Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 2 — The Scarlet-jerseyed Cornhuskers evened an old score at Nebraska Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Battling in the opening game of the 1926 campaign, the Nebraska machine swept before it Drake University, winning a decisive victory, 21 to 0.
The Nebraska triumph was achieved in the presence of 10 thousand gridiron enthusiasts, the throng braving a drenching downpour of three hours’ duration which abated only at kickoff time and left the sod turf slippery underfoot.
The teams battled in an Iowa blizzard last fall, Drake emerging with the heavy end of a 14-to-0 score. The Cornhuskers Saturday entered the game vowing to avenge the 1925 defeat and the Beargmen certainly not only turned back the Drake collegians but made them take it.
The Cornhuskers halted Drake in the shadow of the Scarlet and Cream goal posts in the first period; then turned loose a smashing offense which put the Drake forces to rout.
Three times the Nebraska backs drove across the Blue and White goal to earned touchdowns. Fumbles and penalties saved Drake from disaster in two other occasions. Once an electrifying sprint by Glen Presnell for 32 yards sent the Cornhusker halfback across the Drake goal, only to see the ball brought back for the infliction of an off-side penalty. Another possible touchdown was nullified in the closing minutes of play when Wally Marrow, substitute back, broke loose for a 20-yard run, the ball squeezing out of his arms to be downed by a Drake back on the Bulldogs’ 7-yard line.
Nebraska presented an important factor which Cornhusker fans have seldom been privileged to inspect in an opening game — a smooth working and powerful offense.
Drake, apparently set for a stubborn Nebraska defense, seemed taken by surprise when the Beargmen cut loose with a varied attack which combined speed, punch and aerial play. In spite of the constant insertion of reserve troops, the Bolemites were utterly unable to cope with the advance of the Beargmen, the Drake threat being little more than a weak gesture after the first 10 minutes of play.
The Cornhuskers, after watching Drake shoot its bolt in the first period, refused to wait for the “breaks” but went right ahead to make their own opportunities.
Blue Howell, young Omahan who got his prep training with the Purple squad at Central; Jug Brown, flashy quarterback, and Glen Presnell, speedy broken field runner, were the driving rods in the Nebraska defense. Ahead of this trio was a shield of interferers to pave the way. Elmer Holm, former Tech athlete, Captain Lonnie Stiner and Dan McMullen, stocky guard, shared the laurels in this department.
Howell lived up to his reputation as one of the best sophomore line plungers in the country. In spite of the fact that the Drake forwards had apparently been instructed to combine their efforts to halt the plunging Nebraskan, the Omaha boy never failed to gain. His 27-yard run, in which he drove through the line and straightened up for the neat gain, came at the start of the second quarter and paved the way for the first Nebraska touchdown. At the start of the fourth period, with the ball on the Drake nine-yard line, Howell in two plunges had planted the ball behind the final chalk mark.
Howell also was somewhat of a bear on the defense. When the Nebraska forwards showed a tendency to crumple under the Drake attack early in the game, Blue was in to down the ball lugger that had cleared his side of the front ranks.
Brown was the versatile gridster of the afternoon. Drawing the punting assignment at the start of the game, his lengthy punts placed Nebraska in position to score its first touchdown. Generaling the march down the field, with Howell as the battering ram, he was moved over to a halfback position, when Bill Bronson was inserted at quarter in the Nebraska backfield.
After Howell had cut loose with his 27-yard run, Brown broke away for a 23-yard run in which he zigzagged away from tacklers until finally brought down by the safety.
After Howell had plunged for a first down and the Drake defense was apparently set to stop the hard-hitting Nebraskan, Brown was called upon to negotiate the line, and the former Lincoln High athlete drove through for the five yards necessary to a touchdown.
Presnell’s ball-lugging was an inspiration to Nebraska followers. The DeWitt boy appeared to advantage in smashing through the line and at solving a broken field. The DeWitt boy drove through to a touchdown less than one minute before the second period was over, a neatly executed double pass behind the line of scrimmage which ended in a forward pass, Bronson to Joe Weir, was good for 37 yards and Presnell in two plunges covered the 9 yards necessary to score.
Nebraska is 6-2 all-time against Drake.
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