COLUMBUS, Ohio — A University of Nebraska football team, lashed by critics for an inept showing in the season opener with Hawaii, bowed to nationally-ranked Ohio State 28-20, Saturday.
The Cornhuskers battled the Bucks on even terms for nearly three quarters, then hung on during a grueling fourth period.
A near-capacity crowd of 80,171, second-largest before which a Nebraska team has performed, came expecting a rout.
The Huskers stunned the Buckeye partisans by leading, 13-7, in the second quarter and, 20-14, in the third period. They crowded, 13-14, at the half.
The game was so fiercely contested Coach Woody Hayes was forced to call upon a near iron-man performance from Howard (Hopalong) Cassady. Ohio State's All-America back.
The swivel-hipped Cassady was the difference.
Hopalong personally accounted for three of the four Buckeye touchdowns. He set up the other with a 42-yard run which carried to the Husker two.
While Cassady was the game's brightest star, it was Nebraska's John Edwards who contributed the game's most sensational play.
Ohio State was leading, 7-6, early in the second quarter, and taking advantage of a pair of Husker fumbles, was knocking for another touchdown from the Nebraska nine.
It appeared the Bucks were sure to get the TD which might open the gates for an Ohio State romp.
But the Cornhuskers, in general, and young Edwards, in particular, had other ideas.
The Husker linemen swarmed in with one Scarlet forward jolting Buckeye Frank Ellwood as the quarterback attempted a pitch-out to the speedy Cassady.
The ball never found the out-stretched hands of the eager Hopalong.
Nebraska Linebacker Edwards, moving through a yawning hole in the Ohio line, grabbed the ball and headed goalward.
From the press box he appeared to grab the ball out of the hands of the befuddled Ellwood. Players, however, said in the Husker dressing room that it was an interception.
Johnny started from the 10. He was 20 yards in front before the Buckeyes started a futile chase.
The Edwards score put the Huskers ahead, 12-7. Don Erway's placement conversion shoved the margin to 13-7.
Earlier, the Huskers had pressed, 6-7, in a wide-open display of offensive football.
Ohio State got the first score — and quick.
The Buckeyes needed only eight plays to cover 57 yards after hustling the opening kick-off to the Ohio State 43.
Cassady got the tally from 14 yards out.
The Huskers surprised, roaring back with a matching touchdown.
Quarterback Erway worked the keeper from the nine to score. Jon McWilliam's nifty catch of a 32-yard pass for a first down on the Ohio State 23 kept the drive alive.
Following the first Nebraska touchdown, came the all-important conversion attempt which failed.
Erway, who later booted two beauties, was not at fault on the initial miss. He was swarmed by Buckeye linemen and never had a chance.
Since End Fred Kriss of the Ohioans kicked 4-for-4, it was this early miss which enabled the Bucks to ride into the final quarter with an eight-point spread.
Nebraska's advantage at 13-7 was short-lived.
Ohio State bounded back and in less than five minutes Cassady dashed over from 10 yards out.
Cassady's scoring punch and Kriss's tow enabled the Bucks to lead, 14-13, at halftime.
The Ohioans also got an assist from the soggy turf which halted a solid Nebraska threat just before the intermission.
End LeRoy Butherus, fielding a 28-yard pitch from Willie Greenlaw on the Ohio State five, slipped when making the turn goalward.
Butherus was in the clear when he skidded.
Nebraska could not get past the one in three punches and failed on a fourth-down pitch-out.
Less than six minutes after the start of the third quarter Nebraska made its final bid.
Stymied on the ground, Nebraska kept working the air lanes with Harry Johnson, Erway and Rex Fischer doing the pitching.
Erway's fourth-down pass to McWilliams in the end zone was the pay-off strike. Don's tow made it 20-14 for Nebraska.
Again the Ohioans struck hard and fast.
In less than six minutes, they racked up two touchdowns, one by Cassady, the other by Ellwood.
That was the game although the tiring Huskers put up such a stout fourth-quarter stand that the Buckeyes never made a gesture toward sweeping the bench.
Nebraska is 1-7 all-time against Ohio State.
|Ohio State||Sept. 24|
|Kansas State||Oct. 1|
|Texas A&M||Oct. 8|
|Iowa State||Nov. 5|
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