Nebraska 13
Oklahoma 0

Oct. 10, 1931 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.

Sauer’s Long Runs Give Nebraska 13-0 Victory Over Oklahomans


The top picture is of George Henry Sauer away to a 23-yard gallop in the first quarter. He was pulled down this time but later went 47 and 70 yards, respectively, for the touchdowns that gave the Cornhuskers a 13-to-0 triumph.


Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 10—After three periods of misplaced July sunshine, bawling black clouds, pelting hail and football monkeyshines that were colorlessly even, George Henry Sauer made two long, uninterrupted journeys across the Oklahoma goal that gave the Cornhuskers their opening Big Six conference game Saturday afternoon, 13 to 0.

The fourth quarter had just begun when George Henry pried open the Sooner line at right guard, shook his hula hips at most of the secondary defense and began a prance in double-quick time that ended 47 yards from where he began. About 15 yards from counting territory waited Guy Warren, the spirited little Sooner safety. George Henry didn’t diminish speed. He just gave an extra flip of those hips that would be worth many an ermine coat to any chorus gal and little Guy lunged in vain, sprawling on the slippery turf. Bernie Masterson’s place kick for the extra point was good. The 10 thousand assembled tuned up extra loud for the first time, emptied the rain water out of their horns and blared “U-U-U-N-I,” with no regard for the Adam’s apples and the teams lined up for the kickoff.

Sooners Pass Desperately



Oklahoma received and began a desperate forward passing attack. The first sortie was squelched almost as soon as it began when Center Ely, playing in the form that made him the all-conference selection in 1930, rushed in ahead of the Sooner for whom Warren had intended his pitch and grappled it unto his own mud-smeared bosom. Sauer punted, and the Sooners immediately tried to bomb some more. Back Pete Maloney connected with Back Marvin Ellstrom’s eager hands for 40 yards and the Sooners were in Nebraska territory. It began to look as if a seven-point margin might not be enough.

Professor Adrian Lindsey chased in Fred Cherry, a young man who plays end and is said to have been born with glue on his fingers. Maybe Ellstrom’s pass which followed closely that 40-yard gain was intended for Cherry. Cherry never got it. George Henry followed the throw from the time it left Ellstrom’s desperate hands. He stopped its progress on the Huskers’ 30-yard line and without delay began his sprint for the Sooner goal, 70 yards to the northward. His course was never blocked. He was never challenged. He just kept running until Nebraska’s total had been boosted to 13 points. There it stayed, with about four minutes left to play, for big Bernie’s attempt to place kick the squashy ball for the extra point was low this time.

Sooners Repaid



Thus did Mr. Bible’s scholars, for three quarters of ardent warring that had been futile to both sides, repay the young men from the Redlands in kind for what happened down there just 364 days ago. Last year, small Mr. Warren and another youth named Buster Mills, who happily for the Huskers is now an alumnus, scored a 20-to-7 victory, the biggest margin inflicted on a Nebraska team by a conference foe in 40 years. Messrs. Warren and Mills did it by the same sort of long gallops that George Henry perpetrated.

Three quarters of the contest was waged between the 25-yard lines, and during this time the kind of activities that delight the customers were few and scattered. Dr. Bible’s lines, both the sophomore-reserve seven and the veterans, who were oblivious to costly happenings at Northwestern a week ago, smothered every Oklahoma attempt at plunging, cut down with the secondary’s help every sweep that was directed around the ends. The Sooners’ offense was choked. Often it petered away almost as soon as it started. Such was the case when Bill Pansce, of whom terrible tales filtered north in advance of the Sooners’ coming, tried to run with the ball. Bill went in at the start of the second period. He essayed a sprint around Bert Durkee’s end. Bert dropped him for a one-yard loss. Then he began as if to sweep the wing guarded by hard Harold Schmitt. Schmitty was emphatic in his tackling. The Pansce faded from the game, his efforts netting a loss of two yards.

Sooners Push One First Down



The Oklahomans made one first down by rushing. This came in the fourth period, with the seconds sliding rapidly by and the Huskers 13 points to the good.

All of the Nebraska ball luggers were able to pierce the Oklahoma defense with the goal well in the background. But until George Henry began to wander so commendably in the fourth period, the Nebraskans never added yards to yards when a touchdown seemed imminent.

The sun burned down with dog days vigor during the opening moments. It was 91 in the shade. The teams see-sawed for the first 15 minutes. The only unconventional happening was a 23-yard sprint by the slippery Sauer, which accomplished nothing but relief of the monotony.

Penalty Halts March



In the second quarter, with Marvin Paul in Kreizinger’s position, a short march advanced the ball well into the Sooner domain. But a 15-yard penalty that followed some blocking of the high school second team order rendered all this valueless and the first half ended in a scoreless tie.

While Get Hot Quick’s horn blowers were ripping out collegiate airs in midfield, the rain began to fall and the bass drummer scurried for shelter. So did the rest of the musicians when hail began to pepper down.

Roby’s Punting Superb



The last half began in a deluge of rain and hail. It was marked chiefly by the superb punting of John Roby, who replaced the Sauer boy for a spell, and by Sauer himself when, his neck and ears uselessly washed, he returned to the game late in the third period. Time after time Lightfoot John booted the ball 50 yards, over or past the Oklahoma safety player. One kick covered 63 yards, another 66. Just a few moments before he made his first gratifying gallop, Sauer kicked 79 yards. A high south wind in the first half aided first the Husker, then the Oklahoma kickers, but when the storm broke, the wind piffled out and the two Nebraskans had no natural aid at sending the slippery ball deep, deep into the enemy’s territory.

Nebraska—the whole squad—was a different team Saturday from that of one week ago. It cannot be said that the Sooners were so much weaker than the Wildcats of Northwestern. They are not as powerful, but they looked more finished, better drilled. The Cornhusker defense was awake. The offense, well, the offense can stand some more grinding, particularly at blocking.

But it should be said that the Sooner defense was good, too.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.

See all games »


1931 season (8-2)

South Dakota Sept. 26
Northwestern Oct. 3
Oklahoma Oct. 10
Kansas Oct. 24
Missouri Oct. 31
Iowa Nov. 7
Kansas State Nov. 14
Iowa State Nov. 21
Pittsburgh Nov. 26
Colorado State Dec. 5

This day in history

Nebraska has played 16 games on Oct. 10. See them all »

©2019 BH Media Group