Army 13
Nebraska 3

Nov. 24, 1928 • Michie Stadium, West Point, New York

Cagle Performs in Stellar Role to Crush Invader

Michie Stadium, West Point, N.Y., Nov. 24—The Cornhuskers of Nebraska made their last ambitious, desperate bid for a high national football rating Saturday afternoon, and for more than two quarters it looked as if they were going to succeed.

Then Christian Cagle became active. He became so very active that the Cornhuskers had a discouraging and damaging time keeping track of his movements as he charged, dodged, twisted and hula-hula danced over the field. The three-point margin boosted over the crossbars in the second quarter by the meticulous place kicking toe of Halfback Clair Sloan become lost in the confusion created by Mr. Cagle in the third quarter and by Messrs. Hutchinson and Allan in the final, darkness-shrouded period.

More Points Than Needed

When they finally located those three points with the aid of flash lights after the end of the carnage, their value was found to have depreciated so sadly that they didn’t mean a thing so far as reckoning the victory was concerned. Mr. Cagle had galloped as far as was necessary to place six points to the Army’s credit and Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Cagle’s substitute at halfback, had tossed a pass to Mr. Allan, the other Cadet halfback, who crossed the Husker goal. Mr. Grier, a substitute lineman, kicked goal after Mr. Allan’s touchdown. That was all, 13 to 3, so it is very apparent that Sloan’s there points were just 10 points short of meaning anything.

But the last touchdown and the only try for point that was successful really were not needed. Christian Cagle’s breath-snatching run in the third period was enough to end all Cornhusker hopes of widespread fame.

May Yet Win Big Six

Success against Kansas State Thanksgiving day will give the Huskers a clean Big Six conference record, but the east isn’t very much interested in those neighborhood affairs, and the Huskers were so anxious to impress the east Saturday.

For two periods Nebraska showed Vice-President Dawes and Assistant Secretary of War Robins how they rendered the recent Mr. Red Grange very ineffective by choking off the ambitious sallies of the Red Christian every time he became dangerous.

Sloan Causes Melancholy

When Clair Sloan booted the beautiful placekick from the Army 20-yard line in the middle of the second period it probably began to look dismal to the 20 thousand home-coming army officers and their families who formed the majority of the throng of 27 thousand that crammed into the Army’s clubby little stadium.

Cagle had broken loose now and then in the first and second quarters but the Huskers had stopped him when he waltzed in the vicinity of their goal. They also had batted down his long singing passes whenever it seemed as if those heaves might be converted into touchdowns.

Weariness and a slight injury forced Cagle’s retirement just before the second period ended and the way the little band of Cornhusker rooters whopped and yelled it was evident that they hoped he had gone for the day.

Cagle Deceives Boys

But Cagle was back at the beginning of the second half, and that period hadn’t progressed very far before good old Red changed the outlook from bright to somber on the Nebraska side and from uncertain to promising all along those stands in which swarmed gray-clad cadets and khaki-hued regulars. He did this by cruelly deceiving the toiling Huskers

The Huskers had played for Cagle all afternoon, so it is probable that intuition or something told them that it was about time someone else carried the ball. The Army laddies evidently expected their opponents to begin thinking this way, for well along in the third period they pulled a play that looked as if Halfback O’Keefe took the pass from Center Hall on the Nebraska 37-yard line and made as if to hit the scrimmage line. Instead, however, he outraged the entire Nebraska team by slipping it to Cagle on the sly before he actually did make a feint at the line. The Husker linemen swarmed over O’Keefe, who came up smiling as Cagle, easily whirling past Blue Howell, continued his dance across the Nebraska goal. Captain Sprague essayed a place-kick which failed.

Cagle left the game not long after scoring, but that didn’t seem to revive the hopes of the Nebraskans. They were through, though the line continued to battle valiantly and the much shifted-about backfield made sporadic attempts to get going again. Some of these rallies found Sloan and Howell, and later Witte and McBride lugging the ball for good gains, but the boys couldn’t keep up a full head of steam and always they were forced to punt.

Dark Enough for Ghost Ball

Army, however, keyed high by the advantage purchased at such great labor, went out to pile the burden on the shoulders of their over-towering adversaries.

In the fourth quarter it was so dark that the officials had to put the players on a sort of honor system. It was not possible to follow the ball from any distance. Coach Bearg’s reserves, Peaker, Witte, McBride and Frahm were in the backfield behind a reserve line. Hutchinson had replaced Cagle in the Army backfield.

Halfback Allan intercepted Witte’s pass and ran to the Cornhusker 36-yard line. Plunges by Murrel and Hutchinson put the ball on the 18-yard line. From there Hutchinson shot a pass to Allan which Allan must have smelled rather than seen. Anyway, he gathered it in out of the perilous night and ran, without much opposition, over the Nebraska goal. Grier, a substitute lineman, booted the try for point. Anyway, it was reported he did.

Rowley’s Punts Big Help

Coach Bearg’s much discussed experiment probably saved Nebraska from the early embarrassment. Only Blue Howell of the starting lineup had been in the opening array, in previous games this season. Blue, listed as fullback, called the signals, with Clair Sloan at quarterback and Rowley and Frahm at halfbacks. Rowley’s beautiful punts in the first two quarters nullified the forward passing attack and frequent sorties of Christian Cagle.

Army elected to start with an aerial game. Maybe tales of the Husker forwards impressed them. Mixed with these passes were frequently successful dashes by Cagle that three or four times worked the ball into territory highly dangerous to the Cornhuskers. Then, however, the Cadets either would be held for downs or one of Cagle’s flips would be grappled by an alert Nebraskan. With Nebraska thus gaining possession deep in its own territory, Rowley’s punting out of danger as he punted against Pitt last week was a God-send, indeed.

Sloan’s Kick Fails

Early in the second quarter Nebraska began an offensive that was checked by a five-yard penalty, levied after Howell, Sloan and Rowley had lugged the ball from the Army 45-yard line to its 17-yard line. It was up to Sloan them, and a play or so later, he dropped far back, to the Army 39-yard line, from which he tried a drop-kick. It was low and Army got the ball on a touchback. A few plays later the Huskers had it down there again, in even more promising territory and the Husker rooters were making themselves heard. It was Sloan and Howell again, Sloan especially, who with plunges and end runs placed the ball on the Army four-yard line. Then Rowley tried an end run and lost five yards. It was fourth down, and Army took the ball.

It was late in the second quarter, however, that Sloan, with Howell holding the ball, booted the placement that gave Nebraska its only points.

Cagle was rudely handled several times in the afternoon, but the rough treatment never deterred him. Once Ashburn and Prucha broke through and spilled him for a 35-yard loss when he was trying to get off a pass. But when the opportunity came, Cagle was there, and he delivered.

Coach Bearg only said that Army’s team was a great aggregation, and that one or two breaks went against Nebraska which might have been converted into profitable happenings.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 3-2 all-time against Army.

See all games »

1928 season (7-1-1)

Iowa State Oct. 6
Montana State Oct. 13
Syracuse Oct. 20
Missouri Oct. 27
Kansas Nov. 3
Oklahoma Nov. 10
Pittsburgh Nov. 17
Army Nov. 24
Kansas State Nov. 29

This day in history

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