Pittsburgh 21
Nebraska 13

Nov. 12, 1927 • Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Panthers’ Long Runs Beat Cornhuskers, 21-13

Pittsburgh Panthers being all keyed up to stop Glenn Presnell, Nebraska’s rambling halfback, the scoring burden fell to Bonny Boy Blue Howell of Omaha Saturday. The lad responded with two plunges for touchdowns and did all he could to cut open the path for Presnell, but to no avail, for the inefficient Husker defense had spotted the Panthers three touchdowns and too large a handicap to overcome.

Parts of this game recap are illegible.

Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa., Nov. 12—The goddess of luck, who capriciously allies herself sometimes with those desperately in need of her assistance, sometimes with those who are not, donned the bright gold and blue armor of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half of their struggle with Nebraska’s Cornhuskers Saturday afternoon.

Then, probably realizing that the warriors of Pitt were sufficient unto themselves, she withdrew from the field of battle and left two mighty elevens to wage terrific warfare. But the host from the Cornlands could not overcome that handicap levied in the first two quarters and the Panthers won, 21 to 13.

Three frantic, yell-compelling runs which were marathons as football runs are reckoned, at least one of them achieved by the aid of that fortune which oft times smiles on fools, fishermen and football players, gave Pittsburgh 18 points. The meticulous toe of Allen Booth, Panther fullback, added the three others and Pitt had accomplished enough to insure celebration of revenge for that 10-to-0 defeat suffered at the hands of another Cornhusker eleven which made a parade of triumph through the cast in 1921.

Crowd Applauds Panthers

Fighting desperately, giving their all under direction that was marked by cunning and superb gridiron craft, Ernest Bearg’s boys left the field at the end of the first half accredited with seven points against 21 for the enemy, returned after a blessed moment of rest and made a heroic but futile bid for victory.

More than 35 thousand who shivered beneath the assaults of a biting wind boomed their acclaim of Captain Gibby Welch of the Panthers when he caught Richards’ inaugural kickoff on his own seven-yard line and behind perfect interference sprinted, dodged and twisted his course ... yards across the Cornhusker goal. The 35 thousand boomed again when at the very start of the second period, Hagan, Welch’s mate at halfback, broke through the Cornhusker line, eluded a Husker back who haplessly had stumbled, and skipped 63 yards for the Gold’s second touchdown. Again the multitude boomed, not five minutes later, as Welch shot high into the air, snatched a pass from Hagan and bolted 66 yards to make his thrilling effort count.

Howell and Presnell

The throng paid resounding homage to these brilliant deeds but it thundered its adulation of two boys in the vanquished Scarlet. It whistled and shrilled and shouted and stamped its approval of Glenn Presnell and of Presnell’s mate, Battering Boy Blue Howell.

There was no element of luck in the runs and rammings of Presnell and Howell, as there had been in the sweeping dash of the sparkling Hagan. It was behind a line that fought fiercely and unceasingly that Presnell and Howell, Howell and Presnell advanced the ball, sometimes but four yards, sometimes 25, until their matchless drivings twice were crowned with success. Howell made both of Nebraska’s touchdowns and will receive the cold credit for the making, but the history of the contest will relate in glorious terms the play of Presnell and give him equal credit.

They were together, those two, and they fought as one. When Presnell sidestepped and whirled for 15, 40, 45 yards, it was the protecting bulk of Boy Blue that shielded him past the scrimmage line. But when Blue battered, he battered alone, and on those two occasions when Presnell’s great gallops put the ball just ahead of the enemy’s goal it was Boy Blue who made the final Spartan charge that counted.

Anxious Moments

It was a game of thrills, of anxious tense moments, of electrifying unexpected maneuvers, of some dazzling sorties that ended in sodden failure. In short, it was one of the greatest football games played by a Cornhusker eleven during the past five years and none who is loyal to the Red standard need go about grumbling.

It was such a game from that opening kickoff when Welch received the ball and, cutting to the sidelines, raced across the Nebraska goal to the final desperate fighting bid of the Cornhuskers for victory through the air, a bid that might have been carried to high success had there been a few moments more. For Witte was in there and Witte was putting them where Farley and Sloan were waiting and the Panther defense seemed nonplussed, dazed. But the timer’s gun stopped all that, stopped it right after Farley had snagged a flip that carried the Huskers 10 yards to the Pitt 20-yard line.

Except when Hagan broke through and that waiting Nebraska secondary slipped, the Cornhusker line, at moments that might have been crucial, repulsed the charges of the terrible Bullet Booth and smothered Welch and Hagan when they sought to slip off tackle or skirt the ends.

It was through the Panther wall that Nebraska scored. Twice, in the first quarter and in the third, the Golden rampart split and toppled and Howell flashed through. But only twice and twice was not enough.

First Quarter Tied

The first quarter ended in a 7-all tie. Welch’s profitable sprint from kickoff failed to dishearten the Huskers. To the contrary, they fought harder and several minutes before the end of the period they had evened the count. Bronson intercepted Welch’s long pass on the Pittsburgh 49-yard line. He called for a pass himself on the first play and tossed it himself but it fell to earth. Then he gave the ball to Presnell and the great Glenn broke through tackle for 25 yards before he was pulled down on the Pitt 24-yard line. Howell then battered down center and projected himself 13 yards. Presnell squeezed through right tackle for three, then repeated for five more. From the three-yard line, Boy Blue went across. McMullen’s kick was good.

Fourteen more in the second quarter failed to daunt Huskers. They began the last half with the same indomitable spirit that refused to bow before Welch’s kickoff score. They may have been heartened by Brown’s interception of Welch’s pass and his runback to the Pitt 30-yard line as the gun barked the close of the first half.

Howell Over Again

Well along in the third period, Howell intercepted Hagan’s pass and fought to the Pitt 34-yard line before they pulled him down. Then Presnell and Howell alternated with plunges and runs that advanced the battle front to the Gold’s four-yard line. Ray Randels was hurt during the offense and Glenn Munn took his place. Howell made two through center and Presnell hit the same place for a yard more. One yard to go.

On the next play Pitt was penalized half the distance to the goal and Nebraska was given a first down. Howell lost two yards trying center again, but on the next sortie he went over. McMullen’s kick was low and 13 was destined to be all for Nebraska in this titanic struggle.

A score of 14 to 13 would better represent the relative abilities of the two elevens. Booth was more reliable than McMullen with his placements. The Cornhusker line was the equal of Pitts. Welch was great. So were Booth and Hagan. But Pitt had no Presnell and no Howell and the feats of Howell and Presnell by no stretch of the imagination can be ascribed to luck.

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Series history

Nebraska is 6-15 all-time against Pittsburgh.

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1927 season (6-2)

Iowa State Oct. 1
Missouri Oct. 8
Grinnell Oct. 15
Syracuse Oct. 29
Kansas Nov. 5
Pittsburgh Nov. 12
Kansas State Nov. 19
New York U. Nov. 24

This day in history

Nebraska has played 21 games on Nov. 12. See them all »

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