Nebraska 7
Kansas 0

Nov. 11, 1939 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

Huskers Squeeze Past Kansas, 7-0


Herman Rohrig rams through left tackle for Nebraska touchdown ... dragging Jayhawkers Bukaty and Morris with him ... the charge covers eight yards. ELDON LANGEVIN/THE WORLD-HERALD


Herm Rohrig Scores in Second Period; Nebraska Lethargy Offset by Alert Play When Jayhawks Try Passes

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nov. 11 – The lineup which Major Jones designates as No. 2 worked six points across the goal and another over the crossbar early in the second period and this was the only scoring in the forty-sixth meeting between the Cornhuskers and Jayhawkers.

The 7-to-0 reckoning kept alive the Cornhuskers' opportunity to tie for the Big Six title, but just how much alive must be a subject of debate among many of the 26 thousand who beheld the goings-on.
The discussions began as the customers slow-footed their way down out of the stands. Roughly, there appeared to be two schools of thought.

One school held that Gwinn Henry managed to fire his little squad with the same powerful determination as made Gwinn Henry's Missouri classes of a decade back the spectacular masters of both overwhelming odds and earnest Elmer Bearg's Nebraskans.

The Jayhawkers, this group maintained, played as they had never played before this term, and among the group were numerous partisans who were decorated with the crimson and blue of Mount Oread.

Therefore, said the conclusion, the Huskers didn't do so badly. They merely were faced by a mightier array than they had expected.

The Arguments Against

The opposing conclusion said that the Huskers were pretty bad, even awfully bad, and it was backed by accounts of a red-jerkined line that waited with costly courtesy for its guests to charge, of backs who appeared to forget which direction the play prescribed, of mistakes and mental and physical lethargy in general.

To this observer, appearances said the Kansans played with a gallant bravery that the Nebraskans did not anticipate.

The Kansans played themselves to exhaustion, and by their desperate efforts waged an all-but-even struggle through most of the 60 minutes.

Kansans’ Best Contest

True, they failed for the first time in six games to cross their opponent’s goal, and only as the timer poised with the taps gun did they complete a prayer-pass that made their sole serious threat at a crossing.

Yet the valiant Jayhawkers played their season’s finest contest. That their coach himself said.
It was on the defensive that they played it.

Time and again they stifled the Huskers’ running assaults after the Huskers had worked their way into scoring territory. It was the men of the line who were glorious at this business – Guards Guido Massare and Jay Kern, Tackle Dan Rhule and Center Don Pierce.

Stop N.U. at Line

The Husker runners bumped hard against masses of blue and red and they did not cross the scrimmage line. Rhule and Pierce and the two guards piled up those masses.

And the Huskers tried the air, and the speed of the Jayhawk backs spoiled eight of nine attempts to gain by throwing the ball. Dick Amerine and Ralph Miller and Milt Sullivant and Frank Bukaty were beyond the capabilities of the Huskers who were designated to field the pitches by Herman Rohrig and Harry Hopp.

There was this brightness, though, in the play of the surprised and heavy-legged Nebraskans. They dudded a passing offense that had made progress against every other team that the Kansans have met.

Rush Jayhawk Passers

They did this by rushing the Kansans who tried to throw. Miller and Bukaty threw oftenest and their record of 11 completions out of 19 attempts might on the face of it say they were successful. But the record does not reveal that miller and Bukaty often had to pitch before they were prepared.

Once when the fourth quarter was new, a Bukaty-to-Jake Fry pitch-and-run covered 41 yards before Bob Kahler thumped Fry down on the Husker 23. Then Gwinn Henry sent in Miller, his bombarding ace, and Miller, after warming his wing like a baseballer, threw three times in four downs and the Jayhawks surrendered the ball four yards behind the spot where Kahler had downed Fry.

Lose on Completions

The Jayhawks had put great store in a flanker pass that, shovel-like, often was completed behind the scrimmage line. The alertness of the Huskers on this maneuver actually cost the Jayhawks yardage, though they had to be recorded in the statistics as completions.

The Jones boys’ single successful march began after the teams had traded goals for the first time. Behind fine blocking, Rohrig eeled and bounced back 26 yards with Bukaty’s punt before Steve Renko downed him on Steven Renko’s 32.

From there Rohrig, supported by Henry Rohn, ran and drove to a first down on the eight. Then Hermie charged through left tackle. Bukaty and Jim Morris leaped aboard his broad, bent back and, along with the ball, Hermie carried them across.

Hermie Adds Point

Then Hermie kicked the extra point, and after that, although they several times pieced together yardage in promising fashion, the Huskers spent the afternoon getting themselves stopped and stopping Kansas passes.

Many goalward drives during the third period produced only one direct attempt at further scoring. From the 24, on the fourth down, Rohrig tried a goal from placement. It was high enough, but too wide. Fine punting by Hopp, Rohrig and Vike Francis and quick kicks by Rohrig that bordered on the prodigious helped keep the Huskers in Kansas territory most of the afternoon. But they never paid off. The score stayed at 7 to 0 and the nature of the proceedings considered, that seemed fair enough.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.

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 19 games on Nov. 11. See them all »

©2018 BH Media Group