Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 13—Russ Fisher swung his foot against the ball, held carefully, lightly on its axis by kneeling Ozzie Simmons.
The ball wiggled crazily, low and wide. The Iowa captain’s attempt at placement after touchdown had failed.
This was not one of the high dramatic moments in the Cornhuskers’ conquest of the Hawkeyes Saturday afternoon, but it was one of the most important—probably the most important, for it meant that Iowa was to total 13 points to Nebraska’s 14.
It meant that the Bible class was to win its third straight one-point victory in the series that was renewed in 1930.
Torture for Frantic Fans
It meant four triumphs in those five games for the boys in the red livery, and it lifted the all-time reckoning in one of the midlands’ most ancient rivalries to 15 victories for Nebraska, seven for Iowa, with three conflicts stalemates.
The dramatic moments—there were many of them. There were so many and they crowded upon one another with such breathless, delirious rapidity that 35 thousand denizens of the Tall Corn States were tortured to exhaustion which became almost cruel in its prodigality.
When Glenn Skewes batted George Teyro’s pass to earth just as the timer’s gun popped taps the 35 thousand who had sat there dazed and dripping in their shirt sleeves, who had shrieked and screamed and groaned and sometimes cussed, just slumped on their plank seats, and were silent. They were exhausted.
Black Grange is Stopped
They were almost as exhausted as the lads in the flaming armor and the stern black. Victor and vanquished alike plodded from the smoking scene of battle, speechless and spent.
Behind them, both spectator and warrior, was an afternoon the like of which has seldom been witnessed on any football field—an afternoon of brilliant sorties, of stern, unyielding defenses, of wild-dashing halfbacks, siege-gun fullbacks, glue-fingered, high-leaping ends; of slashing tackles and hard-rock guards and tackles; of fumbles and near perfect football; of blocking that was almost armor plate in its imperviousness; of hoped-for holes that turned out to be unbudging, tangled masses of football meat.
Behind them was the failure of Ozzie Simmons, a Negro sophomore from Texas, to earn right to the title of Black Grange—though do not conclude that Ozzie Simmons pfutted dismally.
Cardwell—What a Man!
Entertainer and entertained looked back, too, on the gallant performance of Dick Crayne, again as last year, the true great man of the Hawkeye backfield; and on the fine performances of the men o’ the line ahead—Radloff and Gallagher and Foster and Secl and Osmaloski.
Most of the throng were Nebraskans and to them the day’s gaudiness must be the play of the subs of yesteryear and the play of the sophomores.
Cardwell—Cardwell outran, outgained, outsped Simmons.
Bauer—Bauer functioned as Colonel Bible had hoped he would. In addition to his job of generalling, he broke without warning as a fierce and indomitable plunger. He too made gains that surpassed Simmons’ longest.
And Francis—Francis found himself. Francis at least matched his veteran rival Crayne, in plunges, in punts and in passes.
No Nebraskan who entered the conflict failed to emerge without his share of glory—not one of them. I list the few above, because folks had wondered about them. But they all deserve high praise; they all earned lavish credit.
Only at the first did the Bible class stutter and falter. Iowa had come bearing a mighty, formidable name. Simmons—Simmons was nothing less than black magic. New and untried, tested only in one grand battle that had brought them defeat, the Huskers were uncertain in the opening quarter. Then it was that the Hawks did most of their running and ramming—and all in vain. When they had eaten deep into Nebraska territory, Nebraska held, and took the ball on downs, or Nebraska intercepted passes, and thus ended the danger.
Thus it was in the second quarter, too, although the Nebraska kids by this time had cast off much of their doubt. They were no longer too much impressed. They realized, it seemed, that after all their foemen were just boys like themselves. They began to get assertive. Once Cardwell broke loose for 22 yards, and it seemed that an offensive destined to end triumphantly was under way. But if failed, though in the failure there was promise.
80 Yards and Touchdown!
Quickly did the Cornhuskers justify high hopes when the last half opened. In exactly five minutes they had a touchdown. They marched 80 yards to achieve it. They marched from kickoff, which Chief Bauer ran back 18 yards to his own 20 stripe. Francis split the middle for five yards. Cardwell went striding over the line, then fumbled, but little Bob Benson recovered for a five-yard gain—and first down. Bauer smashed through behind fine blocking and pounded 16 yards on those big feet. Francis whammed left guard for four more. The Huskers had their way.
Through the air sang the ball—propelled by Sam Francis’ good left arm. Twenty-three yards down field Cardwell gathered it in, and there were only 27 more yards to go. Cardwell and Bauer plunged for 14 between them. Then the Chief faded back, cocked his arm and threw to Tall Les McDonald, who had raced into the end zone. Simmons and Crayne raced there too—Simmons and Crayne, the Terrible Two. McDonald took the ball away from them. He snatched it from their upstretched, fighting hands. Then Sam Francis booted the placement, accurately and true.
Page Grabs, Then Scoots
And then—and then Iowa scored. Just three minutes after seven points for Nebraska had been written large on the scoreboard, the Hawkeye had six. They made them through the air. Their groundwork aided them little. As written above, only at the start of the game did the Iowans ram and plunge with anything resembling expert, irresistible abandon.
Crayne, Simmons and Fisher battered doggedly away, making a few yards at a time, to advance the battle zone after kickoff from their own 36 mark to the enemys’ 42. There Crayne passed. Down field, and near the sideline, Bernie Page waited. He made the catch without argument and started down a clear alley toward the goal. Across the field charged Cardwell, but it was too long a stretch. Page scored without being touched.
Then Captain Fisher poised for the kick that would tie the score. Then he failed—and Nebraska set about the prosecution of another offensive which culminated properly soon after the last period opened.
Samuel Crashes Across
Passing played small part in this. Once Cardwell threw back to Francis and Francis pitched ahead to Bauer, for eight yards, but the rest of the 36 yards that had been between the Nebraskans and six points were covered by fast and hard running and vehement assaults on the line. It was mostly Francis. Francis carried again and again, with Douglas and Cardwell and Bauer spelling him now and then. It was Francis who went hurting through a solid mass from a point that appeared to be about five inches ahead of the goal posts. He had to try twice to succeed, but succeed he did. Once more he place kicked true, and it was Nebraska 14, Iowa 6.
The throng, most of them Nebraskans, loosed a sigh one could almost feel. It seemed safe now. But it wasn’t. Iowa took desperately to the air. George Teyro and Crayne sprayed short passes and long passes; high, zooming passes and short, rifled pitches. Once, twice the gallant boys in black worked deep into scoring territory. Once, twice their aerial guns were spiked there by a red-shirted kid named Douglas, a grand defender against attack from above.
But Iowa kept passing. That was all Iowa could do. Time was short. One touchdown, with successful conversion of the extra point wouldn’t be enough. Iowa gambled, Iowa staked everything on two passing arms.
Simmons Has His Inning
Iowa partly succeeded. While the crowd alternately made noises denoting exultation and despair—they were all groans, but one guessed the emotion behind them—while the crowd played a tortured accompaniment, the desperate, exhausted boys battled frantically down there on the green, under a sun that must have been scheduled for an August day and missed connections.
Pretty effectively held captive during most of the struggle, forced to stand baffled and empty-handed while wise Nebraskans Skewes and Francis sent their punts where he wasn’t, still Ozzie Simmons, indefatigable and brave, was to have his grand moment. The persistent Hawks marched deep for a third time. Simmons caught a pass that put them 29 yards from a score. Simmons raced around right end for 13 yards—his longest gain of the day. Crayne pitched to Simmons who made the catch on a dead run toward the sideline. He was pulled down by Johnny Williams on the one-yard line. From there Crayne battered his way through and over. Simmons it was who made this possible. Simmons it was who kicked goal.
But there wasn’t enough time left to overcome that single point margin—the point that Fisher’s failure at placement gave Nebraska. Iowa kept passing. The crowd kept groaning its hope and groaning its despair. But Iowa couldn’t threaten again.