#12 Nebraska 14
Iowa 6

Nov. 9, 1940 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln

Despite Slick Footing, Huskers Speed, Power Way Over Iowa, 14-6

On fourth down and one foot to go, Vike Francis rams middle of Iowa line for five yards and first Nebraska touchdown. John Savage / The World-Herald

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nov. 9 — The the first 17½ minutes the Cornhuskers applied pressure in the way of speed and power that despite the slick footing was effective enough to produce 14 points.

The Viscount Francis knocked unhappy Hawkeyes sprawling and cart-wheeling as he plunged the five yards needed for the first touchdown. Hermie Rohrig’s placement made it seven, and the game was that many minutes old.

Two and a half minutes into the second quarter the oil-clothed and slickered 26 thousand saw Wayne Blue, the Viscount’s understudy, demonstrating that he has learned his lesson well by ramming thrice to cross the three paces necessary to take title to the second touchdown. Vice Schleich’s kick made the total 14.

Burkett Races 78 Yards

Immediately the Cornhusker No. 2 lineup began to play the collective role of cat the Hawkeyes’ mouse.

The script was a bit deceptive on the kickoff that followed the scoring. Schleich’s toe urged the ball into the stiff south wind.

On his 22, End Wilford Burkett caught the suddenly dropping spheroid. End Wilford Burkett streaked the east side line and began a northward progress before the Huskers, mouse like, either appeared to flee or, being beyond the menace zone, stand and observe the goings-on curiously.

All but two Huskers appeared to do this. Bus Knight gave futile cross-field chase. Harry Hopp made up yardage on his pursuit, but he dived too soon.

Harry fired himself at Burkett’s heels about 20 yards out. He missed and Burkett was challenged no more.

Cats Play with Mouse

Bill Gallagher’s place kick sliced wide. It was 14 to 6. The roles were confused no more.
The the rest of the afternoon the Husker No. 1 and No. 2 lineups let the Hawkeyes run until the proximity of the goal fired them with hope.

When the Hawkeyes worked close, the Huskers smote them down.

Then the Huskers would either sprint and smash their way out of danger, and finally punt, or Hermie Rohrig would execute punts or brilliant quick kicks almost forth-with and the Hawkeyes would try all over again.

Does this description appear a bit too strong for a neighborly narrative?

If you’re one who thinks so ponder this:

Until the Huskers had got themselves those 14 points in 17½ minutes, the Hawkeyes didn’t earn a first down. They were presented just one, on a penalty.

Click in Midfield

And mull these truisms, too:

Between the damp-dimmed 30-yard stripes the Iowa kids did make their wide reverse work during the game’s middle stages. Able Bill Green of Newton scampered 27 yards on a sweep left and sweep right against the Scarlet starters. His blocking was magnificent-then-between the 30 yards lines.

And once or a so apiece Jim Youel and Tom Farmer fired terrain-gobbling passes that advanced the battle zone close to Nebraska’s goal.

But when the battle zone was advanced there, by whatever method, Iowa dudded. Iowa pfutted. The maneuvers that had looked so impressive and so formidable in mid-field were savagely smothered and crushed.

The play yard seemed to handicap both teams pretty impartially. Considerable of the inch a half winter-wheat-maker seeped beneath the seams of the giant canvas mackintosh. The footing was skiddy but not heavy.

Water Slicks Ball

Here and there, after a quarter of pounding and scraping and slipping, black sports showing through the November green.

The ball wasn’t weighted with water, but water slicked it, and made risky the pass and punt fielding and exchanges on reverses.
If any runner had difficulty it was Rohrig. He was stymied when he tried his deceitful dance. He had to ram straight ahead. He did well enough at that, when he had to. So did Harry Hopp.

That phrase also could be something of a theme-almost all the Huskers did their duty “when they had to.” Across the line only the enduring tackle, Mike Enich, the keen and sharp-tackling ends, Burkett and Kenneth Pettit, and the truly gifted Bill Green could match the work of any of the combinations in red.

Rohrig Goes to Work

Rohrig’s first quick kick, a 70 yarder, preceded the first Nebraska points. The ball rolled dead on Iowa’s 10. Green tried to run it out of there. He started around the left end. Eddie Schwartzkopf met him with emphasis so primitive that the ball bobbled from his grasp. Forrest Behm became a temporary setter-on-it on the 15. The brief setting hatched a touchdown this way:

Hermie pitched to Butch Luther for nine.

Hermie tried another but Cowboy Petsch couldn’t reach it.

Hermie ran inside right tackle and only a foot or so was needed for a first down.

Petsch called on Vike to plunge for the foot or so.

Ever one to conserve his energies, the Viscount took the quickest way. He passed up the first down for a touchdown with one of the most savage smashes ever seen on Nebraska field. Black-shirted Hawks flew like kindling under a wildy swung ax as the Viscount knocked them high and wide.

82 Yards to Second

The first and second lineups collaborated in the manufacture of the second touchdown. They marched 82 yards to score it. Butch Luther’s 16-yard forgit on a reverse, Hopp’s series of slanting charges to right and left, and Hopp’s pass to Bus Knight covered most of the needed distance. The latter aerial maneuver gobbled some 35 yards, and after it only three more remained to be crossed. The Boy Blue did it with three plunges.

Among the unprofitable ventures besides Green’s spectacular but brief end-sweeping was Luther’s runback of Gallagher’s last half-opening kickoff. He streaked parallel with the east side line from his own five to his 49 before he was forced outside by a gang of Hawks. Another step forward and he might have added to his 44-yard feat the 56 yards that were needed to emulate the brilliant runback by the indefeatable Burkett boy.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 29-18 all-time against Iowa.

See all games »

1940 season (8-2)

Minnesota Oct. 5
Indiana Oct. 12
Kansas Oct. 19
Missouri Oct. 26
Oklahoma Nov. 2
Iowa Nov. 9
Pittsburgh Nov. 16
Iowa State Nov. 23
Kansas State Nov. 30
Stanford Jan. 1

This day in history

Nebraska has played 17 games on Nov. 9. See them all »

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