Memorial Stadium, Lincoln — The painful truth is that Nebraska’s 1945 football team isn’t any better than Husker clubs of the past two years — not yet, at least.
Oklahoma’s defending Big Six champions were complete masters of the inexperienced Huskers as they scored a 20-0 victory Saturday.
And the 17 thousand fans who watched hate to think of what’s going to happen here next Saturday against Minnesota unless Coach Potsy Clark’s pupils show remarkable improvement.
Most glaring weakness of the Huskers — both the 17-year-old frosh and the discharged servicemen of 23 to 25 — was terrible tackling. Time after time the Huskers had good shots at Sooner runners, but bounced off shoulders instead of trying low, effective tackles.
The only offensive promise show by Nebraska was the forward passing by Mack Robinson, the frosh from Norfolk. Mack was pitching ‘em straight on the mark in the fourth quarter. He complete seven that period, including four in a row.
And what of the Sooners? They seem a little better than last year, because their fast backs have caught on to the T formation very nicely.
Their most effective plays are quick-openings over the veteran guards, Don Tillman and Thurman Tigart. Three newcomers, Joe Richardson, John Stewart and Howard Hawkins, are very nice runners.
All have speed and are shifty, which makes them hard to stop once they shoot into the secondary.
It was the 190-pound Hawkins who scored two of the Sooner touchdowns, but the game’s best single run was turned in by Richardson, 177-pounder, who was converted from an end into a halfback.
This came in the third period, starting from the Sooners’ 37-yard line. Quarterback Cliff Stone fooled everyone with the deceptive way he handed the ball to Richardson and made it appear that he was carrying as he scooted toward the east sideline.
Most of the Huskers thought he had it, but breaking to the west sideline was Richardson. He eased through a hole opened by Tigart, and hotfooted it 53 yards before the pursuing Robinson made a dive and forced him out of bounds on the Nebraska 10-yard line.
Richardson made a number of other good gains on the same play. When he wasn’t doing it, Steward or Hawkins would get loose on the same sort of tactics.
The first half had only five minutes to go when the first points were marked up. An unusual penalty set the stage. The Huskers punted from their own 24 and while the ball was in the air, a lineman was detected holding.
Instead of just a 15-yard setback, the situation called for loss of the ball at the point of the foul. So the Sooners had a first down on the 24.
After Alfred Needs made nine yards on two tries, Hawkins found a wide hole off guard and ran 14 yards — being stopped just half a foot short of the goal line. He bowled over on his next try.
And it was only 6-0 at the half because Bob Bodenhammer’s kick for the point was blocked by Dick Short, ex-Tech High center who was the best Husker lineman.
The next points came shortly after Richardson’s long run in the third period. Jack Venable, 190-pound fullback from Little Rock, bulled over center and kept going on a straight line the full 14 yards. Two Huskers bounced off at about the 5-yard line and three others were carried across the line by Venable.
Then in the fourth period, Basil Sharp’s 24-yard advance and Hawkins’ 20-yard scamper paved the way for another touchdown, Hawkins went over standing up from the five, and could have gone a lot farther, if necessary.
It was just before and after this touchdown that the Huskers showed some life, with Robinson pitching strikes.
Gene Preston, a Sooner Navy trainee, who played six-man football at Dakota City, Neb., snagged a long pass from Hawkins for 32 yards and a sub back named Alan Greenberg seemed headed to a score, when he dropped the ball on the 5-yard line. Tackle Bob Tegt from Fremont recovered for Nebraska.
Then Robinson put on a passing show. Standing in the end zone he pitched to Bill Kinnamon for 25 yards. On the next play he tossed to Bob Korte of Fairbury for 12. Then Alex Schneider from Scottsbluff took a short toss for seven yards.
The fourth good one in a row went to Korte. But the next flip fizzled, running plays gained nothing and Mack had to punt.
Just before the finish, Robinson made three more passes good. One was to Chick Story for 13, another to Dean Baalhorn for seven, and the last to Sale Miller, Navy ROTC student from Mount Gilead, OH, for 17 yards.
So the set-up would seem to call for more Robinson passes in weeks to come. And given better blocking, maybe his pitches can be turned into some touchdowns.
But the big need is for much better tackling when the other side has the ball.
Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.
|Iowa State||Oct. 20|
|Kansas State||Nov. 10|
|South Dakota||Nov. 17|
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