Ahearn Field, Manhattan, Kans., Nov. 27 – With 20 seconds left in the first half, Guard Lowell English this afternoon place kicked over Kansas State’s crossbar, three points that can be called the most important the Cornhuskers scored all season. They were all the points that both teams made during 60 minutes of fierce floundering contest on a field made slick by ice and snow.
They were the most important points because they did these things:
1. They gave the Big Six championship to the team that almost no one last September expected to go very far. This is the eighth time in 10 seasons that Nebraska has won the title.
2. They made those brilliant victories over Minnesota and Indiana and the overwhelming of Iowa’s hapless Hawkeyes stand up for a clear claim to the middle western premiership. Nebraska dominates all the vast domain between Ohio’s eastern boundary and the Rockies, between the Canadian line and the upper reaches of the deep south.
3. In short, those three points gave Nebraska its grandest record since the gaudy days in the century’s early teens, when the Stiehm roller crushed all challengers. The kids whom Major Jones fashioned by brilliant technique into the midlands’ most successful array lost but a single contest, to Pittsburgh, and were held even twice, by Oklahoma and Kansas University.
It was Lowell English’s last game. It was the last game, too, for Fred Shirey, Elmer Dohrmann, Bobby Mehring, Johnny Howell, Ted Doyle, John Richardson, Paul Amen, Gus Peters, Harris Andrews and Art Ball. These 11 played through three campaigns without suffering defeat by a conference rival. Thrice they were tied, by Kansas State on this same field in their sophomore year, in addition to the two stalemates in their closing term.
Lowell English kicked true from the 23-yard line after the Wildcats, aided and handicapped no more nor no less than the Huskers by the slippery going and the freezing north wind, had repulsed the game’s sole goal line assault two short paces from the end zone.
Bill Callihan had rammed at the middle, had pushed a mass of opponents and mates back two yards when four yards were needed. The Wildcats took the ball on downs.
Thus, as many had anticipated, the Wildcats had found themselves against the Nebraskans. They became a team, an efficient, formidable unit that might have confounded Nebraska’s ground attack on a dry, firm field.
The Wildcats had punted out of danger. There had been an exchange, after Nebraska’s passes had failed and the Kansas backs had been unable to put together the yardage needed for first downs.
Then, on his own six, Fullback Bob Briggs fumbled. The icy ball bobbed free. Jack Dodd and Gus Peters both dived at it. Jack landed on the ball. Gus landed on Jack.
Thirty seconds remained. Howell raced back from the bench, replacing Phelps. Dodd was shot at right tackle. He didn’t gain, but he accomplished his purpose. He moved the ball in front of the goal posts.
Lowell English tossed his helmet onto the snow. Back 23 yards from the goal line, 33 yards from the uprights, Howell knelt. Charley Brock made a perfect snapback. Howell teed the ice-water-logged ball.
English stepped forward. His swinging foot scuffed up a little cloud of snow as it met the ball. The ball sailed over carrying with it, as subsequent developments proved, great gobs of glory.
To attempt a dovetailed chronicle of other happenings that were perpetrated by the stiff-fingered boys in the red and purple jerseys before a huddling, shivering six thousand would be as futile as those happenings themselves.
The Huskers discovered early that this was no day to depend on their light backs. The light backs skidded on their bellies. They coasted on their sterns. So Thurston Phelps pitched. Despite numb fingers he pitched beautifully, but when catches would almost surely have produced touchdowns the receiver’s fingers refused to bend, and the ball bounced out of their hands.
At the start of the last quarter, Dodd and Marvin Plock executed one of those might-have-been plays that plainly was inspired by the touchdown against Pittsburgh.
Plock fielded Cleveland’s punt about 15 yards ahead of the Husker goal, almost between the sidelines. He scampered toward the left boundary. Starting near that frontier, Dodd raced toward the right side. As their paths crossed, Block fed Dodd the ball, and Dodd kept on until he had all but crossed the field. Then he turned and raced along the right side stripe. The maneuver fooled nearly all the Wildcats, but not enough of them. Cleveland and Kenny Nordstrom chased Dodd off the field after he had covered 28 yards.
This same Master Cleveland produced a shocker right after the Huskers had done all the scoring that was necessary. No more than 10 seconds remained in the first half when the Wildcats lined up on their 20 after Doyle had kicked off into the end zone. There was only time for a play or so. Maybe the Huskers, reflecting on this, grew careless. Anyway, Cleveland fooled the Huskers and nearly ruined them.
Eighty long, perilous yards from the payoff line he cleared the defensive left end on a reverse and dashed along the sideline 37 yards before Fred Shirey ran him down. Cleveland is a sprinter, so this feat will give you an idea of the boy Shirey’s get-along prowess on this day.
Time ran out before the Wildcats could do anything more than try one pass. The try cost them 12 yards, because Shirey broke into their backfield and dumped Cleveland on the soles of his pants.
But the Wildcats were encouraged by their brilliant halfback’s feat, and the encouragement lived during the intermission, which was prolonged five minutes to enable the kids more nearly to thaw out.
The Wildcats began the third quarter with a banging, ripping offensive that carried them 34 yards on two plays. Big Briggs lowered his head and charged the middle. The middle blew east and west and upward and Briggs pounded through for 19 yards before little Plock felled him in a scene that was reminiscent of the fuss between David and Goliath.
But the Wildcats weren’t through. The ball was on the Huskers’ 40. The Huskers knew all about Briggs by now, and Cleveland realized it. So Cleveland let the Huskers mind Briggs while he skipped off left tackle on a reverse and kept skipping until Dodd and Charley Brock nailed him with a flank movement 25 yards from the goal.
This was enough. It was too much. The Huskers asked for recess and went into conference. When they came out of their deliberations, Charley Brock had solved the difficulty. The Wildcats were checked. They were done.
Wes Fry used a passel of hands, withdrawing and inserting them frequently not so much to rest them as to warm them. The linemen on both sides showed a marked preference for cotton flannel gloves. The backs and ends eyed them enviously.
Five Huskers played 60 minutes. They were Plock, Doyle, Callihan, Dodd and Brock. In Friday evening’s limbering up session on the home field, Harris Andrews aggravated a leg injury suffered in the Iowa game. He finished on the bench a career that was always competent, sometimes brilliant.
Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.
|Iowa State||Oct. 9|
|Kansas State||Nov. 27|
Nebraska has played 13 games on Nov. 27. See them all »
©2019 BH Media Group