Nebraska 16
Iowa 7

Nov. 21, 1914

Vic Halligan’s Toe Saves Cornhuskers



Note: Parts of this story are illegible.

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Iowa City, Ia., Nov. 21—Only by the will of their captain were Stiehm’s celebrated Cornhuskers able to beat the Hawkeyes this afternoon on the football field.

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Iowa fought them to a standstill and the Nebraska line never held long enough for Chamberlain to get away for any distance, nor for Rutherford to get a start through the tackles. Gross, the stingy little Hawkeye quarterback, took all the honors of the day by his wonderful running and sterling generalship. It is well for Jumbo Stiehm and his Missouri Valley titleholders that Gross is not wins. Two of him would have ruined us.

It is hard to say, but nevertheless the truth that Nebraska played the sort of game that nobody likes to see. They were off side time and again, so apparently violating the rules that even the Cornhusker rooters had to lie right down and play dead. Rough play was all on Nebraska’s side, it would seem, and just what was the matter with Stiehm’s popular heroes would make interesting reading for those who saw today’s medium boiled victory.

To Captain Halligan, playing his last game with the far-famed-and-feared Cornhuskers, must go the credit for this afternoon’s win. With nearly everybody else up in the air, swelled with pride or indolent with overconfidence, it remained for Victor Halligan, victor in deed as well as in name, to rescue his eleven from a defeat which threatened as surely in the last period as in the first. Captain Halligan booted the ball for three place kicks squarely between the posts, one each in the first, second and fourth periods. The little dabs of gravy, three points at a time, came when they were highly appreciated, believe me.

Hawley’s boys came out to fight, and if they didn’t make Nebraska look like a bunch of plow boys of the western world, Hades isn’t a mile from here. Captain Vic added up nine points all by his lonesome, and Potter managed to nudge himself across the final Iowa chalk line for a touchdown in the third period. Then the Stiehmrollers rolled over again and went peacefully to sleep.

Here’s What Halligan Did

Just to show how the North Platte hero conducted things, here is the score by periods:

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Iowa’s score came as the sun was setting back of the scrub oaks across the river, which runs along the very edge of the field.

Parson intercepted a pass, started by Chamberlain, and Green promptly manipulated a little trick which gathered in twenty yards right off the reel. With the oval on Nebraska’s forty-yard line, Gross made a swell pass to Carberry, who toppled over the Cornhusker goal just as the boatload of outraged champions fell upon him. It was the fourth period and the Nebraska delegation was just beginning to feel pretty comfortable. The jolt came so suddenly that a deathly silence fell over the Cornhusker stands, for they realized that another such wallop would mean defeat for the strangely paralyzed crew from Lincoln.

Then, as twice before, Victor Halligan of North Platte came ambling back from his tackle and squirted another little kick from placement, this time from the thirty-eight-yard line. When the last whistle squeaked a few minutes afterward nobody was as relieved as the trembling Nebraska excursionists, who realized that Halligan’s hoof and the Kornhusker Klamet were all that had prevented an unexpected and inexplicable defeat.

They laughed at us down here today. They kidded the actors a whole lot about the Cornhusker post-season game with Harvard. They asked us to beat some of the business colleges and normal schools before we talked Cambridge stuff, and incessantly urged Iowa to “fight ‘em.” They fought, they fought, and would have surely won, were it not for Victor Halligan. They made Nebraska’s valley champions look like a bunch of punks, and the championship stars like so many lemons.

Guy Chamberlain, who has run riot through every aggregation yet combated the valley bosses, could not follow his interference, ran back almost every time, and was talked for big losses about as often as he managed to gain a paltry stride or two. Dick Rutherford, the other “big squeeze,” played grand football, but erratic. Once or twice he was most apparently rough, and was in for the howling of the populace. But Dick was game, and although flattened senseless on the ground three or four times, was in the ruction at the finish.

The Coach Has One Excuse

Coach Stiehm has one excuse—a good one, perhaps—but one which has not been required to cover such disappointing things before. Rutherford was very much jammed up when he entered the game, while neither Potter nor Halligan nor Chamberlain were entirely without hurts.

Referee Walter Ekersall, after the game, made this remark:

“I have worked behind Michigan, Illinois and Notre Dame this season, and I will truthfully say that I have not seen a better team than Nebraska this year. I saw this, taking everything into consideration. I will say, to my own knowledge, that Rutherford was a very sick man during today’s game and that scarcely a man on the Cornhusker team was in first-class condition. You could see that Chamberlain was hampered because of the weakness of the line and the lack of suitable interference. Taking the condition of Stiehm’s men into consideration, I believe they played a remarkable match. The power was there, but the engines were running slowly.”

The day was perfect, and the crowd was a large one at Iowa field. Both bands paraded the gridiron and serenaded the populace while the officials and captains squared off for the final racket of the season. Breuckner finally kicked off to Rutherford, who returned to the middle of the field in a remarkable gallop through the enemy’s outposts. This flash of form was merely a flash, however, for neither Chamberlain nor Rutherford nor Delametre could start a successful play, so fierce was the Hawkeye attack and so mushy the Nebraska line.

From the start to finish the valley champions seemed unable to keep on side and were penalized seven times for 230 yards, while Iowa was soaked five times for less than 200 yards.

Halligan tried his first field goal in the early moments of the first period, and the attempt failed. Iowa took the ball on her own twenty-yard mark, and Gross, the grandest little runner opposing Nebraska in the past four years, made about as good a showing as a celluloid dog chasing an asbestos rabbit through a blast furnace. Breuckner dropped back for a fake punt, and Gross fumbled. It was the Stiehmroller’s ball on Iowa’s ten-yard line. Nebraska fumbled and Halligan recovered. Rutherford slipped while rounding right, and, with a comparatively open field, but then dove into Halligan’s tackle and took the ball within eighteen inches of Hawley’s goal. There the pigskin stayed, for the boys from home could not deliver the goods. While the Hawkeye fans held their breath until their faces were as red as a washer-woman’s finger. Breuckner punted into safe territory.

Gains Are Made Again

Again Chamberlain, and Rutherford, neither of them in form, hiked the ball a little way toward the ultimate streak of chalk, but the Nebraska line sprung a-leak and forced Halligan to attempt another field goal from placement, Rutherford holding the leather on the twenty-five-yard mark. This time Captain Vic did the horrible act, and relieved his fellow statesmen a great deal. Score: Nebraska 3, Iowa 0.

Halligan kicked off, and then it became apparent that Nebraska had overlooked an elegant opportunity when she failed to score in the first few minutes of play, for the Hawkeyes bit into the Cornhusker defense as if they liked it. Gross and Garretson and Donnelly ripped around something scandalous and seemed to have the corn-fed champions on the hip when Potter knocked down a forward pass and gave the Stiehmrollers the ball on their own twenty-five-yard line. The first period ended here, with nobody from west of the Missouri river feeling any too gay.

Howard booted an ornery little punt that went outside right away and didn’t get anything but ten yards and a lot of abuse. The Omaha boy, playing his last game, was good and bad in spots, both in tackling and kicking, but he certainly was the whole factory when it came to receiving forward passes. He caught six of Nebraska’s seven completed passes, Halligan grabbing the others.

Iowa fans barked for a touchdown, and their vicious backfield tried to oblige them. First down a was made a couple of times, but the vacillating Cornhusker line finally held, and Parson missed an attempt at a field goal from placement. Iowa resumed the attack after Howard had punted, and Parsons soon missed another kick. The Stiemrollers spruced up and likewise opened up. A series of forward passes gobbled fifteen and twenty yards at a time, but Iowa held on her thirty-yard line, whereupon Captain Halligan added up three points more by booting the oval squarely between the posts from placement. Nebraska 6, Iowa 0; the ended here.

There were a lot of high jinks on the field between the halves, to the accompaniment of music furnished by the bands. Coach Stiehm attempted to chide his off-form champs into action, but they took their places with none of the paprika that characterized them during the Kansas and Michigan games.

And Then Came Explosion

Halligan kicked off to Donnelly, who ran back to the center. The Iowa backs gained steadily. The Cornhuskers held only when the Hawkeyes had the ball on the thirteen-yard line, Rutherford intercepting Donnelly’s forward pass. It was Nebraska’s ball on her own twenty-yard line. Howard punted and then Iowa attempted the famous, or infamous spread play, Rutherford spilling Parsons heavily and injuring himself in the process. Carbarry punted and shortly Nebraska had the ball on her own two-yard line, after having been penalized for offside play and holding. Howard kicked out of danger, and the procession again started Nebraskaward. Doyle went for Delamatre and promptly intercepted a forward pass. Doyle further distinguished himself by hitting the line for two plunges of three yards each, and then Potter took seventeen on a delayed pass. A forward pass, Potter to Howard, garnered eighteen fathoms and Rutherford and Chamberlain pecked five-yard holes in the Hawkeye line until the ball was on the Iowa two-foot demarkation. Quarterback Potter surged through for Stiehm’s only touchdown. The Nebraska delegation kicked a lot of holes in the concrete grandstands while Halligan kicked out to Potter, and then kicked goal, score: Nebraska 13, Iowa 0.

Hawkins and Seizer were sent in for Potter and Rutherford, while Kerwick replaced Donnelly and Jacobson replaced Barron. Hawkins and Seizer did remarkably good work during their brief period of official existence and the quarter ended with the ball in the possession of the Stiehmrollers on Iowa’s forty-yard line.

Rutherford and Potter took their old places in the last quarter, but Nebraska could not get into action. Two forward passes failed, and then Halligan missed a place kick from the fifty-yard line, Rutherford recovering the ball for a two-yard gain which was good business, as Potash and Perimutter might say.

Eventually the Valley champs lost the ball through inability to get together and Iowa opened up with a vengeance. Forward passes chewed great holes in Nebraska’s defense. Kerwick shot to Carberry over the goal line, but the latter gent thankfully dropped the ball. Thus Stiehm was temporarily saved from an adverse score. Barron went back for Jacobson and Denlo replaced Breuckner.

Halligan Kicked Off

About this time there was an explosion. Halligan had just passed to Howard for a twenty-five-yard gain, when Parsons intercepted the next heave from Chamberlain. Trick plays took the ball to the Cornhusker thirty-five-yard line and Gross executed a swell forward pass to Carberry for a touchdown. Carberry kicked out to Wills and Parsons kicked goal. Score, Nebraska 13, Iowa 7.

Well, mister, this made things look sort of gloomy for us. With the Hawkeyes cutting up most of Stiehm’s pet plays as if they were on the menu every day at the Jefferson hotel, in Iowa City, the prospects were not what you might call rosy. A touchdown by Iowa would tie and probably lose the game. Willis kicked off and Nebraska was immediately penalized for fifteen yards. Rutherford made ten yards through tackle and Chamberlain grabbed off eight. A forward pass, Halligan to Howard, was good for twenty-five. Then the Cornhusker line began to leak again and Captain Halligan nailed down the bacon by kicking his third goal from placement, this time from the thirty-eight-yard line. The game ended a few second later with the final score Nebraska 16, Iowa 7.

It was not a glorious victory, but it was a victory, nevertheless. Nebraska did so well that it was too bad she could not have done better. She gained 401 yards from snapback against Iowa’s 322, and made first down seventeen times as against Iowa’s ten. She completed seven out of fifteen attempted forward passes the Stiehmrollers gained 153 yards as against Iowa’s seventy. Nebraska was penalized 110 yards and Iowa forty-five yards, while Howard punted seven times for 280 yards and Iowa five times for 202 yards.

More coverage

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Series history

Nebraska is 29-17 all-time against Iowa.

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1914 season (7-0-1)

Washburn Oct. 3
South Dakota Oct. 10
Kansas State Oct. 17
Michigan State Oct. 24
Iowa State Oct. 31
Morningside Nov. 7
Kansas Nov. 14
Iowa Nov. 21

This day in history

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