The l-o-n-g arm of Roy Stinnett stretches high to rob Syracuse's Tom Stephens of a pass near Husker goal. LAWRENCE ROBINSON/THE WORLD-HERALD
LINCOLN, Nebr. — Syracuse evened the Nebraska series by shucking the Cornhuskers, 26-9, Saturday.
In contrast to the showings against Army and Pitt, there was no humiliation in the Scarlet defeat.
The Cornhuskers were outyarded, outdowned, outscored but not outfought.
The Huskers surprised by riding a 9-7 lead into the second quarter. They were in the running until the closing minutes of the first half.
After intermission Nebraska held the highly touted Orangemen to a single tally.
No Syracuse Brilliance
It was Cornhusker weakness rather than any Syracuse brilliance that decided the intersectional tussle.
The once-powerful Orange appeared just a shell of the club which swept to 1956 Eastern honors.
The Easterners fumbled four times, losing the ball twice. They miscued backfield assignments a dozen times, showed nothing around the flanks and leaked up front defensively.
The crowd of 39 thousand saw little from the East to indicate the final outcome would not have been reversed had Nebraska's squad been healthy.
Hobbled by injury and weakened by the flu, Nebraska earned credit for the sharpest comeback of the afternoon.
This was the touchdown, which paired with a field goal, sent the Scarlet roaring out front after Syracuse had racked up a quick score.
Doug Thomas fired the opening volleys of this Nebraska offensive.
The Fairbury athlete gathered in Bob Yates' kick-off and hustled to the Nebraska 30.
The durable Thomas then came right back with a 20-yard sprint to midfield.
He might have gone all the way if Syracuse's Chuck Fogarty hadn't tripped him with a one-armed stab.
As it was, the Huskers advanced to the Orange 35 via the personal penalty route on the Thomas sprint.
From the 35, Fullback Jerry Brown took over. Bulling his way through the Orange forward wall, Brown exploded for a first down on the Syracuse 13. A few seconds later, he powered across from one yard out.
Syracuse already had chalked up seven points so when a bad snapback hurried Dick Prusia's conversion effort the Huskers trailed, 7-6.
In less than two minutes Nebraska bounced out front.
Hard tackling by the Huskers, alert play by Stu Howerter and Prusia's educated toe made this possible.
Howerter got his chance when Syracuse's Ernie Jackson fumbled a kick-off return.
The ball squirted high in the air, over a couple of tacklers and into the arms of Howerter. The Omaha veteran picked off the bobble on the Syracuse 32 and squirmed down the sidelines to the 11.
When Thomas, Gene Sandage and Roy Stinnett could advance only to the four, the tee came in to signal a field goal.
This time the snap was true and Prusia scored from the Syracuse 12.
Nebraska's 9-7 bulge stood up until 6:48 had ticked off in the second quarter.
Syracuse needed only four plays for the 27-yard thrust which erased the deficit.
Fogarty slammed from the five for the score. Tom Stephens had signaled the rally with a 17-yard sprint.
Nebraska's Stinnett set the stage by fumbling on the Husker 27.
Gene Sandage had stymied an earlier Orange threat with a pass interception on the three.
The second Syracuse touchdown returned the Orange to the lead and it was the third tally which delivered a knockout blow to Nebraska hopes.
This was a 56-yard march climaxed by Ed Coffin's scoring plunge with only six seconds left in the half.
There were 25 seconds left when Jackson hit Stephens with an 18-yard pitch from the Nebraska 27.
On the next play Nebraska's Larry Naviaux crashed into Jackson and pass interference was called. It was a frantic jab as the Orange receiver was set for the catch.
The penalty stopped the clock and gave Syracuse the ball one foot from the goal line.
It was mere routine for Coffin to smash this distance.
In contrast to the spirited first half, the after-intermission exhibition was a drab affair.
Except for a 69-yard offensive midway in the final period, there was little second-half excitement.
Coffin gave the Orange life on the Syracuse 31 when he swiped Stinnett's pass.
Seven plays and six minutes later Stephens was across to push the scoring register to 26 points.
The Orange show followed the opening kick-off.
This was a 73-yard drive which needed only eight plays and used only four minutes.
Stephens's one-yard plunge was the pay-off.
End Dick Lasse was the Syracuse standout. His fourth-period catch which kept the final drive alive was sensational.
Glenn Preising's grab which set up the first Syracuse touchdown was more spectacular. He took the ball away from two Huskers and fell on the Nebraska one.
Jerry Brown, Don Olson, Don Rhoda and Dick McCashland had bright moments for the Huskers. They performed well defensively.
Brown, busiest ball carrier with 12 rushes, averaged 3.4 under heavy pressure. Thomas got 50 in nine tries. Larry Naviaux set the pace with an eight-yard average in four tries.
There were indications the Huskers can do better now that they are finished with the intersectional wars.
But they must improve if they are to worry Missouri at Columbia Saturday.