total of 365 yards—an average of over forty yards a kick—while Tollefson punted four times for a total of 120 yards—an average of thirty.

Thus it is shown that Warren Howard, the stalwart Omaha boy, and his trusty toe, coupled with Nebraska’s sterling defense in the pinches, brought victory once again to the camp of the scarlet and cream.

Credit Due Stiehm

With this epoch-making victory, snatched from the gloomy depths of the sincerest kind of discouragement, fills Nebraska with more glee than would be derived from a similar conquest of Yale, Harvard or the Northwestern School of Taxidermy, it carries a far weightier result than that.

When Coach E. O. Stiehm came to the Cornhusker college two years ago, he was an unknown quantity as an athletic instructor. His first football team, captained by Shonka, tied “Hurry-Up” Yost’s fearsome Wolverines on Nebraska field, 6-6. It was virtually a victory for the westerners, as a clean touchdown was not allowed, time having been announced, but not communicated to the teams.

Jealous persons, whose motives are still a mystery, refused to give Stiehm credit for this remarkable performance. They said he had been presented with a team prepared and drilled by the previous coach. Last year he had little veteran material and the eleven made no great showing. This year the downward march seemed still in progress, and then Jumbo told the throng at the Commercial club rally Friday that he would win the Minnesota game, he was actually hooted, in a mild sort of way.

Nobody presented him with this grand, fighting aggregation! Nobody taught those hardy youngsters how to play football—except Stiehm. He had ex-captains and assistant, volunteer coaches, to help him in his difficult task, but the play, the spirit and the victory were all his, and the anvil chorus, it is probable, is now relegated to “Il Trovatore,” where it justly belongs.

Warren Howard a Winner

The actual victory accomplished on Nebraska field, however, must be credited largely to Warren Howard of Omaha, and once a star of the Omaha High School team.

Seemingly built for an ideal end, Howard was placed at fullback, which brought down considerable criticism on the head of Coach Stiehm. That Jumbo’s judgment, as usual, was entirely correct was proven in the way Warren handled himself in this weighty and important office. While none of the Cornhusker backs could do anything with the Gopher line, Howard engineered many pretty open plays, worked two or three beautiful fake kicks, was the pivot in several valuable forward passes and punted with the power of an enraged mule.

He opened his engagement with three straight punts of over fifty yards, and in his nine kicks during the day averaged over forty yards. His tenth try brought him a high pass from center and he took no chances, hurling the ball by hand thirty yards down the field and outside, gaining nearly as much as he would with his good dexter hoof. In defense he was adamant.

Quarterback Towle engineered his crackerjack machine with a craftiness and skill that would have brought joy to the heart of General Grant. Realizing quickly the points in Doc Williams’ defense that were unsolvable by his men, young Towle avoided them most religiously, and sprung a bunch of new stuff that actually bewildered the northland wanderers.

Beck and Purdy

Left End Beck, who is credited with the only touchdown of the game, displayed startling brilliancy at times, and his judgment of throws in the riot of the several forward passes was remarkable. It was this judgment that made possible Nebraska’s glowing conquest of the Gophers and all honor must be done him. Rutherford, the doughty and heavy left half, found and made big holes outside the Minnesota tackles, which, by the way, seemed to be the vulnerable spot in the visitors’ defense.

As for Captain Purdy there isn’t much to be said except that he stopped the onward marches of the Gophers time and again by his slashing dives into mass plays and by breaking up interference. He did not exert himself as much as usual in carrying the ball, since his able lieutenants seemed well able to take care of that department, but when the enemy threatened, Purdy was paramount. His future bride, Miss Rachel Kilpatrick of Beatrice, was in a box in the grandstand, and as he clapped his comrades on the back and encouraged them to further efforts for the scarlet and cream he never was at a loss for time to wave her an assuring salute. His confidence was felt by the team and was of great value. A few more battles on the gridiron and Captain Purdy will leave the Cornhuskers for another team, with this patriotic girl as partner.

Only Two Substitutes

It is remarkable that Coach Stiehm did not find it necessary to make a single change in his lineup through the entire conflict. Coach Williams, in the last half, sent in Mattern for A. Blerman at right half, and B. Blerman for Shaughnessy at fullback. There can be little doubt, judging from the hasty conference the medicine man hold with these substitutes before suddenly establishing them on the field, that he put them in merely for the purpose of carrying his instructions to his already half-beaten lumberjacks. It was the irony of fate that these two message-bearers, immediately upon taking up the cudgels, each made fumbles of the most disastrous brand. Williams claims that Shaughnessy was injured, but the Irishman didn’t act much like it.

Tollefson and McAlmon were the Gopher stars. The former, touted as he was, found himself unable to get away for anything particularly brilliant in the line of runs, but he broke up many plays and ran his team fairly well. His punts were not good, being far too tall and ill placed. Robertson’s passing to him was not of the best, it must be admitted, he sailing the pigskin clear over Tollefson’s head at the critical juncture in the third period. It was on the fourth down. The northerner recovered the ball, but it went to Nebraska. Then came Towle’s attempt at kick from placement and, eventually, the touchdown. If Robertson had passed to Tollefson so that the punt could have been gotten away, the result would probably have been a tie, with no scores.

Rosenthal, at right guard for the Gophers, was a regular battering ram and had no difficulty in handling Ross, the colored Cornhusker boy, almost at will. He made great holes through Ross’ position and it was there that Minnesota made many of its gains. Abbott, the other Nebraska guard, the Gophers found to be impregnable.

Mastin Story a Trick

That Mastin, after all the hullabaloo about his drop kick prowess, was not even called upon for an attempt, was due to the fact that he wasn’t supposed to be. As a matter of fact, the Mastin drop kick story was framed by Coach Stiehm to fool the Gophers. A trick play had been built around his possible trial and would have been used had it been deemed necessary. Mastin couldn’t kick a toy balloon over a yardstick, so they say, but is mighty clever at the trick stuff.

Of all the mighty conflicts between the Cornhuskers and the Gophers, this was the cleanest. There was no trouble with the officials, little penalization, no real injuries and no ill feeling.

Captain Purdy now ranks with Captain Westover, who accomplished the only other Nebraska defeat of Minnesota eleven years ago on Nebraska field, 6 to 0. After Saturday’s game the crazed football bugs carried Purdy off the field on their shoulders and very nearly beat him to death with their caresses.

The cheering was well-organized, Ralph Johnson being cheermaster for the Minnesota contingent and Billy Kavan of Omaha for the Nebraskans. The Cornhusker chief rooters were dressed all in white, with crimson sashes.

Game Held for Omahans

Although the game was to have started at 2:30 o’clock it was held until nearly 3 for the arrival of the special train from Omaha. After the game this special was held until the disgruntled Gophers had washed up and entered their private car, which was then attached to the train. The Great Western train for Minneapolis was held at Omaha for the arrival of the special, and the defeated lumberjacks ate their sad supper on the diner en route.

It is an interesting fact that on the request of General Passenger Agent Wakely the Burlington special to the game made the run seven minutes under schedule time in order that the Omahans might arrive at the field before the kickoff.

After the game the delirious Nebraska rooters, including students and grizzled graduates down for the homecoming, proceeded to attempt to move Lincoln out of Nebraska, or, at least, to turn it upside down. Never in many years has so much enthusiasm been shown. This is considered the greatest of all Cornhusker victories.

Manager Reed estimated the attendance at 11,500.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 25-33 all-time against Minnesota.

See all games »

1913 season (8-0)

Washburn Oct. 4
Kansas State Oct. 11
Minnesota Oct. 18
Haskell Oct. 25
Iowa State Nov. 1
Nebraska Wesleyan Nov. 8
Kansas Nov. 15
Iowa Nov. 22

This day in history

Nebraska has played 19 games on Oct. 18. See them all »

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