Nebraska 14
Minnesota 9

Oct. 2, 1937 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

Nebraska’s Surprise Victory Over Minnesota Most Astounding Since Those Famous Games with Notre Dame


Underneath this pile is Johnny Howell and six precious Nebraska points. THE WORLD-HERALD


Mighty Roar Rises After Game Is Over

Crowd Passive at First, Reconciled to Defeat Until Howell Scores

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.— Almost as interesting as the mechanics of the game itself was the crowd reaction here Saturday as the Cornhuskers stopped Minnesota in an astounding upset that must go down in the archives as a surprise equal in magnitude to those victories over Notre Dame back in ’22 and ’23.

The vast throng came to the battle ground reconciled to the thought that the Huskers were in for an unavoidable beating.

In contrast to the pre-game fervor that is naturally attendant to all the big games at Lincoln, the throng that packed the stadium was strangely passive at the start.

The superiority of the Gophers was so obvious early in the game, the ultimate outcome such a foregone conclusion, that neither Nebraska nor Minnesota rooters were in the mood for hysterical outbursts.

Unbelievable Sight

Even when Jack Dodd scrambled his way to the four-yard line in the second quarter, the stands did not break out into the wild gibbering that attended those old Notre Dame games. The crowd came to its feet but was frozen tense by the unbelievable sight before its collective eyes.

Then Johnny Howell plunged over and Lowell English booted the placement that sent the home breds ahead, 7 to 6. At this the strain broke and the pent-up emotions of the thousands exploded in one mighty roar.

Yet even at this point you could sense a restrained attitude. Spectators seemed reluctant to cheer too wildly for fear of breaking the charm. It looked like Minnesota could come back whenever it chose.

Short-Lived Glory

Sure enough, six minutes later, Negro Horace Bell put toe to swineskin for a fielder in such casual fashion that the big Norseland delegation settled back, as uneasiness dissipated, and the Nebraska crowd settled back, to figuring it had had its moment — one that hadn’t even been anticipated except by a few diehards who let sentiment run away with their better judgment.

But when Andrews intercepted a pass on Minnesota’s now-or-never efforts late in the game, the stands suddenly seemed to realize that it was sitting in on a kill by which the killer was now the victim, the victim now the wielder.

Crescendo Roar

As the last minute ran out, the low murmur became a heavy growl and as the last few seconds ticked the game away in to history, that roar increased with a steady crescendo that assumed hurricane-like intensity.

With the pop of the last gun, sanity left the Nebraska side while the Minnesotans came slowly to their feet and staggered toward the gate like so many sleep-walkers.

It took no prognostician to see that the downtown Lincoln property owners and the gendarnmes were going to be in for a premature Halloween that might shut down a few structures. There was a terrific rush for the liquor counters, a mad gangup on hard clerks as hundreds who had planned to leave after the game decided to remain and celebrate.

Alf Landon Pulls for N.U.

Guest of Governor R.L. Cochran of Nebraska at the Minnesota-Nebraska game Saturday was Landon, Republican nominee in the last presidential election and former governor of Kansas.

“When you Nebraskans come to Kansas for football, we are all against you,” Landon said, “and when you go outside of the Big Six conference we are all for you.”

Governor Cochran, at the head when Nebraska was leading 7 to 6, said:

“It’s a great game, especially at this time when we are ahead!”

Game Commissioner Deserts His Lakes

Herman C. Wenzel, Minnesota’s commissioner of conservation, attended the game with a group of Minnesota businessmen. Commissioner Wenzel has charge of all game, fish, lakes, forge mines, dams and rivers in the northland state. He was accompanied by Ed Shave, director of publicity in that department.

Rooters’ Remarks Vary by School

Typical remarks as the crowd filed out of the stadium:

Nebraska rooter: “Well, the season’s a big success if they can win another one.”

Minnesota rooter: “I still don’t believe it.”

Nebraska rooter: “I’m going to take one drink for every minute (60) of that game.”

Minnesota rooter: “Let us get the hell out of this town.”

Miss Cardwell and Francis

It seemed funny not to see Cardie and his long loping runs around end, his gallops with punt returns. It seemed funny not to see Sam’l Francis putting big left hoff to long, high kicks, to see him backing up the line with Brother Charley Brock.

“There’s no color in that Nebraska team without ‘em,” fans were heard to say early in the game.

Nobody missed the famed pair in the last quarter. Cardie and Francis never beat Minnesota in three years.

Judge Crowd at 36,000

The crowd was estimated at 36 thousand. The stadium proper was packed to capacity, with fans even parking in the aisles. The single set of bleachers north of the gridiron was jammed, also the front tier of the south temporaries. Some five hundred seats in the back tier were unoccupied.

An estimated 15 thousand fans were parked around the play field half an hour before game time.

Cowboys, but No Six-Shooters

Most colorful fans were a group of Wyoming visitors. They were outfitted in true cowboy style: 10-gallon hats, purple sleeve holders, multicolored bandanas around their necks. Yes, and they were whooping a-plenty. No six-shooters were in evidence, however.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 25-33 all-time against Minnesota.

See all games »


1937 season (6-1-2)

Minnesota Oct. 2
Iowa State Oct. 9
Oklahoma Oct. 16
Missouri Oct. 23
Indiana Oct. 30
Kansas Nov. 6
Pittsburgh Nov. 13
Iowa Nov. 20
Kansas State Nov. 27

This day in history

Nebraska has played 15 games on Oct. 2. See them all »

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