Ahearn Field, Manhattan, Kans., Oct. 28 -- Through the last three and a half minutes of the second period and the first six and a half minutes following recess, the prospect appeared fair that history would practically duplicate itself on this play yard today.
Then, to employ a shopworm but fitting trade phrase, the Cornhuskers exploded.
By their own deft use of most of the get-ahead tactics known to the game and their swift capitalization on the errors perpetrated by the Kansas State boys, the Cornhuskers added to the 6-to-3 reckoning that would have repeated a classical performance 19 points to make their total 25.
With 25 seconds remaining, the weary but undaunted Wildcats managed to remove all historical parallel by making themselves six more points on an end-zone pass against a strange assortment of Cornhusker second and third-line hands.
This made the final reckoning Nebraska 25, Kansas State 9, and the final reckoning represented a busting habit that, to quote Major Jones, was as welcome and encouraging as it was unexpected. On every other autumn since 1927 the Cornhuskers had made the trip down the Blue River valley to wage against the Wildcats one of the campaign's fiercest contests. While the Huskers never failed to win, their usual margin was three points.
This day most of the two thousand Nebraskans among the nearly 16 thousand who looked on likely would have been willing to settle again for three points until that second half was well along.
They had seen Hermie Rohrig match in almost all the essential aspects the nigh-unbelievable punt-run back of Lewis (Bullet) Brown on this same field one dark and dripping afternoon in 1931.
The chief differences probably were that Bullet didn't fire himself until the game was nearly over, with the Wildcats leading 3 to 0, on Long Hank Cronkite's fielder for placement, and that Bullet dodged and twisted northward.
Hermie bounced and pounded and slippery-hipped almost due south late in the second period, two plays after Jim Brock had put himself and pals in the lead with a placement from the 23. A bright sun shone on the hastening Hermie, and a brisk wind blew against his wide, grim countenance.
Bullet Brown dashed 80 yards and so did Hermie. Both efforts produced six points, but on the day Bullet did it, the Huskers stopped there, and so did the Wildcats.
Here's an afternoon whose goings-on from here on seem best adapted to chronological handling.
Little more than four minutes remained in the opening half when Brock put the Wildcats three points to the good.
Early in the second period the Husker seconds had taken over and their most threatening offensive contribution had been Hermie's field goal attempt that went wide.
Then from their own 20, the Wildcats marched swiftly and devastatingly upfield, powered mostly by the tireless sophomore, Kent Duwe. This large-boned, bumpy-kneed, stork-legged young man delighted to whang through the line and then knock the backers-up rolling. He did this often and almost without interruption until the Wildcats had progressed 60 yards from their 20 to the Huskers' 20.
Major Jones relieved Backers-up Bob Ramey and Henry Rohn by sending in Adna Dobson and Fred Meier. He returned Royal Kahler to the line. Duwe found himself stopped 14 yards short, so Brock dropped back to the 23 and kicked truly the ball that Mel Seelye held against the turf. Three to nothing.
Rohrig kicked off. Two plays found the Wildcats pondering the loss of a yard that put the scrimmage line on their 28.
Seelye punted and the wind was a fine ally for the attainment of height and distance. Under the soaring ball Wildcats raced down the field. On his own 20, Hermie Rohrig poised to make the catch, and as he poised the tacklers closed in.
But no tackler ever touched Hermie. Obliquely he bounced and twisted and sprinted toward the opposite sideline to the south. Then after Royal Kahler had bunted one challenger into a state of ineffectiveness Hermie set his course due south. He traveled the last 35 yards almost in splendid isolation. But his placement was carried outside the uprights by the wind, and the score was 6 to 3.
Against the lineup that had started the game, the Wildcats touched off a pass attack right after the second half began. Almost immediately it backfired. Harry Hopp intercepted Frank Sicks' pitch and charged back 10 yards to the Wildcats' 40.
Thus did the explosion begin, and it didn't entirely cease until the Huskers' total read 25. Hopp plunged, then on a reverse Butch Luther dodged a half-dozen tacklers as he carried the battle line 24 yards ahead to the 14 where Elmer Nieman bunted him over the boundary.
Bus Knight called on Adna Dobson to hammer, and the fullback who was a guard until two weeks ago complied. He hammered the necessary two yards to give the Huskers first down on the four. He hammered again, and only a yard and a half more was needed. Hopp covered that by sort of forward passing himself over left guard. But again the wind blew, and Hopp's kick for the extra point was wide.
Twelve to three.
But less than two minutes ticked away before it was 18 to 3, just time enough for Hopp to kick off, Eddie Schwartzkopf to recover Seelye's fumble on the Wildcat 24 and Butch Luther to scamper on a reverse from the point of recovery over the goal.
It was the same kind of reverse that has scored at least once in every game to date. This time Harry Hopp slipped Butch the ball. The line blocked beautifully, and Butch was sprung into the enemy secondary. But once there, Butch was on his own, and his manner of handling himself was thrilling and remarkable. Four boys in the purple-embroidered white shirts sought with frantic vehemence to bring him down, and thy all suffered severe shock, both physical and mental. Butch knocked them rolling and spinning and crossed the goal standing. Hopp's kick was wide this time, too.
Eighteen to three.
The Wildcats' early assertiveness on the ground was spent. They tried the air, and failed there, too. There was too much Eddie Schwartzkopf wherever the Wildcats tried to gain passage. Eddie wasn't alone. Alfson and Burruss and Seemann and Ashburn and Preston and Big Brother Sam, they all were Johnnies-on-the-spot. Every kid that the Major sent on to the field seemed determined that there'd be no duplication of that Duwe-dominated Wildcat march in the second quarter. And there wasn't.
To exhibit their own versatility, the Huskers passed to their fourth and final touchdown. They did this soon after the beginning of the last period. Duwe fumbled, and Hermie Rohrig fell on the ball on the enemy 24. First Hermie pitched to Knight, who paralleled the sideline until he was crowded out on the nine. Then Hermie pitched again, this time to DeFruiter. Bob did a personal job of blocking Nieman, the only challenger, then cut sharply across.
Rohrig made this conversion good.
Twenty-five to three.
With the twenty-sixth to thirty-first Husker substitutions on the yard, the Wildcats resumed their efforts in the air.
They began far back, on their 11, where Rohrig's astounding 76-yard quick kick had rolled dead. Seelye did most of the throwing. Usually he aimed far down the field, one pitch, to Frank Barnhardt, carried from the 16 to the Husker 47. DeFruiter intercepted Seelye's next on his own 29 but he also fumbled there and Lyle Wilkins recovered.
Seelye shortened his range, once so short that a toss to Dick Peters was completed for a three-yard deficit. But finally he threw into the end zone where the waiting Barnhardt leaped high to connect. The wind carried Bill Nichols' placement wide, too, and the tally read 25 to 9 with 25 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats achieved an advantage in many of the statistical recordings, as the figures printed elsewhere will show. But most of this was done against the Major's newest understudies. The No. 1 Huskers and most of the No. 2 Huskers were simply too baffling and bruising a problem.
Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.
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