TCU 28
Nebraska 7

Sept. 29, 1951 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

Green Huskers Drop 28-7 Debut to TCU

One moment of glory for Husker fans. Nick Adduci booms through the TCU line, escapes Horned Frogs... to score lone Nebraska touchdown from one-yard line. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

UN Runs Only 145 Yards – an Average Reynolds Output; Break Aids TD

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln—Thirty-eight thousand shocked fans Saturday afternoon found out the green Cornhuskers weren't any kind of a match for Texas Christian.

The Horned Frogs took a 28-7 decision. The difference in the teams was even more than the score indicates.

This opener proved Coach Bill Glassford was right—and that the overly optimistic Nebraska followers were too hopeful about a club that had to bank heavily on sophomores and freshmen.

Yes, 5 TDs Were Needed

Coach Bill had been saying all along that his team wasn't ready for this game; that the Huskers shouldn't be favored; that they'd have to score five touchdowns to win.

He was right—so right—on all points.

The visitors rolled up their four touchdowns with a double-wing spread formation which baffled the Husker defensive platoon.

It would have taken five touchdowns to beat them, all right, but Nebraska could score only one. And it took a pronounced break to let them get it.

Bordogna's Pass Long

The sad truth was even harder to take, after Nebraska had achieved a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Fans were feeling pretty good about that, even though an interference penalty set up the touchdown.

With a 31-mile-an-hour wind at their backs, the Huskers earned their way to the enemy 22-yard line.

From that point, John Bordogna's long pass was far over Frank Simon's head into the end zone.

But officials ruled that safety man Ray McKown had interfered with Simon—and awarded the ball to Nebraska on the one-yard line.

Decker Adds Point

Nick Adduci went over standing up, and Bobby Decker's extra-point kick made it 7-0.

The fans settled back for a pleasant afternoon—but they didn't have any more moments of joy.

The Husker attack bogged down the rest of the time, and the defense couldn't keep the Horned Frogs from passing or running through the middle from their wide lineup.

Cutbacks Set Up Flips

It was the passing of Malvin Fowler and Gil Bartosh which did the most damage, although Bobby Jack Floyd's cutbacks into the center of the line kept gaining yards—and setting up the passes.

TCU made the Husker pass defense look woefully inadequate by completing 14 out of 20 throws—for net gain of 223 yards.

The visitors added 194 yards rushing for a total of 417.

Reynolds Sits It Out

Nebraska could total only 234, 145 on rushing plays. This was just about the regular Saturday output of Bob Reynolds alone last season.

But this time Reynolds sat silently on the bench, never once peeling off his heavy coat.

He might have tried some extra point kicks despite his shoulder injury—but the Huskers gave him no such opportunity after Decker's lone kick.

The Huskers never could muster a sustained drive after that first quarter.

Most of the time they functioned like a green team which hasn't found replacements for last year's losses.

Nagle Sorely Missed

They plainly missed Reynolds, of course. They also lacked Fran Nagle's passing, ball handling and direction. And their blocking was a far cry from last year.

On defense, the Husker platoon continually left wide holes at center. Carlton McCormack, 240-pound TCU center, kept opening up wide paths after snapping the ball.

Floyd kept rolling up yardage at that point, getting 87 yards on 20 carries.

And when the Huskers would move in to plug that gap, Fowler or Bartosh would flip accurate passes to receivers who managed to get lots of open space between themselves and Nebraska backs.

The Awakening

It was in the second quarter that the awakening came for Husker fans. Within a space of 8½ minutes TCU scored three touchdowns and turned a 0-7 deficit into a 21-7 advantage.

But the Frogs' first score was an outright gift, at that. Nebraska had stiffened to take the ball on downs on its own four-yard line on the last play of the opening quarter.

Then on the second rushing try in the second period, Bordogna let the ball slip out of his hands and roll lazily into the end zone.

Guard Dan Martin cuddled around it for a touchdown, and the first of Keith Flowers' four extra-point kicks made it 7-7.

Blocked Punt Costly

The Frogs came back with a 48-yard march for another score within four minutes, a pass from Flower to Danny Hallmark carrying to the three-yard line.

?Floyd then trotted to the touchdown.

Four minutes later, Herbert Zimmerman broke in to block one of Tom Carodine's punts, and recovered just 29 yards from the Husker goal.

On the very next play the weakness of the Husker pass defense was glaringly evident.

Protection for Passer

Fowler was given good protection, and calmly waited until Bob Blair, 6-2 end, had raced back of two freshmen defenders, Emil Radik of Omaha South and George Cifra of Turtle Creek, Pa.

Blair took the throw on the dead run and jogged into the end zone. Flowers' kick made it 21-7.

The Huskers somehow managed to hold off additional scoring the rest of that period, and throughout the third quarter.

Huskers Threaten Once

Early in the fourth period, Frosh Bob Smith and Soph Ray Novak fumbled to give the ball back.

But Douglas Conaway finally gave TCU possession on the Husker 28.

After a few running plays, Hallmark took a nine-yard pass from Fowler for the last touchdown.

The Huskers made it down as far as the TCU 11-yard line in the last period, when Don Norris shared the quarterback job with Bordogna.

But they didn't have the kick to get it across.

A Crushing Setback

So it was a crushing setback in the opening of what fans had hoped would be another good Nebraska season.

And nothing short of a sudden and amazing improvement all along the line will prevent additional routs, at least until Reynolds gets back into action.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 6-1 all-time against TCU.

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

This day in history

Nebraska has played 15 games on Sept. 29. See them all »

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