Cornhusker Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb. — Athos, the fine and brave, wounded as he led the charge; Porthos and Aramis with seven warriors picked for their valor, battling with steely courage but unable to gain advantage; foemen worthy of the most subtle strategy known to warfare, heightened by confidence that they would eventually triumph ... two armies that fight stubbornly, toe to toe, gradually exhausting each other, but unable to advance. Then d’Artagnan flashes his sword and rides like the wind. The adversary crumbles ... the day is won!
Roland Locke, of North Platte, flashed into his own on the gridiron Thursday as twenty-one thousand of his own people looked on, and marveled; achieved his great triumph at the season’s very end, as he astounded a tack world last spring by flying to the Missouri Valley sprint championships against the finest field ever assembled, and in the last meeting.
Roland Locke — he had the support of Edwin Weir, the courageous captain and one of the greatest tackles the game has ever known until that captain was helped from the field, wounded as he headed the attack; he had the support of an entire team worthy of such a captain — but it is no exaggeration to write that Roland Locke, with speed probably never before attained on the football field, with headwork that excelled even the momentum of his clean muscles, defeated the Oregon Aggies in the closing moments of a combat that had been waged against the Cornhuskers at the opening and for many minutes thereafter.
Until the “break” that came in the third quarter, it was Nebraska that sought to stave off cruel onslaughts, to just hold. Mandery’s cross buck for sixteen yards turned defenders into chargers. Locke was prominent in the rally that became increasingly potent during the remainder of the period. Into the fourth the Cornhuskers carried their successive advantages, inspired, determined. Locke triumphed at the climax by running through a broken field thirty-four yards to the Oregon twenty-two-yard line, where Edwards, Aggie safety man, tackled him on the sideline. Bloodgood smashed through for four yards. Locke ran the end for six more. Bloodgood, running from a punt formation added seven yards. Then Locke darted around left end for the first touchdown. Mandery kicked goal.
But a few moments later Locke hurled a thrilling pass to Bloodgood, who was at the goal line. Mandery kicked goal.
Locke proved his qualifications as a triple threat man. He passed, he sped; he wasn’t called to kick, but his booting ability is admitted.
For two periods the team from the northwest outplayed the Cornhuskers. The throng — it was almost entirely a Nebraska throng that huddled in the windswept stadium—became dismal. At the very opening kickoff the blue clad team took the offensive and carried the play into Nebraska territory. A “set-up,” some of the wiseacres and propagandists had called this eleven, but these “set-ups” flung into the fray the greatest line that has functioned on Nebraska field this season, a line that gave in places only after the repeated batterings of desperate Nebraska forwards and the mighty John Rhodes and Bloodgood, the arrow.
In the first period the Aggies made two first downs and Nebraska made none. Hammer, hammer, hammer, they drove into Nebraska territory. Then Edwin Weir charged. He ripped through—usually alone—and dropped the ball luggers at the crucial times. Edwin Weir made almost half the tackles until he sank to the field early in the third period, injured — unable to walk.
The second quarter was little better than the first, Nebraska fighting fiercely, was unable to sore a first down. The Aggies drove into enemy territory, and there again, at the crucial times, Edwin Weir saved the day.
At the end of the half Oregon had made three first downs; the Cornhuskers had been unable to penetrate the “setups’” line consistently enough to make one.
Nebraska had gained an aggregate of but thirty-two yards. In the opening quarter Nebraska gained eight yards and lost fourteen.
The Cornhuskers opened the third period desperate and resolute, made so by the fierce onslaught of Edwards, Roykin and Schulmerich, the Corvallis backs.
Joe Weir kicked off forty-seven yards to Schulmerich. He returned to the Aggie twenty-three-yard line. Tebb kicked out of bounds on the Nebraska thirty-two-yard line. Mandery and Rhodes made small gains through line, but Bloodgood was forced to kick. He sent the ball thirty-seven yards to the Aggie twenty-four-yard line. There was no return.
Hutchinson broke through and threw Schulmerich for a four-yard loss. That was the start of the puncturing business. Before then Ed Weir, almost alone, with “Hutch” chiming in now and then, had been able to crash past the first defense. After this the Huskers from end to end, including the “kids,” generally held on the defense and ripped holes on the charges.
Tebb kicked out of bounds on the Oregon forty-nine-yard line. Locke failed to gain on an end run, and then the ball was given “Big Ed” Weir on a tackle around play. He charged terrifically, as he always charges. There was a pile of humanity. Weir was at the bottom. When the tacklers arose, Weir lay still. The leg that has bothered him so many weeks had given way. He was helped from the field, while the stands thundered his name.
Scholz went in. Spurred by the injury to their captain in his last game as leader, the Scarlet tightened even more. Following an Aggie fumble, Tebb punted to the Nebraska twenty-one yard line. Locke made a yard, almost his first gain. In the opening moments he had been “gang tackled” with a vengeance. Aggie players admitted they had been told to watch him. Then on a cross buck Avard Mandery gained sixteen yards and the first first down for the Huskers. This was the turning point, the time when fortune cast her lot.
On the next play Locke, as if to deny all the carpers who called him a speedster but nothing more, smashed the heavy Aggie left side, ripped clear through, stiff armed a secondary defense man and dashed forty-three yards. He was forced out of bounds on the Aggie twenty-one-yard line. Rhodes and Bloodgood made short gains. Then Burnham was injured, and Dover, a recruit of the season went in for his baptism. Dover became a unit with a line that had found itself, that seemed to be trying to carry on without its captain.
Rhodes went two yards on a split buck. Locke tried a pass to Bloodgood. It was incomplete in the end zone, and the Oregonians took possession on their twenty-yard line. Tebb, Aggie end, who is called back to boot, punted to the Nebraska forty-three yard line. Nebraska drew a penalty for holding that put the ball on the Scarlet’s twenty-three yard line. Schulmerich intercepted a pass from Locke on Nebraska’s thirty-eight yard line. There Hutchinson downed him. The Aggies, after two fruitless attempts at the line tried a place kick at forty-five yards to the Nebraska eighteen yard line, Bloodgood and Rhodes drilled the line for ten yards and a first down.
Nebraska was accelerating its attack as the quarter ended, but a brace at the start of the fourth forced Bloodgood to punt. The kick went fifty-five yards, Edward returning a yard to the Aggie eleven yard line. The Husker forwards, led by the redoubtable “Hutch” induced Tebb to kick. The ball was dead on the Cornhusker forty-four yard line.
On the first play Locke skirted the Aggie right end, confused a pair of secondary guardsmen by a wonderful change of pace, and set out to make a dash record in grid togs. Edwards, the safety man loomed ominously ahead. Locke was running near the sideline. He threw out a stiff arm. Edwards caught it on the chin, as he jerked back, but he threw out his own arms and nailed the pile-driving member. Locke went down after a thirty-four yard gain that put the ball on the Oregon twenty-two yard line. Bloodgood hit center for four yards and Locke showed he could batter, too, by adding six more in the same manner. Bloodgood made seven yards from punt formation. On the next play Locke received the ball and skirted end to complete the touchdown march he had started and almost alone had carried through.
Avard Mandery kicked goal to add the point.
Rhodes returned the Aggie kickoff thirty-five yards to the middle of the field. Locke made a short gain, and then Bloodgood went into the Locke business and accumulated thirty-three yards off tackle. After short gains Bloodgood fumbled a pass from center. He had intended to try a drop-kick.
The Aggies became discouraged when Joe Weir, Hutchinson and Hubka threw them for losses on every attempt through the line. Tebb had to kick, and under compulsion didn’t do well. Locke go the ball in midfield. There Locke fumbled a pass from center. Andres, Aggie guard, recovered. Garber, substituted fullback, hit center for a yard. Garber then essayed a pass and Locke grabbed it on Nebraska’s forty-four-yard line. Bloodgood fumbled, but Locke recovered for a two-yard loss. Bloodgood made three yards through center. Locked added six around end. Ho was again chased out of bounds. Rhodes hit tackle for eight yards and a first down.
Then the crowd had its collective spine tickled. Bloodgood hurled a pass. It was destined for Collins, but Tebb coveted it. Tebb cut in ahead of Collins, partly tripped him, but Collins lunged forward, reached through Tebb’s outstretched arms and caught the ball on the Aggie fourteen-yard line.
On the next play Locke hurled a bullet-like pass over the goal, into Bloodgood’s arms. The quarterback was almost isolated as he made the catch. A. Mandery kicked goal.
Nebraska got the ball soon after a kickoff to the Aggies and was in a fair way of scoring again as the gun sounded. The timekeeper raised his pistol as Bloodgood broke away on a run that netted twenty yards.
And this closed the 1924 Cornhusker season, this game that started so drably, and was early marred by many fumbles on the Nebraska side.
Nebraska functioned from the second half on, and during the remaining time made a dozen first downs. Locke was responsible for five. The Aggies made four.
The Cornhuskers made 278 yards, all but fifty in the last two quarters. The Aggie net gain totaled forty-six, the ball carriers being thrown for loss after loss in the closing quarter.
Schissler team was out-punted, out-passed, out-thought and out-lucked in the latter periods, but at the start and for long thereafter they were the favored eleven.
Schissler expected to find a hard foe; he expected to give a hard battle. He did. It was, from the spectators’ standpoint, probably the best game of the season played in Memorial stadium. Certainly none, not even the Missouri contest, which this one might be said to parallel, was harder fought.
Nebraska is 9-2 all-time against Oregon State.
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|Kansas State||Nov. 22|
|Oregon State||Nov. 27|
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