Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 16 — From the Cornhuskers' viewpoint, their scoreless tie with Thomas Stidham's Sooners this afternoon was as wet as the weather.
The kids from the Redlands more than likely regarded as an opportune ally the rain which alternately pelted and showered from a low-hanging gray dome.
Under the circumstances, the Sooners and the winter wheat prospered.
The Sooners had what was necessary, under the strange and unusual conditions, to capture and repulse the Nebraskans' attack almost every time the Nebraskans ventured to expose aggressive tactics.
They had superior punting and superior runnersback of the other side’s kicks. What this means to the team that otherwise would have been weaker was demonstrated in this very shrine of character building some nine years ago when prodigious booting by Claude Rowley enabled Ernest Berg’s Nebraskans to earn a scoreless reckoning with a vastly more powerful Pittsburgh array.
Nine years ago – the fall of ’28 – that was the last time before today that rain interfered with football exercises in Memorial Stadium. Since then, snow and sleet have hampered once or twice, but these congealing twins seldom are able to turn offensive tactics into travesties as rain invariably can.
First Sooner Back Webber Merrell and then Sooner Back Woodrow Huddleston officiated a good dozen yards behind the desperately digging-in Sooner line. They officiated with big, free-swinging right feet that, save for a fleeting spell in the very opening quarter, kept the Huskers on their own side of midfield throughout the afternoon.
Their kicks didn’t average much longer than those of Johnny Howell and Bill Anderson. It was their manner of making them that made them superior. They sent the soggy ball soaring not only far but high. Their ends practically jogged down the field under it, often killing it and when not doing this, waiting, like cats at a mousehole, until the Husker safety just dared to try a sprint in rebuttal.
Johnny Howell didn’t play very long, principally because Anderson had a bit more pedal dynamite. Bill got pretty impressive distance, but his elevation was bad. Before his teammates could get down the squashy play yard, first this same Merrell and then this same Huddleston would field the ball and wade and plow and, when there was turf beneath, scamper precious yards back toward the Nebraska goal.
Chiefly because of this – the Sooner punting and the Sooner returns of Nebraska’s punts by the very same hands who did the Sooners’ punting – the Huskers never did get in position to try anything aggressive with more than remote prospects of success.
The Huskers might have fared even worse, so freakish and unpredictable are the impositions of weepy weather, had it not been for William Callihan. William is rapidly assuming the stature of a guy who delivers in the clutches. He delivered last Saturday at Ames, and he delivered again today. He played the entire afternoon on both occasions and today his furious charges over surprisingly long stretches of mire and grease offset the Sooners’ edge in kicks and returns of kicks when a counterkick almost surely would have put the Huskers in something of a hole.
Had the Huskers ever been able to get a first down a few paces on the thither side of a midfield, William might have had enough power and drive to accomplish a touchdown. But the Huskers never did, so William’s plunges and spins can only be recorded as saving him and his mates from real embarrassment.
As things turned out, the Sooners never really threatened despite their kicking maneuvers which kept the floundering and skidding in Nebraska’s domain for almost all of 60 minutes.
The Sooners made two rather foolish attempts at field goals by placement – that is, they were foolish as deliberate attempts to score three points by this method, but wise when regarded as punts on which rode the desperate possibility of a premium.
In the second quarter, Fullback Hugh McCullough swung his wet boot against the ball that had been teed almost 50 yards from the uprights. He failed.
A brief spell before the game ended, Prof. Stidham sent in Raphael Boudreau, who is something of a specialist at this business. Raphael sought in vain to make a partly-blocked Anderson punt pay three points by kicking from 34 yards ahead of the crossbars. The ball sailed low.
Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.
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