Nebraska 24
Kansas State 0

Oct. 7, 1961 • Memorial Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas

Huskers Shuck Defensive Shell; Ross Scores Three in 24-0 Rout

Willie Ross scoots to the first of his three touchdowns. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Cornhuskers roared out of their defensive shells Saturday and smacked Kansas State, 24-0.

Exerting pressure from the opening kick-off, Nebraska crushed the Wildcats in much more decisive fashion than the one-sided sore would indicate.

This was in sharp contrast to the monotonous waiting strategy which had mired the Scarlet in a 14-14 tie with Arizona the preceding week.

More than a thousand Nebraska fans, one of the largest Cornhusker pilgrimages to Manhattan in recent years – whooped it up as the Huskers took early command with a 10-point first quarter that signaled the rout.

The Nebraska cheering drowned out the disappointed K-State faithful who saw early their victory spree of two-game dimensions was doomed.

The band day turnout of 19 thousand was below predicted capacity. But, it was the largest Manhattan crowd in nearly a decade and the best K-State turnout for Nebraska in history.

Nebraska’s crushing superiority over the badly outweighed Wildcats is logged in the statistics.

Until Bill Jennings swept the bench with his third unit midway in the last quarter, the Kansas State offense had been held to less than 40 yards.

Three times – twice in the early minutes and once in the final quarter –terrific defensive plays forced K-State fumbles that set the stage for two touchdowns and a field goal.

This aggressive charging by the Nebraska line sent such a powerful Scarlet wave through the Manhattan forward wall K-State passers spent most of the afternoon running for their lives.

Larry Corrigan, whose keeper plays and passing fired the Wildcats to victory over Indiana and Air Academy, was thrown for 32 yards net loss in 12 attempts to run or pass. His mates were tossed back for 45 yards more.

Although they tried frantically most of the afternoon the ‘Cats could get off only five passes. A 12-yarder was the only completion.

While all he Huskers were having fun defensively, they continued t show little in the sustained drive department.

But, there was sufficient attack to keep Nebraska in command, particularly in the third quarter when K-State was trying desperately to take advantage of a 16-to-20-mile-per-hour breeze.

It was in this third period that Willie Ross, the fleet-foot from Helene, Ark., got the second of the three touchdowns which stamped him one of the high scorers in the Nebraska-Kansas State series.

Willie, a whirling dervish at time and a scared jackrabbit on other occasions, raced 54 yards for this tally.

Toss sprinted toward the K-State right flank behind deadly blocking, turned the corner and scooted for the end zone before the K-Staters knew what was coming.

This was the clincher.

Earlier Willie swept from the one for the tally which sent the Huskers into high gear. His 17-yard sprint after cracking the middle in the fourth period was the insurance touchdown.

Until Ross had boosted the score to 24-0 Kansas State never mustered a serious threat.

In the last four minutes against a Nebraska combination of largely third stringers, Wildcat Fullback Bill Gallagher ran 38 yards to the Nebraska 46.

The spurt which started from the ‘Cat 15 got to the Nebraska 16 after Jennings had returned his first troops.

End Larry Tomlinson spilled Spencer Puls to apply the brakes on the belated rally, then Ed Mitchell bumped passer Corrigan to force a pass incompletion on a fourth-and-two situation one play before the game ended.

Puls, a Holdrege, Neb., sophomore, who had shown well in the two Wildcat wins, was the goat of the play which had K-State in a hole almost before the sound of the referee’s opening whistle had died.

This was the first scrimmage after Joe Searles had returned Archie Cobb’s kickoff 21 to the ‘Cat 23.

The Nebraska delegation let out a mighty cheer as the Scarlet line from end to end rolled the ‘Cat wall into the laps of the secondary.

It was the answer for which the Huskers faithful had been waiting and set the afternoon tempo.

The Husker middle pressured Quarterback Corrigan, forcing a hurried pitch-out to Puls.

Two husky Scarlet linemen lowered the boom on the 153-pound ex-Holdrege High star. When the ball squirted to the ground, Dallas Dyer, Nebraska guard, covered on the K-State 23.

As against Arizona a week earlier, the initial drive at Manhattan never got off the ground.

This time the Huskers salvaged three points when Ron Meade, with the favoring breeze, booted a 41-yard field goal.

There was 2:43 played when Meade hoisted the three-pointer.

In less than five minutes Nebraska hustled across its first touchdown. Again it was a K-State bobble that triggered the score.

Halfback Searles made the bobble four plays after Cobb’s second kick-off.

Again Nebraska’s gang rushing paid dividends.

Tri-captain Mick Tingelhoff, a Lexington teammate of Dyer, recovered on the K-State 24.

Thunder Thornton improved over his Arizona dimout, got the big bite, an eight-yarder. Rudy Johnson earned a first down on the one and Ross swept the K-State right flank to score standing up on the next call.

Nebraska forced the play in K-State territory the remainder of the first half but couldn’t improve the 10-0 count.

The Wildcats got credit for the only big thrill of the second quarter.

This was a long pass by Corrigan to Puls, who ran far past the slow-reacting Nebraska secondary.

All that saved the Huskers was that the pitch was a wee bit too far and rolled off Spence’s finger tips before he sprawled on the turf.

Any second-half idea the Wildcats may have had toward getting within reach of victory was squelched less than two minutes after the third quarter whistle.

Ross returned the kick-off to the Husker 21, Thornton ground out 20 on the first play and Rudy Johnson poured through for five more.

This was the signal for the Huskers to spring Ross on the 54-yard touchdown jaunt. Willie traveled the route with ease and grace.

Early in the fourth quarter Thornton set up the third U.N. touchdown with recovery of Glenn Isernhagen’s boo-boo on the K-State 17.

Willie swept for the tally on the first try.

Meade, whose early placement had kept alive the series tradition for field goals, made it a perfect day by booting a third conversion.

The win kept Nebraska (2-0-1) unbeaten and gives the Huskers a winning start in the Big Eight chase.

The Cornhuskers now lead 35-9-2 in the series. This is the first time the Scarlet has won two in a row from the ‘Cats in 10 years.

Injured Halfback Dennis Stuewe was the only Cornhusker traveler who didn’t see action. A last minute switch replaced Gene Ward, Glenwood, Ia., back who is also hurt, with sophomore Fullback Gene Young.


More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 78-15 all-time against Kansas State.

See all games »

1961 season (3-6-1)

North Dakota Sept. 23
Arizona Sept. 30
Kansas State Oct. 7
Syracuse Oct. 14
Oklahoma State Oct. 21
Missouri Oct. 28
Kansas Nov. 4
Iowa State Nov. 11
Colorado Nov. 18
Oklahoma Nov. 25

This day in history

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