#8 Nebraska 7
Missouri 0

Oct. 23, 1937 • Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo.

Phelps Passes to Plock to Give Huskers 7-0 Nod Over Missouri

Alert Cornhusker Jack Dodd Squelches Missouri Uprising – Halfback Jack Dodd squelched a first-quarter Missouri threat when he intercepted a Tiger pass on the Nebraska 26 and raced back 47 yards. He is pictured midway in his gallop. ELDON LANGEVIN/THE WORLD-HERALD

Fireball Flip Brings First Period Score

It’s a Battle of Subs After Early Tally; Tigers Never Close

Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo., Oct. 23 – A minute remained to be ticked off in the first quarter when Marvin Plock made all the points that were scored during the annual meeting of the Cornhuskers and Tigers this afternoon. The little halfback accounted for seven of them.

The Huskers lined up 12 yards from the Tigers’ goal. It was third down. Thurston Phelps, understudy to the ailing Johnny Howell, made a fireball pitch. Lefty Grove and Bob Feller have to wind up to generate the kind of momentum Thurston put into this simple, unforecast throw.

Sails Across Goal

Marvin half-turned and made the catch no more than a stride or two beyond the line of scrimmage. He was outside Ray Moss, the Tiger right end. He stayed outside, and ran on the bias, over the goal. That is, he appeared at least to run. There were those among the 17 thousand that gathered here who insist that the force of Thurston’s throw carried the little guy across. Certainly it added to his speed. Neither Master Moss nor halfback Henry Mahley touched him. Then Marvin kicked a placement that sailed high and true over the crossbars.

As developments proved, the game was as good as over right after the scoreboard had recorded the seventh point. Save for sporadic intervals, a parade of Jones boys who finally reached the populous total of 25, had control of an even greater number of Tigers throughout the 46 minutes that remained.

Never in Real Danger

Major Jones almost matched young Professor Faurot at making substitutions, a business on which Professor Faurot is thought by some to be slightly hipped. This may have meant that Major Jones saw nothing to fear in the Missourians’ offensive tactics. If that was the case, then happenings proved him right. Only by giving the phrase considerable of a free style meaning could one say that the Huskers were ever in anything resembling danger.

Missouri wasn’t as formidable an outfit as lost to the Nebraskans, 0 to 20, in Memorial Stadium last year.

And the Nebraskans who kept their season’s record clear of defeat this afternoon were far from being as emphatic as their immediate predecessors.

Regulars Play Half

It was a wrangle between two constantly changing lineups that had a great deal more in the way of defense than in the way of goalward aggression. But this fact must not be overlooked: Major Jones used the boys who comprise the first call lineup but little more than half of the time.

They were all first call hands, save Plock and Phelps, who manned the offensive when the seven points were made. And yet the kids directly responsible for those points were these same subs Plock and Phelps. But when most of the starters had been called to the sidelines, the second and third stringers couldn’t put together anything resembling consistent offensive maneuvers, though they did manage beautifully to keep the Tigers from doing so.

Tiger Aerials Fizzle

The Tigers expected the Huskers to try for touchdowns by running and plunging. They revised their defense accordingly, and this had a great deal to do with their undoing.

They played an eight-man line, the three backers-up pressing so close against their five mates up front that they were practically in the same rank. When Phelps shot that high-powered pass, the Tigers just didn’t have a man in position to do anything about it.

The Huskers looked for the Tigers to lay down a veritable barrage of footballs, and this the Tigers tried to do, but with no success. Playing their regular 2-2-1 defense, the Huskers either dudded every aerial sortie or turned it to their own advantage.

The Nebraska veterans, plus Phelps, failed to capitalize on one grand opportunity before Plock replaced Little Man Andrews. Right after the kickoff, Phelps punted to Mahley, who fumbled the catch. Fred Shirey recovered on the Tigers’ 26, Little Man picked up four yards around left end, but Jack Dodd lost that and a yard more trying to clear the opposite flank. Phelps passed twice, to Dodd, who was bumped out of range by Back Art Murray, and to Elmer Dohrmann, who was late getting into the end zone. The Tigers took the ball on downs on their 20.

It looked like opportunity was going to rap an immediate encore when a few plays later this same Dodd intercepted Murray’s pass 26 yards from Nebraska’s goal and raced along the sideline 49 yards before the brilliant Houston Betty, executing a sort of flank movement, pulled him down from behind, on the Tigers’ 27.

Dodd Grabs, on Run

A 15-yard penalty for holding forced opportunity to spare its knuckles, but the Huskers milled around in the enemy’s domain until the big clock showed that little more than a minute of the opening period was left. Then came the only thing that resembled a sustained offense. And it did the necessary.

It began on the Huskers’ own 37, where Mahley had punted out. Bill Callihan worked his pet spinner twice and netted a first down on his own 48. He spun again, and the ball was in midfield. One play carried the battle zone from there to the Tigers’ 14. Phelps passed to this Dodd boy, who made the catch over his shoulder while galloping full tilt, then fell out of bounds.

Desperate Flips Miss

Callihan rammed the middle for a yard. Phelps tried the same play and added another yard, but too many of Thurston’s backfield mates were in motion. Missouri’s Captain Kirk, however, declined the penalty. Then Phelps, without winding up, emulated Lefty Grove, Plock ran, or was blasted over the goal line with, and maybe by, the catch.

This was all the real threatening done by either team throughout the combat. With 10 seconds left, the Huskers got possession on downs on the Tigers’ eight after a series of desperation passed had failed. There was time for one play. Andrews rammed the middle, but was stopped four yards short.

Professor Faurot’s pupils never got inside the Huskers’ 25-yard line. They got that close once. The red line smothered their ground attack, the red secondary ruined their passes. On fourth down, End Les Pieper dropped back to the 35, as if to try a placekick, with his team seven points behind.

No Husker was fooled. The Huskers noted that Hank Mahley didn’t touch his knee to the turf. He only tried to make it appear that he did. When Hank caught the snapback and instead of teeing it for Pieper, kited toward left end, a gang of Nebraskans broke through and chased him back. John Richardson spilled him for a nine-yard loss.

Midway of the fourth quarter, Little Man Andrews was beset by a severe attack of Hoover conservatism. He let a punt roll dead four short spaces from his own goal, although no Tigers were bearing down on him. But Phelps kicked out far enough to stifle the Tigers’ hopes.

Dodd Finds Self

Phelps did well. Even better did this Dodd, who until today had been just one of the boys in the lineup. Bill Callihan, hefting 195 now, was the only consistent gainer through the line, although Andrews and Plock made longer single gains than he. Bill’s finest performance was on defense. Charley Brock didn’t play much more than half the game, and when he was out, Bill’s duties increased when Missouri had the ball. He participated in at least half the tackles.

In the line, the standout among the kids who replaced the regulars was John Richardson. He ended several attempted sweeps in the Tiger backfield. Usually he stopped the Tiger safeties before they could get started upfield with punts.

Betty Good Match

Missouri’s top hands were in the line. There played lads who could match, or nearly match, the Husker forwards. They were led by Center Betty. Close behind him in defensive performance were Tackles Heidel and Rau, Guards Simon and Kirk. Mahley and a sub named Bob Jett split the Husker tackles a few times for good yardage, but this happened only when Missouri was deep in its own territory.


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Series history

Nebraska is 65-36 all-time against Missouri.

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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

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