Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb. — A pesky little 164-pounder named Gene Phelps personally conducted Iowa State to a 19-6 football victory over Nebraska’s hard-trying but outclassed Cornhuskers Saturday afternoon.
Phelps had been understudy quarterback in all previous Cyclone games, but moved up when the Navy whisked Joe Noble away after last week’s game. So all frisky young Phelps did was score all three of his team’s touchdowns to gain the admiration of 9,500 fans.
The Huskers, playing without three regulars — flu-stricken Junior Collopy, injured Chuck Knight and AWOL Fran Hazard — made more yardage than in any previous game this year, but their defense simply couldn’t find a way to stop the visitors’ running, especially when Phelps was carrying the ball.
Phelps picked the corner for his first two touchdowns, both on hairline plays. Only a minute and 10 seconds remained in the first half when he contributed the game’s first points. It was fourth down on the 5-yard line. He faked a pass and set his sights on the red flag marking the northeast corner of the playing field.
Three Huskers brushed against him, but he skidded into the end zone after almost stepping out of bounds.
After the spirited pupils of Coach Adolph Lewandowski had tied at 6-6 in the third quarter. Phelps counted again on about the same kind of a play. This time it was from the 4-yard line, and he picked the northwest corner, evading the sideline by inches against to get into the end zone.
Just to be different, Phelps chose the south end, and the space right in front of the goal posts, for his third marker. This was in the fourth period, and started from the 10-yard line.
Two Nebraskans had a crack at him after he broke through the line, but he stepped away from one with a nifty change of pace and pivoted away from the other to go across all alone.
Those were the only good scoring chances the Cyclones had and Phelps took care of them.
Phelps also was the goat of the play which led to Nebraska’s touchdown. Five minutes had been played in the second half. Phelps faded back to pass, but found no receiver open. Tackles Lyle Kops tackled, and Gene let the ball slip out of his passing paw. End Bob Koenig fell on it, and the Huskers ahd the ball on the Iowa State 27-yard line.
They scored on the next play, joe Kessler, short but with powerful shoulders and legs, hit into the line and seemed stopped by a gang of Cyclones. But all of a sudden out of the mass came Kessler, still driving his legs. He broke into the clear and ran 27 yards into the end zone to the amazement of the Iowa Staters.
It took the Cyclones just three minutes to get back in front, with 190-pound Ken Keough giving Phelps some good assistance. Keough, in fact, almost ran this kick-off back to a score. He returned 40 yards, and had only the steady Husker center, Keith Doyle, blocking his way.
But Doyle brought him down on the Nebraska 40, despite the efforts of two interference runners who were escorting Keough.
Keough then tossed in runs of 14 and 11 yards to help carry to the four, from where Phelps went over.
The Huskers had one other good scoring chance which fizzled, and gave the fans a thrill with two other “might-have-beens” from deep in their own territory.
It was early in the first quarter when Dick Lamberty staged his act. From the Husker 12-yard line, Betz started to run but tossed a lateral to Lamberty. The Fremont kid tore for the west sideline, then started full speed northward. For a moment he was in the clear, then he seemed to be pulling away from the pack.
But he was dangerously close to the sideline mark, and worrying about that prospect caused him to lose his stride. He fell without a Cyclone touching him after a 22-yard gain.
Then in the last period, right after the third Iowa State touchdown, things almost happened. Big Buzz Hollins took the kick-off on his own 18 and broke down the middle. He came out of the pack with only Phelps in his path. But Phelps downed him on the Cyclone 44, after a 38-yard return.
Showing their usual “we’re never-whipped” attitude, the Huskers then rolled up some yardage. Lamberty made nine on a reverse, Bill Perdew scooted 11 on a quick-opening off the T. Lamberty reversed again for seven, Hollins drove hard for five, and a few short gains took the ball to the 5-yard line.
But Howard Foy, the ex-Benson kid, came in to stop Perdew for no gain, a reverse lost a few yards, a pass failed, and a fancy double lateral lost yardage and the ball — on the 14.
Besides gaining 145 yards by rushing, bright spots for the Huskers included good tries all afternoon by Doyle and a couple of sparkling plays by Don Pegler, the 158-pound guard tearing in twice in the last period to spill Phelps for losses.
But it was Phelps’ day. On 23 tries, he gained 102 yards, for an average of 4.4 — and three touchdowns.
Nebraska is 86-17 all-time against Iowa State.
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