Nebraska 14
Iowa 13

Nov. 22, 1941 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

Vike's Comeback Sparks Huskers


Above: After Preston blocked Farmer's punt near the 30, Hazen fell on the ball in the end zone for second Nebraska touchdown. Iowa's Green tried to recover but fumbled. Below: Viscount Francis use the wind as his ally and booted the fourteenth point. So Nebraska 14, Iowa 13. E.K. LANGEVIN AND JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD


Francis Pounds in First Drive; Ends Combine to Score on Iowa Kick

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nov. 22 – Early in the fourth quarter, tall Fred Preston leaped with the snow-driven north wind high and hard against the ball that had just left Tom Farmer's fiercely swung right foot.

Backward, with the wind some 20 yards across the Iowa goal, the ball bounced wild and free. Hawkeye Bill Green pursued it, tried to throw his body on it in the end zone, thus yielding to the Cornhuskers only two points by safety.

Rugged Jack Hazen, the other Cornhusker end, pursued it too. Bill Green sprawled face down on the whitened turf. Beside him, still free, the ball bobbled.

Jack Hazen fell upon it.

With the near-gale his ally, place kicking the extra point was routine for the Viscount Francis.

Nebraska 14, Iowa 13.

And there the reckoning stayed.

In this unrehearsed, break-seizing manner the Cornhuskers scored the points that beat the Hawkeyes this afternoon while the wind shrieked and howled through the stadium tiers and bombarded with snow the 20 thousand who shivered there.

Thus spectacularly did the Cornhuskers end at five their succession of defeats.

But this triumph-making interval pales almost to routine beside the dogged, desperate battling that preceded it.

It was the Nebraskans' 72-yard drive against the storm and the rugged Hawkeye defense whose savageness was heightened by the determination to protect its 13 points that turned the tide of the struggle.

That irresistible assault against crushing odds finally broke the Iowans' strength of muscle and will, which for more than half the game had held the Cornhuskers helpless, and enabled them to pass and run with the wind to their seemingly safe margin.

Against the wind and against 13 points the Cornhuskers battered and sped their way, and the boy who maintained the raw might of their attack was the Viscount Francis.

The Count came back.

No hero of the flamboyant pulp thrillers ever came back more dramatically.

Events through the autumn up to this blizzardy day said he had made a hopeless mess of a senior term that had been forecast last summer as the vehicle for All-America acclaim.

For two games he had been off the squad, deficient in scholastic requirements. Before then his play had been weak and bumbling and futile. He had moved like a middle-aged man who is long on waistline and short of breath.

They Begin to Roll

From their own 28, where Dale Bradley had been downed after a 27-yard return of Bill Diehl's kickoff, the Huskers began, though none among the bone-chilled onlookers could have suspected that this was the start of an unstoppable counter-attack.

Bill Diehl had kicked off after Green carried Tom Farmer's pass and Fred Metheny into the end zone with what appeared to be the game-clinching points.

In 16 plays, all on the ground, and most of them off the T, the Count and his mates rammed and ran the necessary 72 yards.

Nine times the Count carried, the last time from the one into the end zone, but it was a brilliant 21-yard off-tackle sprint by Bradley, behind the deadly blocking of George Abel and Vic Schleich, that made hasty and priceless progress to the enemy's four.

The Count went across. That made it 13 to 6. The Count was called upon to kick – into the wind that howled at an ever-higher pitch, as if to defy him.

Fred Metheny knelt to catch and tee the snapback.

"I fumbled it a bit, and never did get it set up right," said Metheny afterwards, "but that made no difference to Vike. He calmly kicked it over anyhow."

And Iowa buckled and bent. Iowa began to mar with errors its offense and defense that had been so formidable until that relentless march against both Iowa and weather.

Before Preston and Hazen presented their efficient and profitable end men's collaboration a wave of Huskers partly blocked one of Tom Farmer's punts. The Hawkeye line had begun to leak. Never before this season had one of Farmer's kicks been interrupted.

No more than a dozen plays later, and with the scrimmage line only 32 yards from the Iowa goal, Preston did it again. This time he made the blocking complete. He knocked the ball backward, toward the Iowa goal, and the seven points that won.

With the wind their ally in the first quarter, the Huskers could do nothing. The Hawkeyes didn't try very hard.

They concentrated on the job of defense, and Ross Anderson, brown Jim Walker and Bob Otto, all men of the line, did a magnificent job. They played through the freezing 60 minutes, and so did their mates, Farmer, Bill Burkett and Bus Mertes, and Fred Meier and Metheny on the other side.

The Hawkeyes bided their time. They awaited the change of goals, when the wind would be with them.
The wind was with them in the second and third quarters. They made a touchdown in each.

Both were the products of Farmer's sharp and cool passing. The Huskers set themselves to stop the runs and rushes of Green and Bill Stauss and Mertes. Save at the beginning of the Hawks' first scoring onslaught, they did pretty well at this, but while so doing they neglected their protection from the air.

Farmer passed twice, once to Al Couppee and once to Burkett for the longest gains on the 71-yard push. The last one produced a first down on the Husker six, and from there Farmer sliced inside right tackle to score. His placekick failed to produce what turned out to be the essential point. It sailed wide, with the wind.

As soon as they got possession of the ball in the third quarter, the Hawks set off again. Farmer's pitches did almost all the business that was necessary to put 55 yards behind them. From his 25 Farmer threw to Green who made the catch about 14 yards away and smartly eluded tacklers until he had crossed – all but Metheny, whom he had to carry with him.

This time Farmer kicked true with the wind and it was 13-0.

And the wind was against the Huskers.

And against the wind they began the surprising attack that finally carried them to victory.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 29-17 all-time against Iowa.

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 14 games on Nov. 22. See them all »

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