Nebraska 9
Kansas 0

Oct. 31, 1953 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln

Kansas Fumbles Aid Nebraska’s 9-0 Win

Bob Smith runs for a Husker touchdown. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

LINCOLN — Nebraska gobbled six Kansas fumbles Saturday afternoon and rode that success to a 9-0 victory before 33 thousand receptive fans.

Coach J.V. Sikes’ visitors outdowned the Huskers, 15-12, and had a margin of 301-284 yards in total gain.

But the Jayhawks weren’t able to keep Coach Bill Glassford’s alert toilers from gaining their first Big Seven triumph.

And it was a good stimulant for the November Husker drive, since Kansas has beaten Iowa State and Colorado, Nebraska’s next two opponents.

Smith Opens Gate

The scoreless deadlock was broken after 6:48 of the third quarters, just when fans were beginning to think that neither was going into the end zone.

The gate was opened on one sudden, slashing run by Bob Smith, Grand Island junior.

From the Husker 42, Smith darted through a quick opening in the middle of the line on a first-down play.

He dashed into the clear and appeared certain of going all the way. But speedy Ralph Moody finally caught up with him and dragged him down after a 56-yard run to the KU two.

Smith Drags Foe Over

An offside penalty put the ball back on the seven. But Smith made a touchdown from there on his next try.

He ran the Jayhawk left end, and was tackled by Don Hess a couple of strides from the goal line. He dragged Hess across.

When Ray Novak missed the extra-point kick, Huskers fans were a bit uneasy, knowing that the 6-0 lead wasn't any safe margin against a KU team that might quite fumbling and go all the way.

Novak Ices Victory

But Novak made up for that miss early in the fourth quarter with a beautiful 28-yard field goal for the clinching points.

Safetyman Bob Allison had muffed the catch of a punt a few plays earlier to give Nebraska the ball on the KU 34.

Finally, on fourth down, the Huskers decided to try for three big points with a place-kick.

Johnny Bordogna held the ball on the 28, which was 38 yards away from the uprights.

Ray took a healthy boot at the ball and it zoomed high and far — against the north wind and squarely over the cross-bar.

As things worked out, that extra three-point cushion wasn’t needed — but it certainly looked valuable for most of the remainder of the fourth quarter.

Twice the Kansans got down close to the goal.

Schabacker Recovers

A 59-yard march ended a yard and a half short, when the Husker line turned back four plays short of the needed yardage — and took the ball on downs.

Nebraska had to give up the ball again in the last few minutes and a 40-yard pass play from John McFarland to Hess carried to the Husker 10.

Moody carried to the three. But on the next play Hess was guilty of KU’s sixth costly fumble — and End Bill Schabacker recovered on the five.

That ended KU’s scoring hopes with only 1:20 left to play.

During the first half the Kansans lost the ball three times on fumbles — on the Nebraska 37 and 25-yard lines, and on the 50.

McWilliams Busy

But Nebraska failed to cash in any points on those bobbles, giving the ball away twice the same way.

One of the Husker fumbles wiped out a scoring chance after a drive to a first down on the KU four on the last play of the first period.

Jon McWilliams, sophomore halfback from Sidney, getting his first starting job, had been the busy carrier in a drive that started on the Husker 25.

One of his wide scoots netter 16 yards and another one was good for 10 to the four.

Bordogna Sneak Short

But on the first play of the second period, Bordogna’s lateral to McWilliams was a bit wobbly and Jon let the ball bounce off his fingers.

Guard Bob Hantla cuddled around the ball on the 10.

The Huskers were on the way again a few minutes later. But a fourth-down sneak by Bordogna was inches short and Kansas took over on the 34.

But all of those misses in the first half were forgotten when the Huskers made their two scoring moves in the second half.

Surprise Attack

The Husker attack surprised fans as well as the KU defenders several times with plays that hadn’t been used before — reverses and pitch-outs and keepers.

Tackles Ted Connor and Jerry Minnick came through with timely tackles to spark the defense.

Both were going strong at the finish, though Minnick required six minutes of rest at the start of the second period because of a minor injury.

Vicious bumping by the Huskers at the line of scrimmage had a lot to do with most of the KAnas fumbles.

Smith Gains 141 Yards

Smith’s net gain for the day was 141 yards, while McWilliams picked up 71 yards.

Bordogna completed six of 17 passes for 64 yards. But two of his throws were intercepted.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.

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

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