LINCOLN — Until next year, at least, a Rose Bowl is likely to mean nothing more to Pittsburgh’s Panthers than a bit of bric-a-brac to adorn the mantel.
All the glamourous gridiron significance of the term was probably wiped away on Memorial Stadium field Saturday by Colonel Bible’s Cornhusker kids, who, in the words of Dr. John Bam Sutherland himself, either matched or surpassed his own bright pupils in everything that was attempted.
The score was Pittsburgh 0, the same for Nebraska, and so it will be set down in the record books.
But the celebration was a Cornhusker triumph, not only because the Cornhuskers held to a stalemate reckoning the eleven which eastern expects had set upon the way to a national championship after its brilliant victory over Notre Dame two weeks ago, but more especially because for almost all of four breath-snatching periods the boys in scarlet outplayed and outshone the proud and all-conquering eastern invader.
So the Panthers of Pitt really beat a retreat back to their lair Saturday night. They were not defeated, but they were tied, and the manner of the tying left no doubt, even in the mind of Dr. John Bam Sutherland, that on this day, at least, the Nebraskans, beaten once this year by a one-point margin, were the equal of his fleet young scholars who had looked upon the proceedings here as nothing more than another whistling post on their gay dash to Pasadena’s Rose Bowl and the national championship.
But the story that will be told is a story of Cornhusker aggressiveness, of Cornhusker speed that dimmed the vaunted lightning-quickness of the Panthers, of Cornhusker stamina and impregnability that repulsed every enemy attempt save three to cross the midfield line into the domain defended by the boys in the red.
Yes, only thrice was Pittsburgh able to push and hammer and scamper its way across the 50-yard chalk stripe toward the Nebraska goal.
And only once was Pittsburgh able really to get within scoring distance. This was late in the third quarter. Then four wild, desperate assaults on the Nebraska line by Warren Heller, Izzy Weinstock, Paul Reider and again Warren Heller netted only one yard. Heller ran on the fourth down. He ran toward left tackle, where Ulysses Schlueter had replaced Corwin Hulbert but play or two before, Ulysses, assisted by the omnipresent Lee Penney, set Mr. Heller, “the greatest running back in the east,” down on the soles of his pants for a one-yard loss and the Huskers took the ball on downs on their own 14-yard line. From there George Henry Sauer punted out of danger and the first and last Panther threat had become a soggy dud.
Heller, Mike Sebastian, Izzy Weinstock — they are all great backs, unquestionably. But Saturday they had no opportunity to demonstrate their skill and cunning. Let them essay an end sweep, the very same kind of sweep that was so disconcerting to the Cornhuskers in the Panther Bowl on a very disastrous afternoon one year ago. Those sweeps didn’t work Saturday. They were choked, throttled and often forced back into the territory whence they began by Steve Hokuf and Penney and Chris Mathis and Jack Miller and George Henry Sauer — and a roaming, superhuman and merry but fiendish young man named Lawrence Ely.
***Line Refuses to Yield.
Let Sebastian or Weinstock lower their heads and charge into the Scarlet line. Seldom did they find an opening there. Almost always they hit unyielding red, worn by little Bishop, little DeBus, Schlueter, Gail O’Brien, the famed Norwegian tenor, Hulbert, Clare Campbell and the rest of the lads who had been charged by Colonel Bible neither to yield nor to compromise.
Thus it was when Pittsburgh, conqueror of all the east, tried to conquer on Nebraska field.
Pittsburgh tried and failed.
Nebraska, too, tried, and failed, but Nebraska’s efforts were far more impressive, far more thrilling, far more effective.
George Henry Sauer plunged and George Henry Sauer ran. Alone he gained almost as many yards by his plunging and running as the entire Panther backfield combined.
Jack Miller eeled his way through holes in the golden rampart time after time for first down yardage, and more than once Big Bernie Masterson took the ball and there wasn’t much that Pitt could do about stopping him until he had bored his way still deeper into Pitt territory.
Sauer, Miller and Masterson began their whanging and galloping right at the start. It was considerably later in the game that little Christopher Christian Mathis loosed himself and followed faultless blocking on the kind of long forays into the enemy precincts that the customers had come expecting to see Heller and Sebastian and Reider execute.
Nebraska was the offensive team for more than three quarters of the afternoon’s recitation period. Nebraska spent nearly all its time in Pittsburgh territory.
But Nebraska failed to score, failed to capitalize on its successions of fierce plunges that shoved PItt back, back, back toward its own goal, failed to convert those deceptive off-tackle dashes and around end scampers into the points that win games.
In the second quarter Nebraska was two yards from what would have been the biggest major game upset of this delirious 1932 campaign.
But Nebraska didn’t score — because in a small degree, at least, the breaks allied themselves with the invaders whenever the breaks butted into the exercises.
Dr. Sutherland may have done what he did for reasons of psychology. If that was his purpose, he failed.
Dr. Sutherland shooed his “second team” into the field to start the game.
The Huskers proceeded to push the second team down the lawn. Sauer stabbed the line for consistent yardage. Then Masterson shook himself free for 24 yards. There appeared to be no reason why the Huskers shouldn’t keep right on going, but all this aggressiveness came to a sudden end when it was decided, possibly for the sake of variety, to try a pass Sauer threw. He intended it for Penney but Lee didn’t quite get there and the ball grounded in the end zone.
Dr. Sutherland sent in his first team.
These are the lads the Huskers had been waiting to meet. These are the lads who humiliated and oppressed the Huskers at Pittsburgh last Thanksgiving day.
The Huskers really did become bumptious and dominating when the Panther first team went in.
Just before the first quarter ended, George Henry Sauer’s punt bounded over Senor Sebastian’s head. Senor Sebastian looked like Rufus McGonigle. Hulbert raced past the gaping senor and downed the kick on the Panther five-yard line. Bishop and Hokuf spoiled Pitt’s attempts to get a little yardage before kicking, so Hogan punted from his end zone. Miller caught the ball just 28 yards out. In two plays Mathis made 10 yards and a first down, and Sauer added some more. Then George Henry threw to Masterson, who turned to make the catch eight yards from a touchdown. Bernie caught the ball, had it in his big hands. Heller tackled him, and Umpire Hedges ruled that Bernie lost possession as he hit the sod. There went another Husker opportunity, and if you’ve followed Mr. Masterson’s pass receiving career you’ll agree that if it wasn’t a bad break it was darned tough luck at the very least.
Pitt’s wonder boys couldn’t get anywhere, however, and pretty soon the Huskers were charging down the field again. Sauer faked a pass and made 23 yards in the same way that Heller and Sebastian had made yards against Notre Dame. George Henry fired his air gun again. This time Bernie made connections for 19 yards more of Pitt territory. And the Huskers were but six yards away from as many points, with four downs in which to get them.
Mathis squirmed through left tackle for half the distance. Sauer hit center for one more. Two yards to go, a yard a down would do it, Sauer slipped as he whanged at the middle again, and there were still two yards.
Then, with one more chance, Bernie Masterson called upon himself to pass. Hokuf dashed into the end zone to make the catch. Warren Heller, however, also filtered himself into the end zone. He got between Steve and the ball, and everything was spoiled. There was no bad break there. Mr. Heller deserved lots of credit.
The Huskers made their last sustained drive in the final period. This offensive was illuminated by three dashes. Little Mathis was the author of all of them. One was for 10 yards, another for 12 and the third for 18. The last carried the front line 19 yards from the Pitt zero stripe. From there Masterson essayed a field goal, kicked from a point 30 yards out. It was low.
Several thrilling dashes that didn’t piece together brought the spectators up whooping. Sauer, for example, faked a punt once, and then galloped 40 yards. Once Izzy Weinstock found a hole at center and charged 18 yards. Heller managed to skirt the ends once or twice for gains that might have been dangerous had anything similar followed. But the Huskers immediately shut down after proceeding like that.
Senor Sebastian, who has been something of a terror in the cast, and whose name makes Notre Dame folks groan, was just among those present. He negotiated two gains for a total of five yards.
Rampant Dougal Russell of Kansas State is still the greatest guest ball carrier to perform in Memorial Stadium this season.
Nebraska is 6-15 all-time against Pittsburgh.
|Iowa State||Oct. 8|
|Kansas State||Oct. 29|
|Southern Methodist||Dec. 3|
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