LAWRENCE, Kan. — Fifty-one minutes of good football by Nebraska were wiped out Saturday as Kansas exploded twice in the fourth quarter to rack its greatest winning margin in the 65-game series, 29-7.
The harsh record shows it was Nebraska’s sixth defeat in eight games this year and only its fourth loss in history here.
But the truth of the Husker heartbreak must include these facts:
First downs—Nebraska 14, Kansas 12.
Total yardage—Nebraska 297, Kansas 294.
The statistics offer not the slightest consolation to the Huskers.
They serve only as mute evidence for the fans at home that this was a hard-playing Nebraska team, one that refused to weaken in the face of a 14-0 disadvantage at halftime and one that retained its spirit despite a string of tough breaks.
Nebraska had pulled to within 7-14 of the Jayhawks and was continuing to dominate second-half play when the first enemy bomb was detonated.
The shocker came with 8:31 remaining in the fourth quarter and just three plays after workhorse Carroll Zaruba had sprinted 20 yards to the Kansas 41.
Dick McCashland and Zaruba each gained one yard.
Then quarterback Harry Tolly whipped a hard pass to Larry Naviaux.
The ball was inches from the halfback’s outstretched hands when Norm Mallen sprinted into the picture, intercepted on the 35 and raced along the sideline 65 yards to a touchdown.
It happened too suddenly for the Huskers to reverse gears.
Still stunned, they saw Duane Morris’s placement kick widen the margin to 21-7.
End Bill Bohanan, a Nebraska junior who played a whale of a defensive game, captured Homer Floyd’s fumble on the Nebraska 17 two minutes later.
There was time.
But this was to be one of the few occasions this day when an improved Husker attack couldn’t produce a first down. Roy Stinnett backed to his 11 and lifted a tremendous punt that rolled dead on the KU 24.
Two plays were worth seven yards.
Sophomore quarterback Crank, the lad who had ignited the surprise victory over Tulane two weeks earlier, reached the line of scrimmage on third down and moved as if to hand off.
Husker defenders altered course with the motion.
Crank jitterbugged for a couple seconds, then scooted through the opening. The runner from Hamilton, O., set a diagonal course and raced 69 yards to Kansas’s fourth and clinching touchdown.
It was 29-7 after Buddy Merritt scooted across for a two-point conversion.
And it was hard for the weary Cornhuskers, taunted by the shouts of 23 thousand homecoming fans, to believe their efforts had amounted to so little.
Kansas had followed Floyd’s 53-yard return of the game-opening kick-off with a touchdown march that suggested the pickin’s would be easy. Floyd got the final three yards, cartwheeling over the goal line after McCashland and center Don crashed into him.
Nebraska had no intentions of being a pushover, however.
Fricke blocked Morris’s placement and the Scarlets moved the ball 53 yards with an offense just as sharp as the enemy’s.
It reached the 18 before Doyle Schick and John Peppercorn nailed Zaruba for a five-yard loss. Carroll regained three but George Harshman’s fourth-down pass to end John Bond was half a yard short.
Nebraska forced a punt, then swept from the KU 43 to the two as the drive carried into the second period.
Zaruba was inches short of a touchdown on the third down. McCashland rammed the line left of center but also was stopped and KU took possession.
Midway through the seconds period Kansas lugged the ball 60 yards to the Nebraska five, where the Huskers held tight.
End Bill Tuning led the rush as Jayhawk John Suder missed his target on a field goal attempt.
It looked as though Nebraska would be down only 7-0 at the intermission. It still looked that way 49 seconds before the gun.
Kansas, tougher than its powder-blue uniforms suggested, got the break it needed to fatten that margin.
It was the kind of break good play producers with tackle Peppercorn partially blocking a punt by Tolly. Out on the Husker 46, the kick was good for only 11 yards.
Crank’s first-down pass was long.
Then Larry McKown, first-string quarterback, tried his luck.
He fired to the irrepressible Floyd, who snatched the pigskin on the 26—after a defender had swiped at the ball and missed—and romped to a touchdown.
It was Kansas’s first aerial score of the season.
Bob Marshall tried a conversion pass which was incomplete. But a Nebraskan was shoving so KU tried again from the one and Floyd plunged for two points.
Nebraska posted its touchdown with a drive of 53 yards the first time it got the ball in the second half.
McCashland, Caruba and Naviaux never ran harder in their lives. Adding momentum was a 20-yard toss from Harshman to Zaruba.
Naviaux shot into the end zone from the four and Harshman booted the extra point.
Before the quarter ended, Nebraska went to the KU four but McCashland picked up only one yard on the fourth down bid.
It was a day of good effort and false promise.
Nebraska is 91-23 all-time against Kansas.
|Penn State||Sept. 20|
|Iowa State||Oct. 4|
|Kansas State||Oct. 11|
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