Nebraska 7
Indiana 7

Sept. 30, 1939 • Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.

Huskers’ Surge in 4th Ties Opener with Hoosiers, 7-7


Indiana's Bringle had ideas of going places when he started this runback of a punt in the second quarter, but Nebraska's DeFruiter changed those aspirations with a neat tackle, despite Indiana's Mr. Dumke. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


Parts of this game recap are illegible.

Luther Goes Across After Pass Barrage

Rohrig Boots Point to Even Matters; Foes Get Tallies in Third

Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind., Sept. 30 – One minute and 35 seconds burned on the big electric clock when Herman Rohrig’s placement added to Butch Luther’s desperate, spectacular touchdown the point that gave the Cornhuskers the same total as Indiana.

The points were seven apiece – seven for an often-changed Nebraska combination whose inextinguishable spirit perhaps constituted the sharpest and most thrilling contest with the outfit that began last year’s campaign, and seven for an as-frequently ... Indiana lineup that in the second half showed itself the best coordinated and best-balanced of the four Colonel Bo McMillin has sent into this series.

Hoosiers Hope to Last Gun

The series has produced two victories for the Huskers and two ties. It has yet to present the Hoosiers triumphant, but on this afternoon more than 15 thousand homecomers hoped to the very taps gun — yes, hoped fervently even after Butch Luther had so brilliantly fooled the red-and-black-armored defense and Herman Rohrig, with a minute and 35 seconds left, had kicked the tying point. For the Indianans threatened savagely as long as time lasted.

Indiana 7, Nebraska 0, and four minutes and 52 seconds left for a Nebraska team that never had threatened to do something about it.

Cornhuskers Dazed

The Nebraska kids were still dazed by the speed and power aground and the lightning thrusts above that, without warning, had burst against them and over them at the very start of the third quarter and forced them ever backward for 98 yards and cost them seven points.

With electric swiftness the scene afield changed as this same placement-booting Rohrig bounced 26 yards upfield with Harold Hursh's punt. He was only four strides short of midfield when tacklers closed in from flanks and front and grounded him. Time ticked rapidly, and so did the Huskers.

Rohrig's Pitches Click

Rohrig passed to Luther and Luther raced 18 yards before 145 pounds of unadulterated nuisance named Harold Zimmer dragged him down. The little covey of Nebraska migrants in the stands became audible again. Down on the bench, Major Jones began once more to shift up and down, up and down.

Again Rohrig pitched. This time Roy Petsch, whose warring spirit was invaluably infectious throughout the afternoon, made the catch, but the battle line advanced only a yard. Rohrig was throwing against great handicaps. Waves of Hoosiers broke through the sieve-like Husker primary and rushed him. Back and forth he dodged, and on the run he hurled the ball.

That is how it had been all through the afternoon, and that is how it continued. The difference was that now Rohrig was making some of his pitches good. He was too fiercely rushed on his third, though, and had to run, just managing to reach the scrimmage line.

18 Yards — Three Minutes

But again he threw, once more to Petsch, and the scrimmage line was 18 yards away from profit.
Eighteen yards and three minutes to advance across the mud.

It was Luther who leaped high to field the next pitch, eight yards ahead. Ten more yards.

The Hoosiers bore down viciously on Rohrig. The Husker line scarcely seemed to be there. But Herman managed to fire once again. Luther bobbled the ball, but the fiery Petsch interrupted its flight toward the turf.

Half-Yard Line — Two Minutes

Now two minutes were left. Henry Rohn tried to crack center. He lost a yard and a half. Luther tried a simple sweep around right end and the Huskers were shoved back three yards more. The loyalists in the stands became silent again. On the bench the Biffer talked earnestly with Bus Knight, his arm around the quarterback's shoulders.

His mates had begun to huddle when Knight raced onto the field. The whistle checked them. For an instant, Knight and Petsch, whom he was to replace, stood with right hands clasped.

Then Petsch trotted to the bench. Knight ducked into the huddle. Third down. One minute and 45 seconds.

Luther Goes Over

The teams lined up, five yards from the goal now. Rohn took the snapback and in the tense silence fed the ball to Rohrig. Rohrig ran toward the Hoosier left end. It seemed a simple attempt at a sweep. The Hoosiers plainly thought it was to be a simple sweep. They massed rapidly to their left.

Toward the opposite sideline streaked Butch Luther. None of the enemy had seen Rohrig slip him the ball as their paths crossed. Not until Butch had crossed the goal almost at the corner did an Indiana defender get near him. He never touched him.

Hursh's Aerials Work

Over on the left side of the field Eddie Rucinski, right end, slammed his helmet to the turf. He was far, far from the place he should have been.

A minute and 35 seconds remained. Time out while Rohrig kicked goal.

Seven to seven.

Rohrig kicked off, and Hursh began a desperate aerial attack that threatened to duplicate the Hoosiers' scoring technique at the start of the second half. It wasn't lack of time, though, that caused failure. It was Hubert Monsky, a sophomore who played this day like a veteran.

Monsky Ends Threat

On his own five-yard line, Monsky intercepted a pass thrown, probably with intent at deception, not by the sharpshooting Hursh but by Tim Bringle. There ended the Hoosiers' frantic drive that had advanced them 60 yards through the air. Before the Huskers could run a play, time ran out.

Seldom has a team so changed its appearance and demeanor as the Hoosiers changed during intermission.

The first half had been dull, and never productive of a threat by either side. The tendency had been toward conservatism. Errors had stymied and marred the efforts of both sides.

Zimmer Starts Drive

Then, to start the third period, Rohrig kicked off. Two strides ahead of his goal, this astounding Lilliputian, Harold Zimmer, made the catch. Forty-four yards upfield he darted and dodged before Rohrig laid him by the heels. The Hoosiers were on their own 46.

From there they began the display which demonstrated that they are the first well-balanced team Bo McMillin has coached at Indiana. They had not just this astounding pitcher Hursh. They had speed in Zimmer. They had plunging power in Joe Tofil. Joe Tofil may be no Corby Davis, no Vernon Huffman, but when Bo McMillin had Davis and Huffman he had little in the way of an offense except their power. With Hursh throwing and Zimmer and Tuffy Brooks speeding, Joe Tofil was a greater threat than his mightier predecessors had been.

Tofil Through Left Side

Passing put the ball on the Huskers' nine. It took Tofil four downs to batter his way across, through the sophomoric Husker left side, past the inexperienced Husker backers-up. Then Eddie Herbert added the extra point by placement, to polish off a 98-yard advance, and it wasn't until more than 20 minutes later that the Huskers rallied and evened the score by dumbfounding Colonel McMillin's kids.

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Series history

Nebraska is 8-9 all-time against Indiana.

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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 12 games on Sept. 30. See them all »

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