Kansas 7
Nebraska 3

Nov. 18, 1916 • Lincoln, Neb.

Lack of Decision Causes Cornhusker Defeat, 7 to 3

LINCOLN — For the simple reason that they were bewildered by their own style of football, which apparently bothered them a great deal more than it did their opponents, the Nebraska Cornhuskers today lost their first gridiron battle to the Kansas Jayhawks since 1909.

The final score was 7 to 3.

It is a regrettable thing that so game and willing a bunch of boys should be defeated by an enemy whose sole stock in trade was the willingness to take a chance. There is scarcely a man, woman or child who saw today’s heartbreaking battle who does not believe that Kansas made the best showing.

Yet the official statistics undeniably show that the plucky, starless Huskers actually outplayed their foe at nearly all times and in nearly all departments with the exception of the fatal few minutes in the third period.

Nebraska’s only tally came in the middle of the first period, when Captain Tim Corey booted a delightful kick from placement from the forty-five yard line. The Jayhawkers won a wild and woolly series of spreads and fancy passes, which finally brought the ball to within a foot of the coveted line, at which juncture the feverish Mister Neilsen simply rolled over a pile of struggling humanity for a touchdown. Captain Lindsey kicked out to Woodward, who kicked goal.

It was only in this third period that the Kansas guerillas humbled the struggling Missouri Valley champions — if they may be called that still. Lindsey’s wonderful punting, a fierce and daring series of forward passes, intermeshed with a lot of trick runs and line bucks did the business. Then, Kansas subsided and contented herself with keeping out of danger.

When the damage was done, and the field was lost, the Cornhuskers opened up and made frantic attempts to get somebody away for a spectacular run that would snatch victory from defeat. But it was too late, and to be frank, the Nebraskans were far too crude in their passing to leave much hope for success. The Jayhawkers had tasted blood and fought like educated tigers — carefully but ferociously. The ball was in the middle of the field when the fatal whistle squealed.

Statistics show that Nebraska gained 222 yards to Kansas’ ninety-nine on rushing, and that they made first down eighteen times to Kansas’ seven — but what boots it in the face of the final score.

There is but one thought uppermost in the minds of the football multitude, and that is that Coach Stewart’s new style of game, which eliminates the quarterback and causes the center to pass the ball direct to the carrier and then trot into the play is a failure. It is slow, and has made the ever-speedy Cornhuskers dolefully deliberate. Coupled with a number of fancy shifts which seemed to aid in bewildering the Nebraska athletes, this style seems responsible for a lack of certainty — an indecision that is sure to be fatal against an aggressive and desperate defense.

Time and again shifts and formations were started which had to be called back before the play started, because the Huskers didn’t seem to know just exactly what they were to do. This indisputable fact, coupled with an astonishing lack of machine-work in the few aerial passes attempted, tells the sad yarn.

The tribe from Lawrence went crazy when they realized that at last they had beaten Nebraska, and many of them are now claiming the Valley championship because of this game. That, however, is a matter to be decided later.

From the moment that Captain Lindsey kicked off for Kansas until the end of the first half, at which juncture Captain Corey was standing on Kansas’ forty-five-yard line to attempt another kick from placement, the game seemed to be sailing sweetly along for the Cornhuskers. Except for Lindsey’s magnificent punting, the Huskers had excelled the Lawrence crowd in every department of the game, and straight football, with the Stewart non-quarterback quirk attachment, had brought consistent gains.

Cook, Otoupalik, Rhodes and Gardiner hit the line hard and effectively, and pulled off a number of pretty end runs, although none of them was long enough to be sensational. Burton, the Jayhawk left tackle, came in for more than his share of punishment, as consistent gains were made through his position. After having made three consecutive first downs, Nebraska was held and forced to punt. Kansas took no chances and Lindsey punted back. Then the Cornhusker “nibbling” process began again, until they had the ball well into Kansas territory, when Captain Corey kicked a beautiful goal from placement — forty yards long and a screamer.

This business was repeated, and Corey tried another place kick, which failed. From time to time the Cornhuskers got all balled up with their intricate shifts and curlycews and thingumbobs, but nothing disastrous occurred. It looked like Nebraska’s game during the first two periods, the only danger sign being the Cornhuskers' lack of speed and confidence, and the fact that Kansas had not opened up anything.

Between the halves, Coach “Chauncey” Olcott of Jayhawktown said that things suited him to death. He asserted that Nebraska had done all the work for nothing and that he would now proceed to “show something.” He prophesied that it was Kansas’ game. He was right.

The third period opened with Corey kicking off to Woodward. The Jayhawkers were full of paprika, worcestershire and other feverish condiments. They had met Nebraska’s attack for two periods and weren’t scared a bit. They made good gains on straight football, but finally the Cornhuskers held — and here came the beginning of the tragic end.

Lindsey lifted a terrific punt — fifty yards long and close to Nebraska’s goal. Caley let the ball fall and roll, but Otoupalik touched it — and then let it roll some more! That put the ball in play — which fact, Mister Otoupalik didn’t seem to realize, and Shinn fell on the pigskin on Nebraska’ five-yard-line!

Here the Cornhuskers began to display the one redeeming feature developed by Dr. Stewart — their magnificent and courageous defense. Thrice they threw back the wild Kansans without gain, and then Lindsey tried a forward pass which went over the goal line and resulted in the ball going to Nebraska on her own twenty-yard mark. Gardiner, the Omaha lad, promptly punted out of danger — for the moment.

Then a guy named Fast went into the game for Kansas — and he is certainly bearing an appropriate monicker. What he did was enough. He tore around ends and through tackles something scandalous, and at the same time Messrs. Lindsey, Woodward and Shinn began to heave and receive big, sweeping forward passes — some of them successful.

The ball reached Nebraska’s six-inch line — and Nebraska held once more. It was a magnificent display of heartbreaking nerve on the part of the Cornhuskers. Gardiner was standing nearly ten yards back of his own goal when he hoisted his despairing punt out into the field. It was but prolonging agony. Kansas opened up some more, was held, and Woodward missed a goal from placement.

Caley, the fastest man on the Nebraska team, despite his other sometime faults, got eighteen yards on an end play, but the next attempt resulted in a fumble, upon which Kansas pounced. Then the fast Mister Fast and the busy Mister Nielsen proceeded to hustle the pigskin right back to within a foot of the Cornhusker goal. And on the next play, and for the first time since 1909, a Jayhawk crossed that goal line with the ball under his wing. It was Nielsen.

There were sad features to this fatal affair. Just before the touchdown, Doyle grabbed the ball away from Fast on Nebraska’s five-yard line and ran the length of the field for what looked like a score — only to be called back. It was false joy, and a righteous decision.

The last period — Oh Dear!

With the game safely lost, the Cornhuskers attempted to open up some passes, and it wasn’t an inspiring spectacle. More than once Captain Corey, holding the ball he was expected to flip, continued to hold it until some raging Jayhawk bird came sailing up and nailed him. A few of the passes gained a few yards, but nobody — no Guy Chamberlain — was there to break away and save the day!

Kansas played safe and only clung to the ball and busted up passes as the opportunity came.

It was Nebraska’s homecoming day, and a sad one forsooth. The crowd was over 3,000 strong, which wasn’t much, considering — for the weather was perfect.

A bunch of fine lads were beaten by and at their own game.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Box score (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.

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1916 season (6-2)

Drake Oct. 7
Kansas State Oct. 14
Oregon State Oct. 21
Nebraska Wesleyan Oct. 28
Iowa State Nov. 4
Kansas Nov. 18
Iowa Nov. 25
Notre Dame Nov. 30

This day in history

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