Kansas 20
Nebraska 0

Oct. 21, 1944

Kansas shatters drouth at home



Note: Some language in this article does not adhere to current World-Herald standards.

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Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kans.—An incredible thing happened here Saturday, a thing the past couple of generations of folks who live along the River Kaw didn’t dare to anticipate.

Kansas beat Nebraska in football. Yes, by 20-0.

So one of the most amazing winning streaks in American collegiate football history was shattered, as the Jayhawkers won from the Huskers for the first time in 48 years at Lawrence, and for the first time anywhere since 1916.

There couldn’t have been more than a couple of dozen among the 7,432 Homecoming Day fans who ever had enjoyed the thrill of seeing their Jays master the Huskers here. And they made the most of it.

One of them sat in front of the press box and bellowed “Touchdown, Kansas” all afternoon and got satisfaction even if he did wreck his tonsils.

The Huskers played better ball than in their previous games and came mighty close to scoring just before the final gun. But there wasn’t any question about Kansas having the stronger team and being entitled to this long-awaited triumph.

They’ll have to carve the names of Warren Riegle, senior end, and Charley Moffet, sophomore back, deep in the records of this precedent-breaking game. They were the fellows who accomplished the impossible. Their names should live forever on Mount Oread.

Riegle scored two of the touchdowns by two different methods. It was early in the second quarter that he provided the first points — by being in the right place at the right time.

Husker Jack Selzer tried to punt from his 15-yard line, but his protection fizzled and guard Charley Keller blocked it. The ball bounced crazily toward the end zone, and Mr. Riegle was the first one to it. He scooped it up at about the 5-yard line and jogged across.

And it was the same Riegle who climaxed the point-gathering in the last period, with five minutes left to play. This time he raced into the end zone, while Moffet fell back from the 19-yard line and took his time getting set to pass.

Moffet flipped it high above Riegle’s head and the 21-year-old veteran out jumped two Husker defenders to get his fingers on the ball and held it.

Between Riegle’s two touchdowns, Moffet scored one for himself in the third quarter. It was on a fourth-down pass play from the four-yard line, after the Nebraska line had braced and stopped three running plays for what almost looked like one of those goal-line stands that the old-time Huskers used to accomplish so often.

But on the last chance, Dan Barrington tossed one right down the middle. Moffet grabbed it, almost let it slip off his fingers, but held on as he fell right in front of the goal posts.

About five minutes before this, the Kansans had another touchdown nullified by an offside penalty. From the 18, Moffet passed to Barrington just over the line, and Don followed good interference across the goal line. After the penalty, Moffet passed successfully to Dwight Sutherland for 10 yards, but the ball was lost on downs on the 13.

As the happy fans were starting for the exits, Coach Adolph Lewandowski’s both made their lone scoring threat.

Duane Buckley, the big end from York, recovered a fumble on the Nebraska 47. On the next play Jack Selzer, Scottsbluff towhead, faded back and tossed a long one. Bill Betz caught it in the clear, but was overtaken and brought down on the 10-yard line, after a gain of 43 yards.

Then two line plays and two pass attempts resulted in a loss of six yards, and the Jays took the ball on downs with 30 seconds left.

Selzer was the outstanding Husker. His blocked kick was through no fault of his own. And just a minute after that tough break, he did a beautiful job of quick-kicking. With the ball on the Nebraska 29-yard line, he booted over the KU safety’s head and it rolled to the goal for an official 71-yard kick.

The ball stopped dead a bare three inches in the end zone. It could have stopped a second sooner, and put the Jayhawks in a rough spot.

Then just before the half ended, Selzer took a pass from Betz on the dead run for a gain of 33 yards, but the play had started back on the Husker 17 so didn’t do much toward a possible score.

Coach Henry Shenk of Kansas said after the game: “this year of 1944 is a great one in history. The Browns won the pennant, we’re going to whip the Nazis and Japs, and Kansas won from Nebraska.”

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.

See all games »


1944 season (2-6)

Minnesota Sept. 30
Indiana Oct. 14
Kansas Oct. 21
Missouri Oct. 28
Iowa Nov. 4
Iowa State Nov. 11
Kansas State Nov. 25
Oklahoma Dec. 2

This day in history

Nebraska has played 19 games on Oct. 21. See them all »

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