Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 7 — Memorial Stadium walls which echoed the cheers of a great band of Cornhuskers in 1937 reverberated to the same strains Saturday afternoon as a happy bunch celebrated a well-earned 6-0 victory.
The dressing room scene reminded one of the joy in a household which had just received word of a half-million dollar strike on a lottery ticket.
In every sense it was a family party of players, coaches, trainers, student managers.
Substitutes slapped each other on the back. Tired varsity players hugged each other, sang in the showers and cut up.
Members of the two varsity combinations each tried to pass credit to the other. First stringers praised the others for uncorking the scoring punch. The second outfit toasted the first for holding the fort with a series of great goal-line stands in the third period.
Fans, weary from that third period when it seemed the Gophers were certain to score, found the final gun a tonic. It touched off an impromptu celebration in the stands.
Students who had shredded their cheer-section cards for a colorful shower as the fourth quarter opened tossed programs in the air and danced for joy.
More sedate alumni shook hands with a "what do you know about that?"
Corncobs and Tassels gave the players a guard of honor to the dressing room, returned to the east stadium and dragged the old university bell, now mounted on a truck, downtown for a parade of O street.
The Scottsbluff High School band added to the general merriment with 81 musicians blasting "The Beer Barrel Polka."
After the dressing room returned to a semblance of quiet, Major Biff Jones assembled the squad, congratulated the boys on a well-played game and reminded them that next week the Huskers open the Big Six season at Iowa State.
"There is plenty of work to be done next week and I want every boy on the job Monday afternoon," Biff explained.
In an impromptu press conference, Jones said he felt encouraged over the way the two first Nebraska combinations functioned.
"The boys defeated a good team," Jones said. "Minnesota played good, clean football but I thought Nebraska had the edge in speed and enthusiasm."
Jones added he thought Nebraska coaches had been able to learn more of the qualifications of the Huskers during the 7-7 tie at Indiana than Coach Bernie Bierman had been able to observe about the Gophers during last week's 62-0 breather with Arizona.
The Minnesota room was tinged with gloom.
Bierman was not the least backward in his praise of the Cornhuskers.
"Nebraska was the better team. The Cornhuskers outfought us and seemed to play with more zip. The Nebraska line outcharged us and seemed to play with the 'desire to win.' Our tackling was below standard and in several stages of the game our quarterbacking was open to question," said Bierman.
Lincoln wasn't very excited Saturday night.
Downtown streets were little busier than usual and police had no calls to quiet disturbances.
One Nebraska supporter serenades a waitress with a harmonica. A companion passed his hat among the restaurant patrons. Contributions: Two potato chips.
The sidewalk around one hotel was empty, because persons above had been dropping paper sacks filled with water.
After the Cornhuskers whipped Minnesota, 14-9, two years ago, Lincolnites celebrated as they had few times before.
The day's only suffered was L.J. Luther, 4540 Hickory, Omaha traveling salesman, who told police his pocket had been picked. He identified himself as an uncle of Walter Luther, Husker halfback.
Nebraska's scoring play was a dead ringer for the touchdown play at Indiana last week.
Butch Luther was on the scoring end of the reverse against the Hoosiers while Bob DeFruiter was on the business end of the swing around the Gopher line.
Both jaunts finished in the corner of the field.
Henry Rohn was through to the last man in the fourth quarter after he split the middle of the Gopher line. A Nebraska blocker made a desperate lunge to cut off the safety but a Minnesota tackler managed to reach the Fremont back.
Neither team had an injury. Rohn was forced out after his sprint but quickly recovered. Gopher Guard Pukema was helped from the field but responded to prompt treatment.
Two place kicks were missed.
Joe Mernick's first period attempt from the 33 was short and wide. Vike Francis' fourth quarter effort from the 25 was blocked but the Nebraska sophomore recovered to keep the ball near Minnesota's goal.
The Cornhusker pass defense which leaked at Indiana was much improved. Herman Rohrig batted down a frantic toss in the end zone during the third period. Luther intercepted another fourth down heave on the Nebraska three.
The drive against Minnesota should silence some of Major Jones' critics who insisted the Huskers had no offense. They showed plenty of tricks. The return to form by Harry Hopp was one of the highlights.
The entire board of strategy was at the game. End Coach W.H. Browne, who scouted the Gophers, and Line Coach Link Lyman viewed the game from the press box and telephoned their observations to the bench for Jones and Backfield Coach Glenn Presnell.
Roy Petsch dived over the Nebraska bench after catching a short pass in the first quarter.
The crowd of 33 thousand was one of the largest opening day turnouts in Nebraska history. The knothole section, which will make its first appearance at the Baylor game, October 21, may send that crowd to 35 thousand.
Scottsbluff High's band of 81 paraded before the game. The musicians made the 450-mile trip to see the Scottsbluff-Lincoln game Friday night and the Nebraska-Minnesota game. The Nebraska band played between halves and presented new marching formations.
Nebraska faced the wind for three quarters. The light breeze switched just before the Huskers changed to defend the south goal for the final quarter.
Bob DeFruiter, sophomore back from Lexington, was the big ground gainer. He averaged six and two-tenths yards in five attempts. Hopp averaged nearly four; Rohn two in 20; Francis two in six; Dobson two in three; Rohrig one in 11.
Harold Van Every led Minnesota with 4 and five-tenths in 21; Franck averaged four in eight; Christiansen two in 11; Sweiger two in five; Bruce Smith one in five and Joe Mernik one and five-tenths in six.
Nebraska is 25-33 all-time against Minnesota.
|Iowa State||Oct. 14|
|Kansas State||Oct. 28|
Nebraska has played 17 games on Oct. 7. See them all »
©2019 BH Media Group