Nebraska 20
Miami (FL) 16

Oct. 17, 1953 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln

Nebraska’s Iron Men Register Initial Win

Nebraska's Rex Fischer scampers into the end zone for the Huskers' clinching touchdown. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

LINCOLN — Fifteen hard-working football players finally gave Nebraska its first taste of victory Saturday afternoon.

Seven starters went the full 60 minutes as the Huskers turned back the University of Miami, 20-16, to delight a capacity Band Day crowd of 39 thousand.

Andy Loehr, Jerry Minnick and John Bordogna were iron men for the second game in a row — and they were joined this day by Bill Schabacker, Max Kitzelman, Dennis Korinek and Bob Oberlin.

Holloran Steady Reliefer

Three of the other starters — Don Glantz, Bob Smith and Jim Yeisley — had only a few minutes of rest.

And the eleventh starter, Tackle Ted Connor, was going great until he was cut down by a leg injury in the second quarter.

He sat out the rest of it, as Bill Holloran became a steady relief man.

Fullback Ray Novak didn’t get into the game, resting because his leg wasn’t mended from a ruptured blood vessel.

Richly-Deserved Win

It was a richly-deserved victory for the pupils of Coach Bill Glassford, who reached the halfway point of the season in a manner which makes the rest of the long pull less ominous.

They still gave the ball away a couple of times on fumbles. But they offset those bobbles with consistently-rugged charging, tackling and blocking.

And Bordogna’s fine direction kept the attack rolling.

The Husker carriers kept pounding away at the middle of the line, with Bordogna passing or calling for a wide play just often enough to keep the Southerners honest.

Keepaway Works

The game was won in the third quarter, after Miami held a 10-7 lead while the bands paraded during intermission.

The Huskers turned the tide in that third period by a simple trick — keeping the ball away from Miami.

The Huskers marched 66 yards after receiving the second-half kick-off, Bordogna going the last eight yards for the touchdown which gave Nebraska a 13-10 lead.

then Miami was permitted to keep the ball for only five plays aft6er the next kick-off.

Fischer Scores Icing TD

The Huskers took possession again and kept the ball the rest of the period.

Miami’s famed second-half scoring outburst didn’t have a chance — because Coach Andy Gustafson’s boys had their hands on the ball only a couple of minutes of the 15 in the third quarter.

When the last period opened, Nebraska had the ball on the enemy 19 after Korinek had scampered 16 yards on a nifty reverse play.

Four plays after the fourth chapter opened, Rex Fischer ran the Miami left end for the last five yards and the game-cinching touchdown.

Husker Fans Squirm

Nebraska’s 20-10 lead didn’t look entirely safe when Miami scored its second touchdown with a little more than seven minutes left.

Holloran had recovered a Miami fumble to stop a Miami march. But Bordogna let the ball get away on an attempted bootleg play and gave it back to the visitors on the Husker 15.

Halfback Ed Oliver squirmed the last four yards for a touchdown, and the Huskers led by only four points with a big seven minutes left.

Miami opened up a frantic passing attack. And the Husker fans squirmed uneasily.

Korinek Saves Day

But Korinek finally intercepted one of J.B. Johnston’s throw and gave Nebraska the ball on the Huskers 44 with a little less than three minutes left.

The Huskers then banged into the line to kill time, made one first down, and stalled it out long enough to let the final gun bark as they finally had to punt to Miami.

That ended a dramatic tussle which had been given an electrifying start with Bob Smith’s 80-yard scoring run for a 7-0 Husker lead late in the first quarter.

On a first-down play from the Husker 20, all of the Nebraska back started swinging out to their right.

Shortest Distance Best

Smith suddenly stopped, cut back, and darted through a hole in the middle of the line.

He had no interference once he popped past the Miami wall. But he didn’t need any.

Within a couple of seconds he had clear daylight between himself and the goal at the north end of the field.

He took the shortest distance and didn’t glance back. Oliver made a game pursuit. But he couldn’t catch the hard-running, 190-pound junior from Grand Island.

Field Goal Clicks

A high punt by Bordogna against the 12-MPH south wind put Nebraska in a hole early in the second period. Miami got possession on the Husker 24.

Miami finally had a fourth down on the five, and elected to pass up a touchdown gamble to go for a field goal.

Dan Tassotti, a 222-pound tackle, kicked the ball straight and true for three points from the 13.

But as things worked out later a touchdown try might have been better than that successful field goal.

Oberlin Move Surprise

Between that three-point kick and intermission, Miami marched 74 yards, Gordon Malloy going the last four for the touchdown which put Nebraska behind, 10-7.

Much of that march was accomplished against the Husker left side, after Connor had been hurt and Holloran hadn’t quite found himself.

But being behind didn’t discourage the Huskers. They were so hungry for a taste of victory that they didn’t bother to think about getting tired in the last half.

A surprise had been the moving of Oberlin to center, all of his previous play this year having been at tackle and guard.

Huskers Win Statistics

But he did the job perfectly — on both offense and defense — for the full route.

Statistics demonstrated Nebraska’s right to the victory. The Huskers had a 15-11 edge in first down and a total net gain of 295 yards to Miami’s 231.

Bob Smith had 58 yards on 18 carries in addition to his 80-yard sprint for a day’s total of 138 yards.

The other Smith, Bill of Miami, led his team with 40 yards.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 6-6 all-time against Miami (FL).

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 16 games on Oct. 17. See them all »

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