Kansas State 7
Nebraska 3

Oct. 9, 1954 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln

Kansas State Rally Edges Huskers, 7-3

Kicker Pev Evans gives Nebraska a 3-0 lead with his field goal. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

LINCOLN — Whatever hopes the Nebraska faithful may have held toward shaking the orange trees in Miami next New Year’s Day were disintegrated Saturday afternoon.

Kansas State rallied to defeat the Cornhuskers, 7-3.

A near-capacity crowd of more than 34 thousand saw a weird battle between two teams which lacked much of an offense.

And about all either had in the way of a defense was the other’s recurring attacks of fumblitis.

Evans’s Kick Perfect

For nearly 57 minutes it appeared Nebraska was going to squeak by with a 3-0 victory.

This false hope was fired by Pev Evans’s successful placement from the Kansas state 25 with only 40 seconds left in the first half.

Husky Pev’s perfect boot looked like the winning ticket until Corky Taylor, hero and man-of-all-work in the K-State lineup, squirmed across from one foot out with 3:25 left.

66-Yard Push

Taylor’s touchdown gave Kansas State a three-point bulge. Jim Rucher’s placement conversion made it a spread of four.

The touchdown drive carried 66 yards.

The march was fired by Wildcat shock troopers, with the speedy Taylor being rushed in for important yardage when the surge had moved deep in Nebraska territory.

Twice it appeared the Cornhuskers were to escape the last quarter debacle.

DeBitetto to Rescue

When the Wildcats were 33 yards out Fullback Bill Carrington fumbled and the ball squirted around the turf in eerie fashion.

Four players dived for the ball and K-State Guard George DeBitetto gained possession.

DeBitetto’s recovery actually advanced the ball two yards. But it required a fourth-down sweep by Taylor to make the necessary yardage.

Taylor was trying for two. Actually he got nine and a first down on the Nebraska 10.

The Smash That Killed

K-State required the limit to get the last 10. Taylor’s third-down plunge for seven was the smash that killed the Huskers. His lunge was just feet short.

K-State’s touchdown drive was sprung through the Husker second string.

Coach Bill Glassford hurried the first string in midway in the march.

These reinforcements merely delayed the touchdown. But the fresh troops did prevent K-State from getting a second tally in the closing minute.

Greenlaw Stranded

They put on a goal-line stand after Wildcat Fullback Doug Roether pirated Dan Brown’s desperation pass and lumbered 50 yards to the Nebraska five with the clock running out.

The Cats were inches short of pay dirt in four downs.

Then came the play which might have produced a Nebraska victory in story-book fashion.

An apparent mixup in Husker signals left Willie Greenlaw, sophomore halfback, stranded with the ball deep in the Nebraska end zone.

Finally Dragged Down

He eluded three K-State tackles in a scramble to get back onto the field of play.

Then, reversing his field, he finally was dragged down on the husker 15 when about to break into the clear.

Had Willie been able to go the route it would have been one of the wildest finishes in Cornhusker history.

Before Kansas state cashed in on its only good chance of the afternoon, Nebraska flubbed two excellent opportunities to score; mildly missed a half dozen more.

Regulars Return

Best Nebraska chance came late in the second quarter with the Scarlet second string manning the guns in an attack which swept from the Wildcat 45 to the 19.

Dennis Korinek and John Edwards powered the offensive.

With four minutes left, the refreshed first stringers were hustled back.

This looked like a good strategy when the regulars roared to a first down on the K-State six in four plays.

Play Goes Haywire

Then the first stringers went haywire. A miserably executed pitch-out, which apparently was to wind up with Ron Clark passing, was fumbled for an eight-yard loss.

Quarterback Dan Brown kept the ball on the next play. But he lost seven more fading back to pass.

Smith then ran the ball in front of the goal posts for Evans’s successful placement attempt.

The other big Husker threat was early in the third quarter when Ron Clark, after making a neat return of Corky Taylor’s kick, fumbled into the arms of Guard Charley Bryant.

Blockers Converge

Bryant pedaled to the K-State 17. But the whole business went for naught when the officials detected a Nebraskan clipping.

The penalty nullified a 63-yard gain and set Nebraska back to the Husker 12.

Several fumbles later and just before the third quarter ended it appeared fullback Bob Smith of the Huskers was touchdown bound.

Grand Island Bob scampered 21 yards to the K-State 48 when he bogged down while blockers apparently were converging to clear the path.

Huskers ‘Win’ Statistics

Until the winning push in the closing minutes, Kansas State’s best bid was soon after the opening kick-off.

The Cats marched to the Nebraska 26 before switching to an aerial game which went haywire.

Nebraska "won the statistics," particularly in the fumble department.

There were 13—Nebraska eight and K-State five. The Huskers lost the ball on three exchanges, the Wildcats on two.

Mental Errors, Too

There were mental errors as well.

Neither team seemed to make the best of its power.

Blocking on the part of all hands was ineffective and the tackling not sharp.

The chart would indicate the pass defenses tight. Actually it was the passing that was feeble.

Oregon State Next

However, the most spectacular K-State play was a running pitch from Bob Whitehead to Corky Taylor late in the third quarter. The pitch was aimed at the coffin corner.

Taylor made a nifty catch. But he was just out of bounds by the northeast flag.

The K-State win spoiled Nebraska’s chances of soloing in front of the Big Seven pack. It left the Wildcats and Cornhuskers both with a 1-1 record.

Next Nebraska’s assignment is Saturday’s Band Day game with Oregon State. The Scarlet resumes the Big Seven race with Colorado at Boulder, October 23.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.

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

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