LINCOLN — Dr. John Bain Sutherland kept all his No. 1 hands save Biggie Goldberg at hard labor for 55 minutes of this afternoon's playing time, and 34 thousand unswerving Cornhusker loyalists saw them score 19 points to the Cornhuskers' none.
Ordinarily, 19 points would indicate that the team which made them ran the proceedings in rather dictatorial fashion, and might with safety have been given the relief of substitutions.
But this despite the fact that it added one more victory to Pitt's long successes over the Nebraskans, was no ordinary encounter.
At least, it was no ordinary encounter for a good half the interval allowed for warring. It was one of those affrays whose ardor and possibilities are by no means reflected in the final points for and against.
Two Cornhusker errors were necessary to set the once-beaten Panthers to sweeping the ends and banging and twisting through the line with sufficient vehemence to produce touchdowns.
A Cornhusker failure may have contributed considerable to Pitt's upsurge, too, for it was the Cornhuskers who had the first opportunity to score.
And what's more, the opportunity came after they had shocked the multitude by sternly repulsing the first offensive sortie of Dick Cassiano, Curly Stebbins and their associates.
The Pitts, as you might expect, tried to march to the payoff right after they'd put German Herman Rohrig's tremendous across-the-end-line kickoff in play on their 20-yard line.
But that's about the only instance of reasonable expectations holding good during the game's early stages.
The finest defensive play of the season stifled the Pitts' early determination on the Huskers' 43.
And then the Huskers took charge!
Midway of the first quarter, George Knight pitched precisely into German Herman's arms. German Herman set off on a furious run that jerked the customers not merely to, but several inches off, their feet.
First he charged eastward, then westward, then eastward again, always toward the goal. Mates blocked, and German Herman stiff-armed twice as he progressed through the entire Panther lineup. One of those jolts took all the menace out of the brilliant Master Stebbins.
German Herman seemed goalbound for sure until suddenly, somehow, Tackle Elmer Merkovsky executed a flank movement, slightly from the rear, and brought him down 22 yards out. Pass and sprint netted 25 astounding, exciting yards.
Running plays couldn't quite produce a first down, though, so from his 21 German Herman prepared to boot a fourth-down placement. Charley Brock's hard snapback was a trifle high. Jack Dodd juggled it, then dropped it. German Herman recovered on the 23, but there the Panthers took possession on downs.
The clock began to tick off the second quarter and still the Huskers were doing about an even-up job. Jock Sutherland sent in an understudy lineup to start the period. It played about three minutes — until Bill Callihan fumbled after a fake-punt plunge. End Joe Rettinger fell on the ball on the Husker 10. Back went Jock's No. 1 hands, save Biggie, who spent the afternoon beside his boss.
Jock's No. 1 hands seldom fail when the touchdown scent is that strong. They didn't fail this time. Dick Cassiano went across in two attempts — first rhough left tackle for four yards, then wide around left end for the essential remainder. George Seemann dived, caught one leg as he pivoted to shoot straight ahead. But that only checked him for a split second. He continued his short, hasty trip unmolested. Bill Daddio failed to kick the extra point.
And still the Jones Boys were very much in the game. Even the fact that Dr. Sutherland kept his top boys against them to start the second half produced no discouragement. They battled valiantly and successfully against both veteran opponents and the stiff northwest wind.
Then came the second error and the second consignment of points for Pitt.
Bus Knight's punt rolled off the side of his shoe, bounced to the turf about three yards beyond the scrimmage line and beyond the sideline, 27 yards from the Husker goal.
Once more the Pitts bore down.
Cassiano and Stebbins alternated at slashing their way to the five. Ben Kish plunged to make it a first down on the four, Stebbins cut back through the right side for three and the Kish dived again. Daddio didn't kick the seventh point this time either, and it was 12 to 0.
After that the Huskers did sag. The third touchdown capped a 69-yard running and passing advance. Stebbins and Cassiano did the running and the pitching, too. John Chickerneo left his blocking role to make a couple of important catches. The drive began late in the third period and ended early in the last with Cassiano charging straight ahead across the last three yards and carrying Harry Hopp with him. This time Master Daddio's boot followed the productive course and it was 19 to 0.
There was still much life and hope in the Huskers, although, the latter must have been of the pretty desperate sort. Desperation often produces great stuff. It did this time, on the kickoff that followed that third touchdown.
German Herman, who had rested an injury on the sidelines for quite a spell, returned to receive Guard Steve Petro's boot and slip it to Dodd. Most of the Pitts set out after German Herman, who raced toward the east sideline. Dodd scampered along the west boundary 38 yards before Guard Albin Lazouski thumped his down on the Pitt 48. That was the Huskers' last heavy thrust.
Maybe they had seen too much of this kid Lazouski, who with Bill Daddio and Fabian Hoffman, his mate at the other end, were the standouts in the Panther line. There was just much too much of this trio throughout the last two quarters in particular. Observers from Pittsburgh said both Daddio and Lazouski played their best game of the season on this day, and Hoffman certainly wasn't far behind.
Pitt people also said the score should have been Pitt 19, Charley Brock 0.
"If Charley hadn't been in there it might have been 58 to 0," said Chet (Time Out) Smith, of the Pittsburgh Press.
"I've never seen a grander performance by a defensive center. He bobbed up everywhere on the field, at times when it looked as if nothing could stop Cassiano and Stebbins. How he covers so much ground, how he knows where to be at the right time, I don't pretend to know."
I can only write that Brock played with his usual superior brilliance. I've seen him do it for three seasons. This fall I've seen him surpass his previous superhuman efforts in a grand attempt to offset the handicap of green men in the line.
But Charley has had one tremendous helper, and he had him again today, in old reliable Will Callihan. And the third member of this tireless trio, who like Brock and Callihan played almost the full game, was often at the right place at the right second. Yes, give Jack Dodd a big hand, too.
But there was improvement up ahead, how much one must have seen the early games in order to appreciate. Linemen participated in a good many tackles. In the first half they stopped the Panthers on the line and once in a while in their own backfield. Later, true enough, most of the tackles were made in the Husker secondary, but the linemen, unlike their record in previous contests, kept helping to make them.
Bill Herrmann went the full 60 minutes at right guard, and I'm one guy who is bowing low to that brave lightweight. I'm making similar gestures in the direction of Adna Dobson, too, and George Seemann and Lloyd Grimm and Leonard Muskin and Bob Mills and Forrest Behm. For all of them played their best game of 1938 and none of them ever quit trying. Bill Andreson, too, did a fine job during the brief time he was in for Callihan.
Nebraska is 6-15 all-time against Pittsburgh.
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