Indiana 21
#15 Nebraska 13

Oct. 18, 1941 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

Hoosiers Rend Husker Line for First Victory, 21 to 13

These pictures enable you to follow Allen Zikmund through his 36-yard run for Nebraska's first touchdown. Co-operation of Zikmund's teammates was noteworthy. E.K. LANGEVIN/MAGIC EYE

Tide Changes Swiftly in 2d

Hillenbrand’s Good and Has Help

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 18 – No doubt Col. Alvin Nugent McMillin’s pregame expressions of misgivings concerning the power and talent of his line were straightforward and sincere.

Plainly, though, that was because his scouts had oversold him on the skill and potency of the Cornhusker forwards in their successful exercises with Iowa State and Kansas.

For slightly more than half the busy time on this summery afternoon, Col. McMillin’s forwards doubled the Husker forwards back upon themselves. They tied them in contortionist’s knots. They rammed them into the turf and then pranced and pounded over them. They scampered around them as they stood there dazed and floundering.

In short, for more than half the battle they made them look very bad.

The 21-to-13 score, with the heavy reckoning, as you probably have already suspected, belonging to the Hoosiers for the first time in this six-year relationship doesn’t really indicate how bad.

The Huskers looked considerably more inept than the eight-point margin would lead you to believe.

And save for a mental bobble or two in the quarterbacking, which is always so readily apparent to us second-guessers, the ineptitude was pretty well restricted to the lads who tried like everything but without avail, in the rank up ahead.

The shift in the trend and manner of battle was so sudden as to be almost protean. It reminded of a vaudeville lightning-change act.

The first quarter was nearly past and the Husker starters were roaring. Al Zikmund intercepted Charley Jacoby’s pass on the Hoosier 28. With 30 seconds remaining, Al Zikmund cut inside tackle on a short reverse and dodged all Hoosiers but Jacoby and Earl Doloway as he zipped goalward.

Doloway chased but never had a chance to tackle.

Jacoby dived at Zik’s heels just before he raced across.

Vike Francis’ kick was wide and low but the style and tendency of battle appeared to have been pretty definitely established.

Little happened through most of the second quarter to induce the 33 thousand to change this notion, although Clarence Herndon and Herb von Goetz left the field, not to return, because of injuries, and George Abel and Vic Schleich hobbled off to come back later and fight valiantly and in vain like the wounded men they were.

Midway of the period the Husker seconds seemed scorebound for sure. Howard DeBus exploded through the middle and boomed straight ahead for 43 yards. The big blond projectile teetered and weaved after he had cleared the primary. He seemed about to fall, but recovered and barreled downfield to the Hoosier 45, where Dale Swihart grounded him.

A penalty stopped this assault, but not the appearance of domination by Nebraska. The customers waited happily and patiently and wondered how this Master Will Hillenbrand had got his gaudy reputation.

Without warning they found out. And once they found out, Mr. Hillenbrand and his associates conscientiously endeavored to impress the opinion.

Swiftly, like the click of a switch it happened.

A wave of sinister-shirted Hoosiers rushed Fred Metheny, who was trying to pitch. Flustered Metheny threw wildly instead of taking the loss and retaining possession. He winged the ball into Lou Saban’s outstretched paws. Wayne Blue spilled Saban on the Husker 46.

Hillenbrand ran. Hillenbrand passed. Hillenbrand plunged. He was aided and abetted by his fellow sophomore Jacoby, for whom the parade of Nebraska ends seldom was much of a problem, and the junior fullback Earl Doloway.

When Jacoby was downed, halfbacks and safety men did the downing, generally quite an expensive distance ahead of the spot where the play began.

Presently Bo’s big blustery boys had a first down on the two. Biff had sent back all the starting hands who weren’t undergoing first aid treatment.

Hoosiers Lead, 7-6

For two downs they held. Then Hillenbrand dived over the right of center and came up in the end zone with six points which Capt. Gene White hoisted to seven and a one-point lead with a placement as pretty as Francis’ had been awkward.

Two minutes and 10 seconds were left before recess and the midnight-armored Hoosiers used the interval to consolidate the control that they never were to yield save for a brief spell in the last quarter when they were leading by 21-6.

Two Passes Score

They increased their advantage to a safe 14 when the third period was fresh. Hillenbrand capped a brief and versatile advance by power plays and sweeps with a 34-yard throw to Jacoby who made the catch on the goal line a pace or two ahead of Marvin Athey and stepped over.

Again, White kicked, and again a few minutes later Hillenbrand from his 10 threw a fast one over the line to End Kenny Smith who waited confidently and unmolested in the end zone.

And the unerring Mr. White made it 21 and the onlookers had seen most of the reasons why Master Hillenbrand has been acclaimed as the sophomore back of the year. These reasons encompass about everything a back is supposed to do.

He did them, with Jacoby and Doloway and Ronzone and Swihart and Herbert playing an artistic accompaniment behind linemen who often handled the Husker primary as if they were unaware of its challenge.

Only once did the Hoosiers relinquish mastery. This came midway of the closing period when Schleich recovered Doloway’s fumble on the Hoosier 47.

Off the T, which wasn’t much in evidence up to then. Metheny passed to Bob Ludwick for 11 yards, then DeBus faded far back and threw to Metheny, who aided by Marvin Thompson’s fine block on Doloway raced within a yard of a score. A covey of Hoosiers crowded him out there, but in two plunges Blue had six points and Schleich kicked one more.

After that the boys from Bloomington regained mastery. They had pounded to a first down on the Husker 11 when time ran out. They had refused to be flustered by a misplay as the Nebraskans had been.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 8-10 all-time against Indiana.

See all games »

1941 season (4-5)

Iowa State Oct. 4
Kansas Oct. 11
Indiana Oct. 18
Missouri Oct. 25
Kansas State Nov. 1
Minnesota Nov. 8
Pittsburgh Nov. 15
Iowa Nov. 22
Oklahoma Nov. 29

This day in history

Nebraska has played 19 games on Oct. 18. See them all »

©2019 BH Media Group