Bobby Reynolds leaves Ray Petrauskas and other Hoosiers in rear on this 45-yard scamper. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD
LINCOLN — If ever a Cornhusker sophomore made a more sparkling debut than Bobby Reynolds did Saturday, the delighted spectators couldn’t remember it.
Nineteen-year-old Bobby, 175-pounder from Grand Island, personally escorted Nebraska to a 20-20 deadlock with Indiana.
Reynolds gave Coach Bill Glassford’s second Husker edition such a magic offensive that the favored Big Ten outfit had to come from behind to earn the deadlock.
And it was such an entertaining opener that the near-capacity crowd forgot about 80-degree temperature and a nasty 20-mile-an-hour wind.
Gains 187 Yards
If you doubt that it was a personal victory for Reynolds, take a glance at the scoring tabulation.
Reynolds made all three of Nebraska’s touchdowns, and scored both extra points.
With an almost incredible change of pace, Reynolds ran for a total of 187 yards on 22 plays. That’s an average of 8 1/2 yards a carry.
And to show the sophomore’s starting speed, he was held without gain on only one try. That time he lost a yard.
Three times Reynolds put the Huskers in front, but three times the invaders bounced back. Twice they moved in front by a single point. Then they failed on the last extra point kick and had to take the tie.
The Huskers needed something besides Reynolds, of course. Bobby was assisted by some crisp blocking, and by sufficient alertness to take advantage of a number of breaks.
The Nebraska defensive wall, made up almost exclusively of big tackles — Herb Reese, Bob Mullen, Dick Goeglin, Bill Maxe, Ted Connor, and Don Boll — showed promise.
And Line Backers Verl Scott and George Prochaska came in for plenty of rugged tackles, too.
But the Huskers showed some weaknesses. Lots of times tacklers had open shots at the enemy, and missed. And the pass defense leaked.
Hoosier Defender Fails
But let’s get back to Reynolds.
The game was 6 1/2 minutes old when Bobby scored his first varsity points.
Fullback Jerry Van ooyen, who had butter fingers on several occasions, let the ball get away from him and Ron Clark recovered the ball on the Hoosier 14-yard-line.
Reynolds swept left end for 10 yards, then served as a decoy as Fullback Bill Wingender hit the middle for two. That left two to go — so Quarterback Fran Nagle fed the ball to Reynolds again.
Bobby made up his mind to get into the end zone, even though 223-pound Sam Talarico was blocking his path.
Britt Misses Point
So he just lowered his head, drove into Talarico. The 223-pound defender was carried back into the end zone and Reynolds gave Nebraska a 6-0 lead.
Ted Britt came in to try the point, but missed — and that failure became a big one a few minutes later.
After Bob Robertson returned Clark’s kick-off to the Hoosier 40-yard line, the visitors marched the remaining 60 without giving up possession.
Sophomore Louis D’Achille ran around the Husker right end for the last 15 yards.
And Danny Thomas kicked the point to give Indiana a 7-6 lead.
52 yards in Five Plays
It stayed that way until the second quarter was almost half over. Again it was a Van Ooyen fumble which gave Nebraska a break. Soph Scott, an alert defender from Mitchell, cuddled around the ball on the Nebraska 48.
This left 52 yards to go, and the Huskers made it in five plays.
Nagle sneak for four yards, and Reynolds lugged the ball to a first down on the 34 on two carries. A 15-yard penalty against Indiana put the ball on the 19. Then Bill Mueller hustled nine yards.
Bobby’s second touchdown came on a 10-yard run. It started toward the Hoosier left end. But Reynolds cut back, side-stepped, and finally ran right away from the safety man, Ray Petrauskas, for a stand-up score.
Hoosiers Strike Back
This time Britt stayed on the bench and Reynolds kicked the point, which gave Nebraska a 13-7 lead with 8:15 left.
But once more Indiana struck back. And the Hoosiers didn’t give up the ball until they had gone back in front.
D’Achille and Robertson mixed succesfully passing on this 61-yard drive, which really was longer because of two 15-yard holding penalties.
The Hoosiers advanced to a first down on the three-yard-line and then needed three thrusts to make the score. Eugene Gedman finally made it by inches. That made it 13-13, and Thomas again kicked to give the visitors a 14-13 lead. The half ended a minute later.
It’s Reynolds Again
Reynold’s most electrifying run came in the third period.
He started from the enemy 45-yard line, cutting inside the opposite left end.
The Hoosiers seemed to have him trapped, but he stopped to let the blocking form, then changed direction. He ran away from all the would-be tacklers in the last 20 yards.
Bobby added his second point, and Nebraska had a 20-14 lead.
The Huskers kept trying for another touchdown but they fell short.
Early in the fourth quarter they worked to a first down on Indiana’s 18. Then the attack sputtered, and Indiana took the ball on downs on its 29.
Huskers Smother Kicker
And it took a break to let Indiana come back for a tie.
Robertson kicked into the wind and Clark tried to make a shoe-string catch. The ball got away and Joe Balabon recovered for Indiana on the Nebraska 41.
The Hoosiers went down the field from there, with Robertson crashing over for the tying points.
The determined Huskers, set to block the extra-point kick, were offside on the next play, and smothered Thomas before he could kick.
That jolt may have helped gain the tie. Because on his second try, Thomas missed and the score stayed 20-20.
Reynolds not Through
Reynolds wasn’t through yet. To protect the deadlock, he punted out of bounds on the Indiana eight-yard-line as the game entered its final five minutes.
The Hoosiers worked back to midfield, but on a fourth-down attempt Boll, the big Scribner Soph, wrapped his arms around Petrauskas before he could throw.
That gave Nebraska the ball on its 48 with only 30 seconds left.
With Reynolds as a wide decoy, Wingender crashed down the middle for 22 yards. But the gun barked as he was downed at the 28-yard line.
And the 33 thousand went home, satisfied with the opening of what promises to be an interesting season.