Owen Field, Norman, Okla., Oct. 20—The great timeclock on the tower that stands at the end of the playing field said 7 minutes to play.
The score board said: “Nebraska 0, Oklahoma 0.”
Welterweight Back Delmer Steinbock retreated eight, 10, a dozen paces, almost to his goal line. Drooping, spent, the gallant Cassius Gentry had just left the game at his own request and on Delmar Steinbock’s thin shoulders fell the task of punting. Throughout the afternoon the punts of Gentry, the great tackle, had kept the Cornhuskers out of deep Sooner territory , save for a single onslaught that ended in failure.
Pflum Blocks Kick
Delmar Steinbock kicked. Forward leaped, big Walter Pflum over the dragging, weary Sooner line. Forward and upward he leaped, the ball boomed against his chest, caromed into the arms of Samuel Francis.
Samuel Francis’ long legs strode four, five paces toward the Oklahoma goal. Desperate kids in the sopping, dirty white shirts swarmed over him, pulled him down with the payoff line 25 yards away.
But six thrusts at the line and the Cornhuskers had a touchdown. Samuel Francis made it.
The scoreboard read: “Nebraska 6, Oklahoma 0,” for on the try for place-kick, Chief Bauer fumbled Frank Meier’s snapback.
Sooner Passes Futile
The big time clock said five minutes to play.
Thus it ended, for the exhausted Sooners’ attempts at passing were crazy things, the products of realization that all their brave warring was destined to be in vain.
Thus it ended, the game that until this afternoon appeared likely to decide the championship of the Big Six. News of a new threat that the Cornhuskers must face next Saturday in Memorial stadium came ticking over the wires in the fourth period, when the sound and fury here on Owen field still had failed to produce a score. This was the news: “Iowa State 31, Iowa 6.”
Only a Good Start
So today’s victory for Nebraska is only a successful start in defense of laurels five times held, and today’s defeat for Oklahoma does not by any means crush Oklahoma’s hopes.
Ever since last spring when Lewie Hardage gathered his veterans and newly promoted frosh around him for prevacation birching, both Lewie Hardage and his pupils labored toward a single dominant goal. This was the goal: “Beat Nebraska.”
Throughout the spring, and again after the autumn call was sounded, that phrase was their slogan, their source of inspiration. In their zeal they became almost fanatical. Almost forgotten were the two foes who preceded the Nebraskans on their schedule. They managed to subdue Centenary, by a single touchdown, but last week Texas trampled them.
Pointed for Huskers
They bounded right back up, no whit discouraged or dismayed. It is said that rather than disclose their most prized strategy to the Nebraska scout in the stands at Dallas, they accepted their spanking and grinned.
“Next Saturday,” they probably cried. “Next Saturday comes the game that counts—Nebraska.”
Nebraska has come and gone. Nebraska has conquered. But for at least half of the afternoon’s belatedly begun exercises the possibility of triumph by the northerners must have been only a hope that slowly but steadily faded and grew weaker in the bosoms of some two hundred voluntary Cornhusker expatriates who foregathered here. Meanwhile some 15 thousand homelanders whooped and yelled and screamed for the touchdown which it seemed the Oklahomans, sooner or later, inevitably must make.
Sooners Turn Ends
Neither team really threatened during the first 15 minutes, but promise was all on the side of the high keyed Boomer boys. Little Steinbock, aided and abetted by a trio not much larger than he, a trio named Robison, Robertson and Poynor, caused the Bible class no end of worry by continually sweeping the ends. They didn’t profit because of the alertness of the Scarlet secondary, but the secondary couldn’t come up fast enough to prevent advances which ever threatened.
The defending champs, meanwhile, couldn’t go at all. Captain-for-a-Day Skewes came out second best in a punting duel with the great Gentry who, though ill all fall, did more than any of his mates to keep the reckoning even for 50 torturing minutes, then was forced to request that he be withdrawn.
Gentry Can Punt ‘Em
Mr. Skewes had to punt, because neither he nor his classmates could carry the ball in the direction they desired and Mr. Gentry, despite the willingness of his skittering, zipping little helpers, was able to make more yardage with his one expert foot than any of them could make with both of theirs. One time he swung against the ball so prodigiously that it carried almost 80 yards on the fly.
But even so, despite this not unexpected Sooner assertiveness, neither team really threatened until late in the second period. Then Oklahoma exploded. Then Dr. Hardage’s young students put together end runs and passes that carried them deeper, deeper into enemy precincts. Almost 45 yards they advanced on and over the ground, Robertson and Steinbock running and ramming, Steinbock pitching to Coker and Robertson. Almost 48 yards—and 48 full yards would have been enough. Then on third down, with a half yard between them and the six points for which they had schemed and planned for more than that, many months, Bo Hewes, understudy to Rob Robinson, fumbled, and as he fumbled the pistol cracked the end of the half.
That Finished Sooners
Oklahoma was through. Despite its valiant stands in the third quarter, Oklahoma was finished. Throughout both scenes of the last act the Sooners, save for sporadic flurries, were on the defensive.
It was they, not the Huskers, who seemed to wilt in the heavy, steamy air, under a sun which hiked the thermometers only to 74 but burned with August zeal on the kids who pushed and shoved each other over the browning Bermuda play yard.
Right after the second half kickoff, the Huskers, who doubtless had been impressed by Colonel Bible’s eloquence during recess, began their first big push. They started on their own 40, and with Chief Bauer mixing passes to Joe Toman, Lloyd Cardwell and Bernie Scherer with running plays that had himself, Cardwell and Skewes carrying, they swept down field to the Sooners’ five-yard stripe. There on fourth down, with two to go, Bauer threw into the end zone. Robinson batted the ball to earth, and Oklahoma took possession on a touchback.
Huskers Go Places
Oklahoma was through going places, however, and the Huskers went about the job of running yardage that got them nowhere mainly because of penalties and bobbles. But they did stay on the offensive. They did keep the ball most of the time. They whetted themselves for that final onslaught which began when Walter Pflum thrust his chest into the path of little Delmar Steinbock’s punt, and caromed the ball into Samuel Francis’ big hands. There was no fooling this time. Good fortune rode with determination.
The Touchdown Parade
Cardwell pounded off right end for nine yards. Francis bulled through left guard for four. He repeated for two more. Carwell again, this time for seven, around the right flank. Samuel got the three feet necessary for a first down, a yard from counting territory.
Once more Samuel lowered his head and rammed. It was enough.