#17 Pittsburgh 14
Nebraska 6

Oct. 10, 1953 • Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh

Improved Nebraska Nipped by Pitt, 14-6

Nebraska drives to the Pitt 3-yard line, setting up a touchdown. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

PITTSBURGH — Nebraska’s football team showed improvement over last week — but took a 14-6 defeat at the hands of Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon.

It was only 7-6 until the last play of the game, when the tired Huskers finally were dented for another touchdown after holding the Panthers to less than four yards on three smashes.

The 20,667 fans, who enjoyed a rugged ball game in ideal weather, wouldn’t have been able to cheer that late Pitt score except for a quick whistle by Referee William Holloran.

With two minutes to play, Pitt had the ball on the Husker 28.

Ruling Irks Huskers

Ray DiPasquale fumbled and Husker Max Kitzelman curled around the ball. But the referee ruled the ball had been down before the fumble.

The Huskers made loud protests. But to no avail. Pitt kept the ball — and on the next play Bobby Epps ran through the irked visitors for 22 yards, to the four-yard line.

Then as time ran out the Huskers stopped Epps twice and Henry Ford once. But they let Ford bounce off a stone wall into the end zone as the final gun barked.

The Husker defense had held the favored Panthers scoreless from the opening 6½ minutes up to that point.

But the Huskers had managed only six points themselves while fumbling away several other scoring opportunities.

Four Giveaways

Nebraska gave the ball away four times in the first half on fumbles. They came on the Pitt 20, 20 and 41-yard line, and on the Husker 24.

It wasn’t quite like previous games, when costly Nebraska fumbles came deep in Husker territory.

And on each occasion, the Husker back let the ball get away while he was being tackled hard.

But that streak of bobbling let Pitt protect a 7-0 half-time lead, the touchdown coming on a 66-yard march after the opening kick-off.

Epps Goes Over

Epps, a terrific-driving fullback, went the last yard and Paul Blanda kicked the extra point.

The Huskers came back well. But Dennis Korinek fumbled and Ed Johnson recovered to halt the drive on the 20.

In the second period, Bill Schabacker let the ball slip away after he had made a beautiful catch of a pass from ironman Johnny Bordogna, and Pete Neft recovered on the Pitt 41.

Minnick Blocks Kick

A few minutes later Bordogna was ganged as he faded back to pass, and he fumbled with Bill Cessar recovering on the Husker 24.

After working the ball to the 10, Pitt’s attack was stopped and Blanda tried a field goal from the 25.

But Jerry Minnick, as part of his 60-minute chore, blocked the kick and recovered on the 27.

Ray Novak’s interception of a Ford pass gave the Huskers a life in the third period.

Wobbly Snapback Hurts

He ran back 21 yards to the Pitt 44, and the Huskers were rough on the bigger Pitt line the next few minutes.

Bordogna passed to his Turtle Creek pal, End Andy Loehr for 20 yards, to the 19, and three plays later the Bordogna-Loehr aerial art clicked again to the three.

In three carries, Bordogna scored a touchdown.

But his try for the extra point that would have tied was messed up.

Bob Smith got a wobbly pass back from center, and couldn’t get the ball on the proper spot for the kick. So it was low and wild.

One Foot Short

Just before the fourth period opened, the several hundred Husker boosters in the crowd saw a chance for victory when Smith intercepted Neft’s pass and ran 14 yards to the Pitt 34.

But DiPasquale intercepted a pass to end this bid. Nebraska got he ball again on a punt, and still had a chance to move ahead.

a 13-yard run by Smith on a lateral from Bordogna carried to the 24. But the ball was lost on downs on the 15 when Novak’s fourth-down smash was a foot short.

The clock showed 6:40 left, and the Huskers didn’t get their hands on the ball again — except for Kitzelman’s recovery which wasn’t allowed.

Glassford Pleased

Coach Bill Glassford naturally was pleased with the play of his Husker, even though their fumbles were painful.

“Our boys played their hearts out,” Bill said, “and deserved nothing worse than a one-point defeat.

Only 19 players were used — as Bordogna, Loehr, Minnick, Center Jim Oliver and Tackle Ted Connor went the full 60 minutes.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 6-15 all-time against Pittsburgh.

See all games »

1953 season (3-6-1)

Oregon Sept. 19
Illinois Sept. 26
Kansas State Oct. 3
Pittsburgh Oct. 10
Miami (FL) Oct. 17
Missouri Oct. 24
Kansas Oct. 31
Iowa State Nov. 7
Colorado Nov. 14
Oklahoma Nov. 21

This day in history

Nebraska has played 17 games on Oct. 10. See them all »

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