Nebraska 26
Kansas 20

Nov. 10, 1956 • Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas

Huskers Rise Again, Upset Kansas, 26-20

Follow the diagram and see 31 Husker yards in the making. It's a pitch from George Harshman back to Frank Nappi ... who unwinds a forward to Willie Greenlaw. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Nebraska's underdog Cornhuskers played with savage determination in the clutch Saturday to slap down Kansas, 26-20, in one of the wildest games in Big Seven football history.

The gallant Scarlets came from behind with a 73-yard siege early in the fourth quarter, then staved off K.U. to deflate a homecoming crowd of 28 thousand.

Pete Elliott threw 23 players into the melee and every one deserves a hero's accolade.

Willie Stars Again

One of the most notable — for the second straight week — was swashbuckling Willie Greenlaw, who passed for one touchdown and ran for the ripping finale.

Willie's totals for the day showed three pass completions for 40 yards, one catch for 30 and nine runs for another 57 yards.

The Huskers started toward the clincher from their own 27 after Frank Nappi returned a kick-off 16 yards. Fullback Jerry Brown, running the hardest of his career, bolted 15 yards on the first play.

Two other vital plays in the series were a 13-yard pass from Greenlaw to Nappi and a 24-yard gallop by Nappi on a reverse.

Collie Joins Huskers

The latter put the ball on the six as Frank outraced a collie dog that swept in behind him. The surprising junior from Portland, Me., finally was hauled down by Charlie McCue and Glenn Swengros.

Play was halted and much-needed comic relief supplied when the dog again joined the Nebraska backfield.

But Jayhawk partisans swallowed their laughter after the next snap as Greenlaw, threading his way beautifully, darted into the end zone.

It was the fourth touchdown within a space of 16-and-a-half minutes. George Harshman topped it off with the place kick.

Clipping Hurts K.U.

Nebraska forced a punt by Ted Rohde a few minutes later but had scant more success than K.U. and Harshman punted to Bobby Robinson on the five.

The 190-pound sophomore twisted down the sideline to the Husker 28. But clipping on the one by end Bill Bell jerked the Jays back within a foot and a half of their goal line.

Twice Wally Strauch, coach Chuck Mather's nervy quarterback, passed from his end zone. The first toss was dropped by Rohde but the second hit Bell for a first down on the 17.

The threat fizzled five plays later when Larry Naviaux, Lexington sophomore halfback, intercepted on the Nebraska 41 and lugged the ball to the K.U. 47.

Final Bid Halted

Eight conservative plays carried only to the 36, where, with 48 seconds left and 10 yards to make on fourth down, Harshman punted to Charlie McCue.

Greenlaw tackled him with a thud on the four.

Strauch again backed into his end zone and fired. End Bruce Brenner kept the crowd in hope with a catch on the 23.

But the next pass missed. On the final play Strauch tagged Bob Hoesing with a long pitch and halfback Bill Hawkins downed him at midfield.

Nebraska had bolted into the lead with a little more than nine minutes gone in the opening period.

The march ate 61 yards and started with one of those patented pass-and-scoot maneuvers by Nappi and Greenlaw, who have become one of the niftiest teams since Gallagher and Shean.

It was a 31-yard gain. Two plays later they reversed roles for a seven-yard strike.

Brown, Nappi and Greenlaw moved the ball to the one. On third down the magnificent Brown lunged over the goal line. Tacklers pulled him back but the score was in.

Jayhawks Tie Fray

The other touchdowns in this frenzied action on a perfect football day came in this order.

Kansas — aided by a 15-yard penalty for a personal foul, the team went 67 yards to send Strauch across from one foot out on fourth down. There were 12 minutes and six seconds remaining in the second quarter. Strauch converted to tie the score.

Nebraska — An 18-yard burst by Brown featured an 81-yard march that ended with Greenlaw's 19-yard pass to Nappi. Time left in the half was 5:57. Frank Black blocked Greenlaw's conversion attempt.

Passes Gain 64

Kansas — After receiving the second half kick-off, Strauch directed a sweep of 80 yards. This included 64 on three of his passes, two to end Jim Letcavits and one to McCue. Each receiver made spectacular catches.

It took four downs from the 10, with McCue slanting through his left side for the final yard. Nearly 10 minutes remained in the period. Strauch's kick from placement was wide, leaving a 13-13 deadlock.

Nebraska — The No. 2 unit went 24 yards late in the third quarter after a brilliant punt by Naviaux rolled dead on the K.U. one and forced a kick from the end zone.

Quarterback Gordon Englert started it off with an eight-yard pass to Hawkins, who wrapped it up five plays later with the ball a foot out. Harshman missed his kick.

McCue Breaks Loose

Kansas — McCue was the ringleader on a sortie of 53 yards after the fleet Homer Floyd returned the kick-off 35 yards. Elliott rushed the first Scarlet club onto the field after K.U. reached the 34. But on the next play McCue raced 31 yards to the three.

John Francisco bucked for two and McCue went across. Strauch's conversion made it 20-19.

The Huskers then matched the Kansans' grit with their triumphant comeback.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.

See all games »

1956 season (4-6)

South Dakota Sept. 22
Ohio State Sept. 29
Iowa State Oct. 6
Kansas State Oct. 13
Indiana Oct. 20
Colorado Oct. 27
Missouri Nov. 3
Kansas Nov. 10
Baylor Nov. 17
Oklahoma Nov. 24

This day in history

Nebraska has played 19 games on Nov. 10. See them all »

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