Purdue 28
Nebraska 0

Sept. 27, 1958 • Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana

Game NU Crushed by Massive Purdue

Nebraska's Larry Naviaux runs for a gain against Purdue. LAWRENCE ROBINSON/THE WORLD-HERALD

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Nebraska was a 28-0 victim of Purdue University but that score may be the most deceptive figure in the Husker football history book today.

A surprisingly large crowd of 42,914 saw Nebraska hold the Boilermaker horde to a 7-0 half-time edge Saturday, then give up three more touchdowns in the stretch as superior size, speed and depth combined with warm weather to take a heavy toll.

“We deserved a better fate,” declared Athletic Director Bill Orwig.

Only 24 Huskers Play

That the Huskers did, for their play was all that could be expected against this hulking foe.

Coach Bill Jennings called on 24 players, some of whom saw only several minutes of action.

Coach Jack Mollenkopf, meanwhile, was throwing 29 linemen and 16 backs at the weary visitors.

The Huskers wore themselves to a frazzle on defense and could muster only a single scoring threat.

It is eloquent tribute to their unflagging spirit that they were able to make the drive late in the fourth quarter.

Runback Chance Lost

The 64-yard sweep came after a tough break that might have been the last straw for a less determined squad. The kick-off following Purdue’s fourth score glanced off halfback Clay White’s leg and dribbled out of bounds on the Nebraska 17.

Fullback Dick McCashland’s 14-yard dash and quarterback Harry Tolly’s nine-yard pass to end Bill Bohanan helped put the ball on the Nebraska 46.

Tolly’s pass on the next play was incomplete but a Purdue offside moved Nebraska into enemy territory for the first time.

Back Come Starters

Tolly pitched to White, who added some fancy legwork to make it a 22-yard gain.

Again Tolly passed, this time to end Roland McDole for eight yards. With the ball on the 19, Mollenkopf rushed in his first team.

Gene Selawski, a 245-pound tackle, smeared Tolly for an eight-yard loss as the North Platte junior failed to find a receiver. McCashland got back four and Tolly hit Bohanan for four yards.

It was a beautiful play by Tolly, who got the ball away while being dragged to earth by guard Emory Turner. But the Huskers lacked two yards for a first down and Purdue took over.

Huskers Protect Goal

Nebraska was at its boot-tough best in throwing back Purdue efforts in the first two periods.

Purdue took the opening kick-off and blasted 63 yards without scoring.

Hard-driving Bob Jarus made it first and 10 on the 10-yard line on the fourteenth play of the series. Then Dick Kosier stopped halfback Clyde Washington for no gain, McDole and George Harshman held Washington to two yards and a smart play by Larry Naviaux limited big Joe Kulbacki to one yard.

With a fourth-and-seven situation, Purdue was forced to the air.

Pass Batted Down

Quarterback Bob Spoo flipped accurately to end Dick Brooks in the end zone but Harshman and McCashland broke it up.

A couple of minutes later, the No. 2 Boilermaker unit drove 43 yards to Nebraska’s eight but couldn’t get over.

Hard tackling forced Jim Redinger to fumble and McCashland covered on the five.

When Nebraska punted after five plays, little Jim Tiller raced 47 yards for an apparent touchdown. The partisan crowd choked on its cheers when officials called the ball back and soaked Purdue 15 yards for clipping.

Bohanan Clipped

The run was made possible when end Leonard Jardine clipped Nebraska’s Bohanan, who had Tiller pinned to the sideline stripe.

Backed to their own 40, the Purdue regulars then pounded 60 yards to score despite an excellent goal-line defense.

Duane Mongerson, who was a tremendous force in Nebraska’s line, and Don Fricke, a 181-pounder who must have amazed his opponents, were Husker ringleaders as Purdue needed three shots after reaching four.

Air Threat Stopped

Jarus barreled over his right tackle form less than a foot out for the touchdown. Spoo kicked the extra-point. Time elapsed in the second quarter was 6:12.

It was the big Ten team’s thirty-ninth play from scrimmage.

Nebraska was to flash an impressive aerial defense before the half ended as LeRoy Zentic and Fricke spoiled passes by Ross Fichtner to end one threat.

Jardine stole the ball form Tolly on the Nebraska 44 with 12 seconds to go. This time Mongerson and McCashland were the defensive Johnnies-on-the-spot.

Held Back of Own 42

Although the 7-0 margin at intermission indicated a tight game, the handwriting was on the wall, Nebraska had been outrushed, 196 yards to 31, and outdowned by 15-4.

Of 33 scrimmage plays the first half, Nebraska originated only eight. Two of those were kicks.

The Huskers had not been beyond their 42.

These were Purdue’s touchdown productions the second half as Nebraska tired steadily.

— Leonard Wilson’s sorties into the line highlighted a 54-yard march in the third quarter. Wilson rode the final three yards through a hole opened by Dan McGrew, a 236-pound center. Spoo’s kick was wide.

— Tom Barnett intercepted Max Martz’s pass and ran 25 yards to the Nebraska 24. Four plays later, burly. Jack Laraway smashed across from the three and Fichtner converted. Less than two minutes remained in the third.

— Fichtner downed Martz’s quick kick on the Purdue 37. Barnett led a surge to the 27. Fichtner tossed a John Crowl, 6-foot-2 end, for a touchdown and Tiller breezed around right end for a two-point bonus conversion.

Little Chance for Offense

Tiller, a 5-7, 153-pound sophomore from Fremont, was the speediest man in the game.

Nebraska expended too much energy on defense to be able to show much offensive zip.

Usually the Huskers got possession deep in their own territory. Twice, in fact, inside their 10.

Martz was the replacement at left half for Pat Fischer, the climax runner who was kept in Lincoln by the flu. The Beatrice junior carried eight times, gaining 23 yards and losing six.

Rushing Total Only 49

He was second high in net gain to McCashland, who picked up 28 yards in nine carries—and never was stopped for minus yardage.

Nebraska totaled only 49 yards on the ground compared with a whopping 354 for Purdue.

Had the Huskers not battled hard for 60 minutes, they could have been beaten by another five or six touchdowns.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 4-4 all-time against Purdue.

See all games »

1958 season (3-7)

Penn State Sept. 20
Purdue Sept. 27
Iowa State Oct. 4
Kansas State Oct. 11
Syracuse Oct. 18
Colorado Oct. 25
Missouri Nov. 1
Kansas Nov. 8
Pittsburgh Nov. 15
Oklahoma Nov. 22

This day in history

Nebraska has played 11 games on Sept. 27. See them all »

©2019 BH Media Group