Nebraska 34
Iowa State 27

Nov. 10, 1951 • Clyde Williams Field, Ames, Ia.

Huskers Discard T, Use Spread to Gain 34-27 Comeback Win

Ray Novak takes pass from John Bordogna. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

Clyde Williams Field, Ames, Ia.—Nebraska junked the T formation Saturday and scored its first victory of the season by using the Texas Christian spread style of offense.

The Huskers exploded for four touchdowns in the third quarter to come roaring from behind and conquer Iowa State, 34-27.

John Bordogna was the Husker hero of a great afternoon of passing which thrilled the Parents’ Day crowd of 15,600.

The sophomore from Turtle Creek, Pa., had been a flop as a T formation quarterback early in the season. But he came into his own as the tailback in the new style.

Bordogna Guides Attack

Getting the ball on direct pass from center as he stood about eight yards back of the line of scrimmage. Bordogna kept passing and passing some more.

He used just enough running plays to keep the defense fooled.

Bob Reynolds was in the tailback position a few times. But most of the time he played a wingback as Bordogna guided the attack. Reynolds and Bordogna shared signal-calling chores.

The Huskers completed 16 out of 38 passes for 253 yards and added 121 on rushing plays.

Huskers Mow ’Em Down

They thus beat Coach Abe Stuber’s Cyclones at their own aerial game—although Dick Mann did flip for four touchdowns and completed 22 out of 41 throws for 254 yards.

And it was a changed Husker team in more ways than the switch in offensive style.

Coach Bill Glassford’s victory-hungry pupils blocked as they hadn’t done before this season. They mowed ’em down in great shape, particularly on kick returns.

As a result of this suddenly assertive blocking, kicks were run back 138 yards.

Minnick, Husmann Dazzle

And the Husker defensive line, which hit its peak a week ago, continued to outdrive the IS forwards.

The Huskers held the Cyclones to 92 yards on running plays and kept rushing Mann so that many of his throws were harmless heaves.

They hit a defensive peak in the second half—after trailing, 21-7—as Tackles Jerry Minnick and Ed Husmann set a rugged pattern.

The spread formation, being brand new in game use, didn’t function so well in the first half.

Rare Thrill for Minnick

But once the Huskers got their teeth into it they prospered on the new setup.

They rocked the Cyclones back on their heels with those four touchdowns within 12½ minutes of play after the intermission.

Fullback Ray Novak caught two touchdown flips in this explosion after he had run for the first Husker points. End George Paynich caught a third Bordogna touchdown flip.

And Minnick had the touchdown-scoring thrill which rarely comes to a tackle. In fact, Minnick set off the third-period tornado.

3 Straight for Decker

On the third play following the second-half kickoff, Minnick came rushing into the Iowa State backfield as Mann tried a deep handoff to Maury Schnell.

Minnick batted the ball into the air, then grabbed it and ran 18 yards to a touchdown.

The Huskers came roaring right back to tie the score a few moments later.

Bordogna passed to Dick Regier for 24 yards, to Freshman Jim Cederdahl for 22, and then to Novak for the last nine. Bobby Decker’s third-straight extra-point kick made it 21-21.

Yeisley Sets Up TD

And the Huskers were on fire by now. They had the long-awaited taste of victory on their lips—and they went after it with vengeance.

Freshman Jim Yeisley started on the next move by intercepting one of Mann’s passes and getting back to the Cyclone 30.

Frank Simon made a brilliant running catch of a long Bordogna pass for 40 yards after a 15-yard penalty had moved the Huskers back.

Then Paynich fell in the end zone as he made the catch which put the Huskers in front for the first time.

Done? Not Yet!

And still the Nebraskans weren’t through. They moved 74 yards for still another touchdown before the period ended.

Reynolds faked a punt and ran 28 on a fourth-down play which kept the drive going. Paynich got a 17-yard throw and Cederdahl one for the same distance.

Then Novak took a short flip for his third touchdown.

Decker’s kick gave the Huskers a 13-point margin—and victory looked reasonably sure the way the Huskers were going.

A New Way to Bobble

It didn’t matter that the Cyclones came back with a touchdown in the fourth period to cut the margin to seven points.

Mann pitched to Bob Voetberg for the late score. But the Huskers checked further bids and had the ball on the Iowa State 13 when the game ended.

The game was only about 10 minutes old when the Huskers found a new way to bobble and set up a free touchdown.

Bordogna was back in punt formation on fourth down when Center Ken Schroeder uncorked a wild snapback which sailed far over John’s head.

Huskers Roar Back

He ran back and recovered on the Husker 14. But the ball, of course, went to the Cyclones on downs at that point.

Mann’s first two passes from this point failed to connect—but the third one did.

Schnell took a short throw at the scrimmage line and scooted 14 yards for the game’s first points.

The Huskers marched 62 yards to even the score after the kickoff. Bordogna mixed up passes and runs from the spread to keep this drive alive.

2d Period Jinx Strikes

Then Ray Novak cut inside tackle for the last three yards with 58 seconds left in the first period. And Bobby Decker’s kick made it 7-7.

But the fatal Husker weakness—a defensive letdown in the second quarter—enabled the Cyclones to boost their lead to 21-7 before the halftime intermission.

End Mal Schmidt ran back of Decker and fielded a neat pitch by Mann on the Husker 35 and kept going for a touchdown on a play that covered 63 yards.

A 59-yard march a few moments later ended when Mann passed to Mel Meling for the last eight yards. And Bob Clendening’s third kick in a row made it 21-7.

But memory of that was removed by the great Husker comeback after intermission.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 86-17 all-time against Iowa State.

See all games »

1951 season (2-8)

TCU Sept. 29
Kansas State Oct. 6
Penn State Oct. 13
Minnesota Oct. 20
Missouri Oct. 27
Kansas Nov. 3
Iowa State Nov. 10
Colorado Nov. 17
Oklahoma Nov. 24
Miami (FL) Nov. 30

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