LINCOLN — Del Wiegand, 172-pound quarterback from Kearney, saved a 19-15 victory for Nebraska over Iowa State Saturday.
With four minutes left, things looked dark for Coach Potsy Clark's Huskers.
Most of the 36 thousand fans feared the worst when Jim Sutherland faded back to pass with the Cyclones on the Nebraska seven-yard line.
The pitch was right on the mark, too. Lornie Paulson stood on the goal-line and reached out to make a game-winning catch. But his fingers failed to touch the ball.
Just as Paulson reached out, Wiegand dived frantically in from the side. His eager paws deflected the ball out of Paulson's reach, and it trickled out harmlessly to the turf.
That gave Nebraska possession on its seven, because the Sutherland flip was a fourth down play.
But that didn't settle the issue — not yet. Neither did it complete Wiegand's game-saving chores.
Attempting to keep possession the rest of the game, Nebraska ran a series of line plays. But on one of them Gerry Ferguson fumbled and the Cyclones took possession on the Nebraska 46.
The big clock showed a minute and a half left-and every one realized that was enough time for a game-winning pass.
The Iowans completed one throw for four yards. Then Sutherland faded back and uncorked a long throw. It was intended for Jim Foy, one-time Omaha Benson High tackle.
Foy was supposed to make the catch in the territory defended by Wiegand. But Del did more than knock this one down.
He intercepted the throw, ran a few steps and then joyfully cuddled around the ball.
This time the Huskers ran two deliberate line thrusts, and watched time run out.
It was the first victory for Nebraska at home since the 1946 season. Last year's only wins were recorded at Iowa State and Kansas State.
In the first half, Nebraska looked much superior, though the margin was only 12-2 at recess.
But Coach Abe Stuber rallied his forces, and a passing attack put Iowa State very much in the running.
The only time the Cyclones were ahead was in the first quarter. They marked up two points on a safety after seven minutes of play.
A holding penalty had set the Huskers back to their own five-yard line. Sophomore Ferguson stood in the end zone to punt, but 191-pound guard Billy Myers threw himself in front of the kick.
It was a clean block. The ball bounded high, clear out of the end zone and into the north bleachers. No Cyclone had a chance to fall on it for a touchdown-and as things turned out later that was a big break for Nebraska.
The second quarter was well along before the Huskers overcame that 2-0 margin.
Bill Mueller was the running star at this point, as the Huskers changed from a single-wing to a spread formation.
Mueller ran 13 yards to the Iowa State 26. Two plays later he ran wide to his left, and cut into the corner for a 20-yard scoring run that made it 6-2.
Not long before the half ended, the Huskers boosted their margin 12-2.
Hard-running Cletus Fischer of St. Edwards ran 29 yards from the spread. Then came an unusual scoring play, starting from the Iowa State 42-yard line.
Fischer passed to Bob Schneider, who made the catch and ran 10 yards. As he was hit, he fumbled. Alert Fred Hawkins, sub guard from Benson High, was in the right spot at the right time.
He scooped up the ball, and ran some 25 yards for a touchdown.
Quickly after the intermission, Iowa State zoomed back into the running through the air.
Bob Angle raced down the west side line, fielded a perfect pitch from Sutherland while on the dead run-and kept right on until he reached the end zone.
The play was for 31 yards, Angle running 26 after the catch.
That cut Nebraska's lead to 12-8, as neither side could make an extra point up to this point.
Gerry Ferguson's passing featured the next goalward march for Nebraska.
Ralph Damkroger and Jack Hazen made catches, and carried to the 22.
Here Dick Hutton of Auburn moved into the spotlight. Dick ran nine yards to the 13. On the next play, he grabbed a rifle pass from Ferguson, stepped right out of the arms of Billy Myers, and ran to a touchdown.
Bobby Costello kicked this point and it was 19-8.
Sutherland completed three straight passes to set up the second Iowa State touchdown. One was to Syl Wilhelmi, 195-pound end for 15 yards. Then another to Wilhelmi to the Husker 13-yard line.
After two incomplete throws, the Huskers were fooled by the frisky Cyclones.
Angle faked a pass, and stepped through a wide hole in the line and ran 13 yards to a score.
That put the Cyclones only four points behind, and made them, try harder.
They seemed on the way to victory, too, until Wiegand's timely pass defense in the dying moments.
It was pretty much of a full-squad victory for the Huskers, though. The linemen generally were charging, blocking and tackling well for an opener.
And the backfield speed was put to good use from the spread formation.
At least for a week, Nebraska will be in front of the Big Seven's race.
Bobby Costello was a second-half Husker casualty, going out with a leg injury.
Webb Halbert, Iowa State half back, stayed on the bench in the first half, after suffering a hip bruise in the second period.
Nebraska is 86-17 all-time against Iowa State.
|Iowa State||Sept. 25|
|Notre Dame||Oct. 16|
|Kansas State||Nov. 6|
|Oregon State||Nov. 27|
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