Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 12 – A Minnesota football team which, save perhaps at the ends, appeared as tremendous as its national champion predecessor, defeated Nebraska this holiday afternoon.
The score was 12 to 7.
The score was 12 to 7 at the start of the last quarter. Then 35 thousand saw the Cornhuskers make a tremendous bid for conquest and fail.
Ronald Douglas, the Cornhusker substitute fullback, stood back of the battle line, drawn up 25 yards ahead of the Cornhusker goal. From there he punted.
The ball soared over the head of George Roscoe, the devastating Minnesota left halfback. Kick and roll traveled 85 yards. George Roscoe turned and raced desperately to make the recovery. The ball bobbled in the northeast corner of the field, three or four paces from the Minnesota goal.
George roscoe stooped to snatch it. Elmer Dohrmann, the towering Husker sophomore end, threw himself in a desperate tackle. The impact jarred the ball from George Roscoe’s hands. Fred Shirey, the Husker sophomore tackle, fell upon it, two yards from a touchdown.
First down and two yards from the six points that would almost certainly win. Ten minutes left! What play to call?
That was the job for Jerry LaNoue.
Thirty-five seconds after the second quarter started, Jerry LaNoue had raced to the touchdown, which, with Sam Francis’ placement, had topped for fleeting minutes the six points achieved by the irresistible Roscoe right after the inaugural kickoff.
Jerry LaNoue threw Lloyd Cardwell into the line. That cost two feet. Jerry made it back with a foot to boot at the other tackle. Jerry called on Cardwell to sweep right end. The pass from Center English was low. The Wild Hoss juggled it. The delay was costly. He was smothered under a pile of golden jerseys eight yards behind the starting point.
Jerry LaNoue called on Ron Douglas to pass. Dale Rennebohm, the Gopher center, leaped high and batted wildly with both hands. The ball plopped harmlessly to the turf. It now belonged to Minnesota on Minnesota’s 10-yard line.
This was the climactic interval on which this battle turned. There were thrilling moments ahead of it, moments that at the time made you say, “Ah, this will decide the ball game.”
There were tense happenings to follow – they followed right up to the authoritative spat of the pistol – but these, too, filled a minor and subdued part in the complete picture.
On the two-yard line, after that prodigious punt by Ron Douglas, the Cornhuskers had their chance. They had their chance to defeat a company of giants who, taken together, were plainly their superiors. They had a chance to bring to three their total number of victories in 17 meetings. They had a chance to end a Minnesota career of dominance that began in 1932 – since that year the Hammers of the north have not been defeated. Four times they have been tied. All their other encounters have ended in conquest.
This chance – these chances within chances – the Huskers had.
And they failed. They failed, with high success two tantalizing yards away.
They failed principally because they were unable to cope with the mighty men of Minnesota’s line, the giants who manned that rampart from tackle to tackle. Dana Bible simply had no one to match Tackles Edwin Widseth and Dick Smith, Guards Charles Wilkinson and Vern Oech, and Center Dale Rennebohm. With such Bunyanesque figures as these ahead of them, George Roscoe and Vernal Levoir and Sheldon Beise became hard-riding horsemen whose worries were generally confined to the nebraska secondary defense. Almost always, save in the later stages of the struggle, when substitutes played ahead of them, they found yawning holes where the Scarlet forwards had been. The forwards in the golden armor had seen to that.
And yet – and yet, despite the sharp and clear and impressive dominance of these towering, fleet northerners, despite their greater weight and power and at least equal speed, the Bible boys came so close to victory, so close to making a goat of a glittering hero! For it was George Roscoe who fumbled away Ron Douglas’ punt on the Minnesota two-yard line, after George Roscoe had scored both Minnesota's touchdowns. George Roscoe ran wild and defiant of capture time after time throughout the afternoon.
It was Roscoe, in short, who did what most of the 35 thousand had gathered to see Lloyd Cardwell do. Save for a desperate, vain spurt that found him sweeping the ends in the last quarter, Cardwell served this day principally as a decoy. It was Jerry LaNoue who did what galloping was done on the red-shirted side. This he may have done so successfully because the Gophers had their eyes on Cardwell – and their arms around him – while he played.
Right on the kickoff George Roscoe began. He received Sam Francis’ long boot on his goal line, and with nine mates scything down the Huskers, ran back 74 yards before Jerry LaNoue, the last survivor of the Last Man’s Club, chased him out of bounds 26 paces from a touchdown.
Six plays later, Roscoe had gained the first points. He carried the ball on all six of them. On most, the yellow forwards simply pried the red wallop and Roscoe went charging through, generally through the left side. The scoring play found smart Quarterback Glen Seidel tossing him a lateral from the one-foot line.
Guard Wilkinson’s kick was low and it was Minnesota 6, Nebraska 0, with two minutes and 35 seconds gone.
The Nebraska kids stood the shock well, however. The Gophers rammed right back into home territory and shoved around there until the period was nearly over. The first 15 minutes had nearly expired when the Huskers crossed midfield for the first time.
Sam Francis punted out on Minnesota’s seven-yard line. LaNoue fielded Roscoe’s turn kick and eeled it back nine yards to the Gophers’ 41. An offside penalty on the Gophers and a four-yard thrust by LaNoue gave Nebraska nine yards in three downs. Then the quarter ended. The stage was set for a play as electrifying as Roscoe’s inaugural prance.
Sam Francis plunged to a first down on the 30-yard stripe on the opening play. Then Francis lowered his head and again charged at the middle. Right at the line he turned, faked a backward pass to Cardwell, actually threw backward to LaNoue on the opposite side. The Minnesotans swarmed over Cardwell. They pushed him into the sod. Over on the left side, LaNoue raced erect through the zone where large defenders had been. He continued almost straight ahead until he crossed the goal. Francis’ kick was good. It was Nebraska 7, Minnesota 6, and pandemonium.
None hardly expected that this emaciated margin would win the game, but Nebraska was ahead! Whoopees and hollers and squeals and cheers. Get Hot Quick’s band pumped out brassy, triumphant strains.
Less than 10 minutes later, Minnesota was ahead again. Less than 10 minutes later it was 12 to 7. The scoring for the day was over.
A break produced the final score, just as it threatened later to produce the tally that would make Nebraska the victor.
It was really a double break.
The second period was nearly gone when Roscoe punted. The kick seemed ticketed for the end zone, and the Huskers who had swarmed down field made no effort to interrupt it. Six yards from the goal line, the ball struck the turf, made a crazy right angle hop over the sidelines.
From his end zone, Sam Francis set himself to kick back. His foot glanced across the ball. It wobbed in the air, a feeble thing, and whirled crazily out of bounds just 15 yards from the Husker goal. Four plays and Minnesota had the winning points. Like this: Levoir, right tackle, three yards; Roscoe, center, nine yards; Beise, center, one-yard loss after fumbling; Roscoe, left tackle, touchdown.
Sub Tackle Harold Holmbeck partly blocked Levoir’s attempt at placement, and it didn’t look so hopeless.
The Huskers kept on trying. They executed one of those almost plays to mark the end of the opening half. Harris Andrews, understudy to Cardwell, threw a 29-yard pass to long Elmer Dohrmann. Elmer gathered it in and turned to run. He covered 10 yards of the clear field ahead before fleeter Minnesotans pulled him down from behind.
Even after the sad failure to capture those precious two yards at the start of the last quarter, the Nebraska kids continued to do their darndest.
A series of end sweeps, with Cardwell and LaNoue alternating, carried the battle zone 52 yards, from Nebraska’s 30-yard stripe to Minnesota’s eight. The last play of this offensive found Howell passing successfully to LaNoue on fourth down, but Jerry couldn’t quite make the necessary yardage.
Minnesota took the ball and punted.
The last offensive shot was fired shortly after by the Huskers. From his 37-yard line, Andrews pitched a forward to Dohrmann. Dohrmann lateraled to English and English, about to be thrown, threw to Bob Benson. Taps popped. An argument ensued. An official called the last pass forward, not lateral, sought to levy a penalty. But ruling opinion held that the game had ended with the pistol report.
The Huskers dragged to their dressing room to congratulate Jerry LaNoue, hear Link Lyman say End Bernie Scherer. Center English and Tackle Holmbeck had done well against a mighty line; sympathize with Chief Bauer, who sprained an ankle in the first quarter; Scherer, who was badly bruised; Cardwell who tenderly fingered a sore ankle and aching shoulder.
Nebraska is 24-32 all-time against Minnesota.
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|Kansas State||Oct. 19|
|Oregon State||Nov. 28|
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