LINCOLN — The big clock beyond the north turn of the cinder track said two minutes to play.
Flanking the clock was the score, reckoned entirely in zeros: Nebraska 0, Kansas State 0.
A scant two yards from the Wildcat goal Referee Ernest Quigley dramatically and firmly planted the ball. Grim, desperate, nervous, the large Young Men of Manhattan dug their cleats into the goal line, steeled themselves to meet a furious plunge.
The Huskers snapped out of huddle, crouched into their position.
Big Bernie Masterson barked. Lawrence Ely snapped the ball.
The Wildcats waited in vain for the plunge.
It never came.
Running wide and free, Hubert Boswell scampered toward the farthest sideline. He dashed parallel with the goal stripe until another flashing step or two would have carried him out of bounds. Then he veered, cut across the goal.
The figures flanking the big clock read:
Nebraska 6, Kansas State 0.
And so it ended. For Bernie Masterson’s kick was low.
And so it ended. For the Wildcats’ frantic last minute passing sally died a-borning, broken by the alert Boswell, smothered by the aggressive, roaming Lee Penney, who tore through the purple defense and threw Lee Morgan, the chief artilleryman, for a 13-yard loss that forced the mighty Dougal Russell to punt, and gave the Cornhuskers the ball, which they held until the pistol popped a victorious tap.
And so it ended, this home-coming game that presented almost, without interruption brilliant, keen, well-played football between two of the finest-functioning teams ever to exercise on Memorial Stadium field.
Both the 18 thousand Nebraskans and the thousand emigrant Kansans, to whom the ending must have been a painful climax, but a climax, nonetheless, will agree that the contest was a fitting sequel to the struggle in Manhattan a year ago. On that day little Lewis Brown dashed and squirmed 70 yards with a fielded punt. He carried it over the Wildcat goal line. It brought victory — with only three minutes to play.
Little Lewis was here today. He carried the linesman’s chain, along the sidelines, up and down. And for more than half the contest he carried it exclusively in Nebraska territory.
Until the game was more than half over it looked as if Little Lewis would eventually go trotting very deep into Nebraska territory, and from the dashing, twirling, giant Douglas Russell or Ralph Graham, that other giant who hammers and plunges, would do something that would terminate Little Lewis’ journey with profit to the invaders.
For more than two periods the Cornhuskers were completely on the defensive.
For more than two periods the Cornhuskers did not make a first down.
For more than two periods the Cornhuskers hardly knew the feel of the ball.
It was not until the start of the final quarter that Nebraska carried the ball past midfield, into Wildcat territory. When it finally did, things happened. It was the Wildcats, so dominant and robust until then, who were thrown back on their heels and, unlike the Huskers, the Wildcats, though stubborn and valiant were unable to hold the Scarlet assault that was begun so late.
There, it seems you have the key to the exercises. For more than half the game the Nebraskans bent before the vicious onslaughts that were hurled against them. But they did not crack. They gave, they retreated, foot by foot, yard by yard, sometimes many yards at a time, across that rather expansive terrain between the 20-yard lines, but once the battle had forced them into territory dangerous to their cause they braced and neither Russell nor Graham nor Breen could advance one inch further. And the Wildcats’ sorties from the air wave beaten harmlessly down — duds.
Again and again the Wildcats were checked, then thwarted, as they threatened to carry their drive into actual scoring regions.
Really, the Wildcats never were in position to score. Their farthest advance was checked 22 yards from the Nebraska goal. Then Hokuf would punt out of danger. He kicked brilliantly. One yeoman boot traveled 75 yards.
The Wildcats just made first downs. They made nine of their total of 11 during the first half. But they never realized anything for their effort. Penney and Masterson and Ely — ”Ely made the tackle,” the loud speaker repeated all afternoon, like a chant — and DeBus and O’Brien and Hokuf and Joy and Schlueter and the rest of them, checked the Wildcats with finality and abruptness whenever danger became really threatening.
Ulysses Schleter to all purposes playing his first game, was a terror and a source of dismay to the Kansans. Time and again this big, deceptively agile fellow who with Pflum was drafted to fill the left tackle position made vacant by the illness of Corwin Hulbert, crashed into the Wildcat backfield and smeared plays before they could be started.
It was after the parading and horn blowing of eight bands between halves that Colonel Bible’s pupils first gave promise of getting somewhere, but throughout the third quarter, although they were the aggressors almost all the time, they were unable to piece together their attack to make it count.
Some foxy quick-kicking by this Dougal Russell, who must be given rank with the great backs to present their repertoire on Nebraska field, had a lot do with staying the Nebraska drive in the third period.
A 15-yard penalty, after Little Chris Mathis had scampered around end, stopped one march that had begun well with Theo Fahrnbruch, the Crete High alumnus, in a prominent role for the dubtant.
Colonel Bible sent Fahrnbruch in right after the beginning of the last half and the kid did a swell job of filling the injured George Henry Sauer’s plunging shoes. George Henry saw all the game from the bench.
“I will not use him, win, lose, or draw,” said Colonel Bible.
The third period also marked the of the Wildcats’ thrusts. They failed to make a first down during those 15 minutes. Meanwhile the Cornhuskers were completing their very first ones.
But the fourth quarter opened with the home array still strangers to the Wildcats’ side of the field.
They did something about that right off, however.
It looked as if they were off on a scoring parade right after the whistle blew.
Russell quick-kicked. Mathis fielded the ball on the fly, and eeled it back 15 yards to his own 43-yard line. Fahrnbruch cracked center for six more and then Penney took a backward pass from Masterson and shoved his way over the midfield frontier, four yards into Kansas State’s province.
Then Masterson threw a pass. He intended it for Fahrnbruch and that happy young man seemed all set to receive it just 19 yards from the Wildcat goal.
Halfback Breen came busting in, however, and gave Fahrnbruch an emphatic shove, which violated one of the rules of football etiquette. That shove constituted interference and the Huskers were given the ball at the point of the untoward act, even though Mr. Breen had taken possession of it for himself and his.
It looked like a touchdown for sure after Mathis had swept left end for 13 more yards and a first down just six yards from six points.
Fahrnbruch made three yards in two plunges after Ely had passed out of bounds in order to bring the ball in from the sidelines. That left one more down with three yards to go.
Fahrnbruch was called upon to pass to Masterson, who galloped into the end zone to make the catch.
Theo led Bernie a bit too far. Bernie leaped high, touched the ball, but couldn’t hold it.
Kansas State took the ball on its 20-yard line, and Kansas State didn’t punt. Russell and Graham began butting and racing their way back up the field. They tore off five, seven, eight yards at a crack until they had carried the battle line back into Nebraska territory.
The emigrants in the Kansas section of the stands took new hope. Then, with their running attack putting yardage behind them with every thrust, Russell for some reason decided to pass. He called on Graham to make the pitch. Who was supposed to have caught it will never be known, and that doesn’t make any difference anyhow because Bernie Masterson intercepted it and dashed 26 yards back into the territory which the Huskers had so recently been forced to evacuate. Weybrew, Wildcat tackle, finally pulled him down.
Bernie’s gallop stopped on the Wildcat 37-yard line. From there, Fahrnbruch and Mathis and Hokuf stabbed the line or ran the ends until, with the help of a five-yard offside penalty, the Huskers had advanced once more to a point 23 yards from a touchdown.
The minutes were slipping by like seconds and the Husker partisans who had been hoping for the swift passage of time now began to pray for some sort of miraculous extension.
The home boys were on their way, and it seemed certain that only time could stop them.
Masterson hurried things along by calling upon Fahrnbruch to pass to him again. This time it was good. It made back the seven yards lost when the Wildcats had broken through and thrown Mathis for a seven-yard loss and added a few yards to boot. After making the catch, Fahrnbruch was pulled down on the 16-yard line. Masterson then began a solo plunging exhibition that carried the battle two yards from a score. Five times running Big Bernie smashed through. Then on fourth down, with the Wildcats expecting Bernie to try again, Hubert Boswell ran the right end, dashed parallel to the goal line until he almost stepped out bounds, then veered abruptly and came to a stop in the promised land.
It cannot be said that the Huskers took advantage of any breaks or were the recipients of any gift yardage without which they might not have counted.
They earned their six points. They were spirited and determined and fresh in those final moments.
It is possible that the Wildcats might have worn themselves out with their futile thrusts in the first two quarters.
They had made their bid and failed by the time the second half opened, while the Huskers, who had been held downless and all but yardless in the opening half, totaled 11 first down in the final 30 minutes and while making them ran up an aggregate net gain of 176 yards, which was just 40 yards more than the Wildcats’ total for this altogether thrilling, perfect afternoon.
Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.
|Iowa State||Oct. 8|
|Kansas State||Oct. 29|
|Southern Methodist||Dec. 3|
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