Nebraska 20
#11 Colorado 6

Oct. 23, 1954

Huskers Thoroughly Cuff Colorado, 20-6

Alone — but not forgotten. That's the happy situation for Husker Dennis Korinek ... who has lots of room in swinging to the first touchdown of the game. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

BOULDER, Colo. — Nebraska’s previously uncertain football team rose to glorious heights Saturday afternoon and thoroughly crushed Colorado, 20-6.

This was no fluke victory, but complete domination by the 14-point underdog Huskers.

Coach Dal Ward’s Buffaloes, who had shut out four of five earlier rivals to remain undefeated, simply didn’t have the defense to check Coach Bill Glassford’s aroused pupils.

It was a shocking setback for 32,200 Homecoming Day fans, many of whom were looking ahead to next week’s game with Oklahoma, and even beyond that to an Orange Bowl trip.

It was a sparkling reward for the 4,500 loyal students and fans who trailed along with the Huskers on this trip. Probably few of them really thought Nebraska would be able to score its first triumph at Boulder since Colorado joined the Big Seven.

But Nebraska scored first, then roared back to turn it into a second-half rout after Colorado had managed a 6-6 tie at intermission. The best single explanation of the Husker domination was the lines — both the first and second ones — had their own way on offense. They out-charged the Buff defenders all the way, enabling the Husker backs to roll up a total net gain of 380 yards, 280 of them on rushing plays.

It was obvious early in the second quarter that this was going to be Nebraska’s day.

The Huskers started an unchecked 90-yard march late in the first quarter and the new lineup, which came in at the start of the second period, carried the last 79 yards.

Dennis Korinek and Don Comstock did the heavy running on this drive. But Quarterback Don Erway mixed in a couple of fine forward passes to a fellow sophomore from Lincoln High, End Leroy Butherus.

The first Erway-Butherus flip was good for 19 yards. And three plays later another 19-yard throw put the ball on the four.

Brilliant Deception

Three running plays left the ball still two yards away from a touchdown. Then the Huskers came through with a brilliant bit of deception to a score on a do-or-die fourth-downer.

Bob Smith cam rushing in from the bench, supposedly with coach Glassford’s play instruction.

Erway faked the ball neatly to Smith, and the Buff lineman piled up on him as he drove into the line.

But the laugh was on them; Smith didn’t have the ball.

Buffs Roar Back

Erway ran a few steps, then fed a delayed lateral to Korinek. He hotfooted into the end zone without a foe getting close.

Pev Evans missed the extra-point kick. But the Huskers liked the taste of glory and didn’t mind.

They didn’t even care too much when the Buffaloes got hot on a couple of plays and ate up 63 yards quickly to tie.

Frank Bernardi ran the Husker right end for 38 yards. And on the next play Carroll Hardy went around the other wing for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Greenlaw’s Turn

But the score remained tied when Bill Lamont missed his extra-point try.

Comstock’s 57-yard run with a delayed pitch-out from Erway almost put the Huskers ahead before the half.

But the Buff defense stiffened and Nebraska lost the ball on downs on the two just before intermission.

In the second half it was Willie Greenlaw’s turn to dazzle. The sophomore from Portland, Me., scored two touchdowns and had a third nullified by a clipping penalty.

Others Help Willie

The Huskers received the last-half kick-off and Colorado didn’t get its hands on the ball again until Nebraska had taken a 13-6 lead.

The 74-yard march against the rested Buffalo line was engineered by Quarterback Dan Brown, with Ron Clark and Harry Johnson and Bob Smith giving Greenlaw necessary support.

And the forwards, of course, were paving the way with vicious blocking.

The touchdown came from 10 yards out. Brown ran into the middle, then turned and tossed backwards just as he was tackled.

Smith Adds Point

Greenlaw grabbed the ball and outraced all defenders.

Smith kicked the points for a seven-point lead.

When the Buffs couldn’t keep a drive going, Hardy punted to Korinek and the junior back made what might have been a costly error.

He fielded the ball on the goal line and tried to run out instead of taking a touchback.

Erway Punts Out

He was dropped on the two.

But Erway saved this situation by punting out of the end zone for more than 60 yards in the air.

Colorado again tried. But it couldn’t go far enough, losing the ball on downs on the Husker 26 early in the last quarter.

Two plays later Greenlaw turned an error into the most brilliant run of the afternoon.

Willie Gets Away

A wild backward pass rolled several yards before Willie could retrieve it.

A flock of Buff forwards were bearing in on him. But he somehow got away from them.

Picking up some good blocking help, Greenlaw quickly broke into the clear down the west sidelines.

No tackler ever got close to him as he raced 69 yards into the end zone. But it wasn’t a score.

Same Mistake

Officials claimed Butherus had clipped a man on the 20-yard line. So Nebraska had to take the ball on the 35 instead of getting a touchdown.

A few plays later Homer Jenkins made the same mistake Korinek had made on fielding a punt. He caught it instead of letting it roll into the end zone. And was tackled on his two.

A few plays later the big sophomore bull John Bayuk fumbled when hit hard and End Jack Braley recovered for Nebraska on the enemy 11.

It took Greenlaw just one try to score from there and make up for the one which didn’t count. He took a pitch-out and scooted 11 yards to score.

Missouri Next

Erway’s punt made it 20-6.

Colorado tried to get going after this but the Huskers were so full of winning fever by this time that the home boys didn’t have a chance.

The Huskers kept the ball more than five minutes when they got it again and that sealed the Colorado doom.

Frantic pass late in the game got the favorites nowhere.

So now Nebraska can look forward to its next game with Missouri on a more hopeful note — with some reason for thinking the 2-1 Big Seven recorded might be bettered.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 49-20 all-time against Colorado.

See all games »

1954 season (6-5)

Minnesota Sept. 25
Iowa State Oct. 2
Kansas State Oct. 9
Oregon State Oct. 16
Colorado Oct. 23
Missouri Oct. 30
Kansas Nov. 6
Pittsburgh Nov. 13
Oklahoma Nov. 20
Hawaii Nov. 26
Duke Jan. 1

This day in history

Nebraska has played 17 games on Oct. 23. See them all »

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