Ahearn Field, Manhattan, Kans., Nov. 14—The wooden-faced clock on the scoreboard showed five minutes to play. The scoreboard said “Kansas State 3, Nebraska 0.”
Coolly confident, Elden Auker dropped back to his own 42-yard line to swing his large shoe against the squashy ball, to send it deep into Cornhusker territory. Stall, stall, stall. That was the game Elden Auker and his Wildcat mates sought to play. Nonchalantly Elden Auker raked the mud from his cleats. The snapback. The ball soared high.
Far back in Cornhusker territory milled a squat little blond, Lewis Brown. He was the second string quarterback, inserted in the fourth quarter after the Nebraskans had rammed and shoved the battle zone 68 slippery and gooey yards and failed on the Kansas seven-yard line.
Outruns Wildcat Tacklers
His short legs twinkling, Lewis Brown raced forward. He caught the looping punt on the dead run, 30 yards from his own goal. He never stopped until he had raced 70 yards with the Kansas State team in desperate, wailing cry behind him.
Seventy yards was far enough. With a heroic, straining lunge, Lewis Brown fell across the goal line, with defeated, baffled Wildcats snatching at his heels.
The scoreboard read: “Nebraska 6, Kansas State 3.”
The heavy ball traveled low as Larry Ely sent it back to Bernie Masterson, waiting to kick the extra point. Bernie never had a chance to boot it.
Brown Ill a Week Ago
But no matter. Lewis Brown’s mad dash through the muck and slanting rain that began again with the final quarter was enough.
The game ended four minutes later with Marvin Paul and Masterson smashing the Wildcat line on another great offensive that might have been thwarted only by time.
A week ago, Lewis Brown lay in the university infirmary, suffering from acute appendicitis. Saturday he was the diminutive incarnation of Pug Rentner, or Albie Booth. He snatched the ball out of the air, never slackening the fastest pace his little legs ever generated. Away he dashed, veering to the sideline. Wildcats closed in. He checked his momentum, sidestepped and then scampered on, his cleats throwing a barrage of mud behind him. Now all the enemy was behind. He had only to outspeed them. The long legs of the giant Wildcats were eating up the distance but not rapidly enough. One tackler caught him low three paces from the goal. He leaped and was over.
Rain Makes Grid Swamp
Fifteen thousand, four-fifths of them Kansans, saw the team on which Kansans justly had lavished their pride chased out of the Big Six conference race by Lewis Brown’s short legs.
Now next Saturday’s game between Iowa State and the Huskers in Memorial Stadium will decide the champion.
Rain that fell all Friday night and Saturday morning had changed the lovely turf of Ahearn Field to a brown green swamp that became a quagmire in spots after the team had battled 10 minutes.
This made three points, negotiated by Long Henry Cronkite’s unerring foot, look as safe as two touchdowns on a bright day.
Long Henry place kicked a goal from the Huskers’ 28-yard line early in the second quarter. The Wildcats’ only sustained offensive of the afternoon had placed it there. Glenn Harsh had scurried around right end for 17 yards, being downed 48 yards from the Cornhusker goal. From there he, Auker and Ray McMillin punched their way 28 more yards, just the distance of two first downs from their own goal the Nebraskans held three times. The Wildcats had either to pass or kick. There was no question in Ray McMillin’s mind on a weeping day like this. Long Henry backpedaled eight yards and his kick was true.
Wildcat Line Outplayed
That was the closest the Wildcats ever got to the Nebraska goal. Their great line was outcharged, outplayed by a greater line. All the rest of the game Hugh Rhea, Ely, George Koster and their associates spoiled almost every attempt of the huge Wildcat backs to carry the ball. Time after time they cracked the Kansas forwards and brought the ball lugger thumping to earth for losses.
The Wildcat air game was a piffling thing; naturally so, for the ball was as slippery as an eel.
With three large points charged against them, the valiant Huskers came tearing on the field to begin the last half. During the two opening periods they had warred as never before this season for their foemen were the worthiest, the game the strongest they had engaged since that day on Northwestern’s field early in October.
In the final half the Huskers were a team inspired. That’s high school Weekly Advocate stuff. But it is true.
Wildcats Hold on 7-Yard Line
Just before the pistol popped the end of the third period, Henry Bauer dropped Auker’s punt on his own 26-yard line after signaling for a fair catch. Henry threw himself upon it and Wildcats threw themselves upon Henry. Masterson hit center for six yards and time was up. But the Nebraska boys carried over from the last installment. Seeming to forget the slippery ball, the muddy field, the rain that had begun to drop again, they drove on and on, deeper, deeper into the enemy’s domain.
George Sauer carried the ball on almost every one of the many plays that ate their way relentlessly. Sixty-eight yards the Nebraskans marched and then the Wildcats held three times with their goal seven yards away. Masterson elected to pass on the fourth down, for a field goal would only tie the score. His pitch was low. It didn’t even cross the goal line and the Wildcats took the ball with their backs to the uprights. Auker punted and the danger seemed over for the minutes were ticking rapidly into history.
Masterson tried a few passes and they failed. Again Auker punted, and this time Lewis Brown, who had entered the lineup scant seconds before, was there to receive. Plucky little Lewis.