#16 Nebraska 20
#19 Baylor 0

Oct. 21, 1939 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

Huskers Humble Huge Baylor, 20-0


This pass, Rohrig to Ray Prochaska, who makes leaping catch ... nets third Nebraska touchdown in third period. E.K. LANGEVIN/THE WORLD-HERALD


Speedy Nebraska Forwards Keep Bears from Threatening; Southwest Air Experts Take Lesson in Passing

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Oct. 21 — Baylor, which some of us thought might be as menacing as Minnesota, either turned out to be the easiest of the four to date or else the Jones Boys hit a new high in the use of what the Major has taught them.

At any rate, 27 thousand customers, many of whom must have come here harboring feelings of unease, saw the Jones Boys score 20 points while holding the Southwesterners virtually helpless.

The Southwesterners' plight was pretty accurately reflected in the record which says they made no points, but it would seem further enlightening to add that the Southwesterners never really threatened, not even during the two quarters when the brisk northwest wind was their ally.

Big Bears Are Slow

Baylor had prodigious size, but Baylor had no speed to compare with Nebraska's, save in the high-action legs of a junior back named Jimmy Witt. Baylor doubtless missed its sophomore triple-threater Jack Wilson, whose injuries forced him to the unhappy bench after little more than 15 minutes of valiant but vain effort.

Baylor almost never could function with the unity necessary to make mere weight and size pay something like a premium.

Toss Well — to Huskers

And Baylor, out of the Southwest, where throwing is as much a part of football as of baseball, saw its pitchers fling with dismaying accuracy throughout the afternoon — not to Baylor ends and backs but to Cornhusker defenders.

Meanwhile those among the Baylor ranks who were in a position to observe watched during the third quarter a pitching and fielding exhibition which they, native Southwesterners, might accept as an example to be emulated.

For the first time this term, the Huskers showed what they could do in the air, and to do it they chose the third quarter, the interval that had gone dismally for their side in the first three games.

Rohrig to Prochaska

Hermie Rohrig presented himself in the role of pitcher, and supported by a cast composed of No. 2, and even No. 3 hands he pitched twice to touchdowns. Both times the catches were made by Ray Prochaska, whose droopy eyes belie the agility that marks his movements. Both times Ray Prochaska just made the catches. That's all that was necessary, because he waited in the end zone.

This Rohrig-to-Prochaska business, along with Rohrig's perfect placements boosted to 20 points the scoring that was started in the first quarter by the No. 1 eleven with Harry Hopp in Rohrig's left half position. Hermie was supposed to be ailing from bruises suffered a week ago at Ames.

Try Power First

The manner of the accomplishment of the first six points should prove downright embarrassing to those who have called Major Jones a teacher who cannot develop power attacks, because it was power and speed that carried the scrimmage line from 47 yards out to the necessary position behind the enemy goal before more than six and a half minutes had been played.

This assault, which was almost a sort of game-inaugurating celebration, also indicated what each ticking minute substantiated — that the Husker linemen, any combination of them from those including the brilliant Warren Alfson and the Brothers Schwartzkopf to the beginners who hadn't been shooed into action until this day, were clearly superior to the much meatier and vastly more experienced young men in the gold and green. Perhaps the single big reason for the profitable happenings was this superiority up ahead, which manifest itself both on offense and defense both at blocking and at tackling, and was particularly spectacular at hurrying and harassing Passer Witt.

Turn on the Power

The power-pressure began after Harry Hopp had run back three yards to the Bears' 47 with W.J. Grumbles' punt. Harry short-passed to Butch Luther, who, when seemingly about to be tackled, flipped a lateral to Cowboy Petsch. The Cowboy rode wild to the 29 before Tackle Louie Robinson felled him.
Hopp added 11 yards by bulling his way around left end.

Then Vike Francis spun through the middle for 10 more. Alfson and his associates were deadly at the way-clearing business.

Then Master Hopp really rammed. He rammed straight ahead and so powerful was his charge that three Bear defenders lunged and clutched and then recoiled to the turf with great violence. There simply was no stopping Harry until he had driven himself over those essential 10 paces.

Francis' placement end-over-ended high, then fell abruptly, wide of the east upright, and it was 6 to 0.

Amazing Brute Force

Rather frequently during the afternoon, Hopp and Francis gave further demonstrations of brute force that sometimes were little short of amazing. And Bob DeFruiter and Butch Luther and Bob Kahler ran off tackle and around the ends, and Hopp and Rohrig used their skilled strength at making slanting, yard-devouring thrusts through the Gold and Green line.

The Huskers missed by a split-second failure to react, another touchdown in the opening period. Rohrig fired a beautiful pass to End Bob Ludwick, who had ahead of him some 25 yards of clear field all the way to the goal. The ball seemed to zip downward through the kid's tense, outstretched hands.

That was the only time the Huskers really muffed opportunity, although in the third quarter DeFruiter ran 16 yards over the goal on one of those virtually sure-shot reverses and then saw the touchdown nullified because the gendarmerie had detected clipping. This set the Huskers back to the 25, but it really didn't matter because it was from here, on the very next play, that Hermie pitched the first of those two touchdown tosses to the younger Prochaska.

Nearly Sweeps Bench

No. 2 and No. 3 boys dominated the lineup that checked the Bears' second-quarter attempts to run with the ball and either grounded their aerial sorties or gobbled them up and went racing upfield with them.

No. 2 and No. 3 boys, as mentioned in the foregoing, controlled the game during those first 15 minutes after intermission, and while doing so gave to supposed specialists in passing a convincing lesson at their own specialty. The Major used everyone on the bench but Bus Knight, Hubert Knickrehm, Marvin Thompson and Howard Kelly. Knight was handicapped by hurts. Thompson and Kelly are sophomores who may not start their careers until next fall.

The Major sent back his current first lineup when the teams changed goals for the last time, because the high wind was once again on Baylor's side. But Baylor never got a chance to make much use of it. The Huskers had the ball most of the time.

Mix Power, Speed

Hopp and Francis and then Hopp and Henry Rohn powered a drive from their 30 to the Baylor 22. Once three plays produced as many first downs. Two came in succession, were followed by one failure and one loss and then came the third that shot Hopp past the line and through the secondary for 24 yards.

All were power and speed maneuvers because against the wind passing was practically impossible. Here alone perhaps did the wind prove to be Baylor's ally. Not having to watch for passes the weary Bears braced and forced Hopp to punt. He proceeded to give an emulation of Rohrig's earlier marvelously accurate booting. Out on the one-yard line went the ball. Harry had kicked from the 28.

Baylor Complete a Pass

Baylor was still in trouble. But though they ran and hammered, the Huskers didn't score again. The Major used the remaining time to smarten more understudies, and the understudies couldn't quite add enough to the efforts of their experienced mates to put the ball across once more. But they kept control of the proceedings to the very end, even though Baylor managed to complete a pass on the final play. All the completion did, though, was give the Bears their third first down. The Huskers made 13.

Figures Tell Story

The Bears completed but three of 11 passes, saw four intercepted by red shirts. The Huskers tried nine and five were good.

The net yardage read 61 for the Bears, 247 for the Huskers, and this figure, along with those just above, tell pretty eloquently in brief what I've taken more than a column and a half to tell in more or less detail.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 11-1 all-time against Baylor.

See all games »


1939 season (7-1-1)

Indiana Sept. 30
Minnesota Oct. 7
Iowa State Oct. 14
Baylor Oct. 21
Kansas State Oct. 28
Missouri Nov. 4
Kansas Nov. 11
Pittsburgh Nov. 18
Oklahoma Nov. 25

This day in history

Nebraska has played 18 games on Oct. 21. See them all »

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