AMES, Iowa — The hitless wonders of baseball fame have nothing on our 1947 Cornhuskers.
The Nebraskans proved that Saturday afternoon by beating Iowa State, 14-7, without making one feeble gesture toward a sustained offense.
Outcharged by a lighter Cyclone forward wall, The Huskers stumbled alone in a slipshod, lackadaisical fashion through nearly three quarters.
Then, just as the third period started to fade, those surprising Huskers cashed in on two quick breaks. In the brief space of less than three fleeting minutes they turned an 7-0 defeat into a 14-7 victory.
It was a tough jolt for the 12,500 Iowa State partisans.
For 45 minutes I.S. fans had seen the Cyclones rip to shreds a highly-touted Cornhusker line and had cheered the magic passing arm of Ron Norman, which gave the Scarlet secondary fits.
So effectively did the Cyclones shackle the Cornhuskers' T-geared attack that when the Huskers compiled their 14-7 margin they hadn't registered a first down.
Not until the dying moments did Nebraska show even a mild threat toward making yardage.
The best that could be said for the Huskers is that they were alert when the Cyclones erred and that on their two opportunities they lost no time racking up the needed touchdowns.
The Cornhusker thrills came late.
Three minutes remained in the third period when Iowa State, riding a 7-0 lead, neglected to kick on third down. The Cyclones faced the wind, and having dominated the game in terrific fashion, were confident.
This confidence bred defeat. On fourth down, Reserve Center Joe Bush sailed the ball over Norman's head and the best the plucky Cyclone field general could do was recover on the Iowa State four.
It was the first time the Huskers had been within shouting distance of pay dirt and they needed only three plays to get across.
Hutton met a stone wall at left tackle. Mueller got a scant yard inside guard.
Then the speedy Hutton pedaled his way around the Cyclone left flank unmolested.
Bobby Costello's perfect placement tied it 7-7.
After the kick-off, Fullback Bill Chauncey and Halfback Webb Halbert combined on a yard gain to bring the Cyclones to their 23 as the third quarter ended.
Starting the final period, the Cyclones ejected a third down kick which backfired. Again the center pass was wobbly as Husker linemen swarmed through.
Big Ralph Damkroger, the DeWitt end who scored twice against Minnesota, leaped high to block the kick.
The ball caromed toward the sidelines. When the mass of Nebraskans and Iowa Staters had been untangled, Guard Freddie Lorenz was wrapped around the ball on the Iowa State four.
The Huskers needed only one play this time. Quarterback Del Wiegand drove across as the Scarlet rolled back into the tired Cyclone forward wall.
Once more Bobby Costello's educated toe was too good for the extra point.
Iowa State made one frantic gesture toward getting back into the game.
In the last seven minutes the Cyclones rushed and passed from their own 31 to the Husker four with first and goal.
A five-yard penalty for delaying the game pushed the Iowans back to the nine and Jim Myers' lusty tackle of Passer Don Ferguson rolled them back to the 16.
Passes failed and Nebraska took over.
It was then Nebraska got its two first downs — just enough to deny the Ames offense a final desperate thrust.
Except for those few moments in the second half, Iowa State dominated.
In the first half the Huskers never got off their haunches.
A short runback of the opening kick-off (the Huskers received into the wind) started the Scarlet in the hole.
They never emerged as the Cyclone T rolled and passed for nine first downs and 134 yards. The Huskers got no first downs and only eight yards net the first 30 minutes.
Yet during those odd two quarters Iowa State could get only seven points. The Cyclones drove from the Nebraska 40 to the 3 in the last 2½ minutes of the first quarter.
Fullback Chauncey slipped through the Husker right side on the second play of the second quarter.
Chauncey rambled over standing up and Tackle Harle Rollinger kicked the extra point.
Rollinger missed two 24-yard placement attempts, both before and after Chauncey's scoring plunge.
Effective punting by End Jack Pesek was useful when the Husker offense proved impotent. He was operating from deep in Nebraska territory most of the afternoon and never missed.
The versatile play of Quarterback Norman was the Cyclones' bright spot. When he was in action the Huskers were plenty worried.
Except for their scoring moments, the Cornhuskers were just another ball club. But those fleeting seconds proved enough.
As one Iowa State partisan moaned as he left the stadium:
"I'm glad I stayed for the second half. If I hadn't seen it I wouldn't have believed it."
Nebraska is 86-17 all-time against Iowa State.
|Iowa State||Oct. 11|
|Notre Dame||Oct. 18|
|Kansas State||Oct. 25|
|Oregon State||Nov. 29|
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