Nebraska Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb. — The Orange eleven of Syracuse university, one of the prizes of eastern football closed its 1923 season Saturday afternoon in what the New Yorkers are pleased to a term a blaze of glory, by triumphing over the Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium, 7 to 0.
It was a hard game to lose, and a great game to win. The Nebraska team, crippled and maimed by injuries received at Ames last week, made a great fight for three quarters. Then weakened by the incessant hammering of the strong Syracuse line and backfield, the Scarlet and Cream forward wall crumbled during the last period, and Meehan’s proteges flashed their great offensive.
Taking the ball on their own twenty-yard line after Rufus Dewitz’ place kick sailed wide of the goal posts. Syracuse passed, plunged and smashed its way down the field eighty yards, Captain McRae snaring a pass from John McBride and crashing his way across the Cornhusker goal for the only touchdown.
It was a battle of two great defensive teams. The Nebraska offensive was hobbled by the injured foot of Big Dave Noble. Noble was limping after the first few plays, but gamely refused to leave the ship; Herb Dewitz, the flashy line plunger and open field runner started the game, but was forced out by his injured hip.
During the first three periods, the Cornhuskers played the Orange off its feet, carrying the ball well into Syracuse territory time and time again only to fail to uncover the winning combination when the Orange goal posts were in sight.
Syracuse was shy the services of Zimmerman, one of its leading ground gainers and star punter. Zimmerman was also on the side lines because of injuries. He did not get in, but Baysinger, a lineman, had the edge in punting with Lewellen. However, Zimmerman was undoubtedly missed by the New Yorkers when it came to ground gaining.
Again we repeat, it was a hard game for Nebraska to lose. The crowd of 25 thousand saw the Nebraska linemen tear through the far-famed Syracuse forward wall and smear the Orange backs for substantial losses throughout the first three quarters.
It witnessed the game struggle of the Nebraska backs to lug the ball goalward, and then fall when their destination was close at hand.
It was the Syracuse back, noted for their ability to skirt the ends, and plunges, hurled back in their attempts to penetrate the Nebraska defense.
But it also witnessed Syracuse sweep down the field by a varied attack and plunge, smash and pass eighty yards to a touchdown — the only time the Orange threatened to score in the sixty minutes of gridiron combat, except in the closing minutes when Nebraska uncorked a desperate aerial display.
The facts and figures of the game are not yet cold from the combat.
Statistics show Nebraska out-yarded the Orange 89 yards to 145 yards.
In line plunging and end runs, Nebraska advanced the ball 171 yards to 68 yards for the Orange.
In forward passing and earned first downs, the Orangemen had the advantage, outdowning the Huskers, 8 to 6, and forward passing for a 59-yard margin.
The forward passing of John McBride was a potent factor in the Syracuse victory. He is one of the best forward passers that has displayed his goods on a Nebraska field for several seasons. McBride’s short flips were shot with bullet-like swiftness, while he placed his long attempts out of reach of Husker interferers.
One of his forward passes started the Syracuse march to victory, while a few minutes later he shot the pass which scored the lone touchdown.
During the first two periods, the Cornhuskers kept the ball constantly in Syracuse territory. Shortly before the first quarter ended, a thirty-three-yard run and cutback by Rufus DeWitz carried the ball to the Syracuse 17-yard line.
Noble and Lewellen added four more yards and the opening period closed with Nebraska in possession of the ball on the Syracuse 13-yard line.
The Huskers tried a pass at the start of the second period, but Rhodes missed connections.
Rufus De Witz then dropped back for a place kick, but his effort sailed wide of the goal posts. A few minutes later Lewellen missed a drop kick from the forty-five-yard line, and Nebraska’s opportunities for the first half were over. A fifteen-yard penalty for holding was disheartening to the Orange during the third period. A brilliant bit of open field running enabled Foley to carry the ball forty-five yards after he had broken the Nebraska line.
Umpire McCarty, however, detected an Orange lineman holding, and the play was disallowed. McBride missed a place kick from the Nebraska thirty-eight-yard line during this period.
Nebraska adherents Saturday night were not denying that it was an earned victory. Syracuse flashed its offensive at the right moment. Any team that can carry the ball eighty yards in a series of first downs earns a touchdown on merit.
And that is exactly what Syracuse accomplished.
The break came in the middle of the fourth quarter, when Rufus De Witz missed a place kick from the Syracuse thirty-two-yard line.
The ball sailed wide of the goal posts, and the Orange put the ball in play on its twenty-yard line.
Foley and McBride plunged for three yards. A pass by McBride was grabbed by Simmons for an even yard gain.
Simmons was working all the plays, with McBride drawn back to a pass formation. Simmons received the ball close behind the line of scrimmage and started off as if to sneak around on an end run. Instead he whirled to pass the ball to McBride, and the Syracuse fullback hurled the passes to the scattered orange-jerseyed warriors.
After losing a yard in a try at the Nebraska line, McBride hurled a pass which fell into the waiting arms of McRae. The aerial display nettet a twenty-seven-yard gain and placed the ball on the Nebraska thirty-eight-yard line.
Simmons and Bowman, alternating in line plunges, negotiated a first down. Bowman reeled off a fourteen-yard gain through a broken field, and the ball was fourteen yards from the Nebraska goal.
The Syracuse backfield lined up as if for a line plunge, but Johnny McBride ran back from the pack and shot a bullet-like pass over the right side of the Nebraska line. A pair of Orange jersied arms shot skyward. It was Captain McRea, who snared the elusive pigskin and crashed the remaining three yards across the final chalkmark. McBride placekicked the extra point.
The Cornhuskers hurriedly uncorked a desperate forward passing attack, but to no avail, for Coach Meehan rushed in his speedy linemen and smothered every attempt.
Syracuse failed to gain through the line, and when McBride’s famous tee kick, sailed wide of the mark, the scoring possibilities were over as far as Nebraska was concerned.
The brilliant open field running of Rufus De Witz and the play of Berquist, Weir and Bassett in the Nebraska line, stood out prominently, while Captain McRea, Baysinger, McBride, Simmons and Starobin featured the Syracuse play.
Nebraska is 5-7 all-time against Syracuse.
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