Nebraska 13
Indiana 9

Oct. 17, 1936 • Memorial Stadium, Lincoln

Passes Bring Pair of Late Touchdowns

These pictures show both Nebraska touchdowns against Indiana Saturday, both of the scores being made on passes. The top picture is the first score, a flip from Howell to McDonald. That made the score 9 to 6, Indiana. The Howell-to-Douglas flip which made the score 12 to 9, Nebraska, is shown below. Note the cheer leader about to spring into action. By Langevin/World-Herald Staff Photographer

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 17—At the end of the first half, the reckoning was Indiana 9, Nebraska 0, which to the overwhelming majority of the 32 thousand assembled seemed to answer with depressing finality the question of how much the Cornhuskers left on the fiercely contested play yard at Minneapolis last week.

The answer seemed to be: The Cornhuskers left about everything but their bones and hides and the battle-gear that covered them.

At the end of the game, the score read Nebraska 13, Indiana 9, and this posed another query, which to this onlooker’s notion has only been partly answered: where did the Cornhuskers get all the big stuff they hurled and boomed at the Hoosiers during the final 30 minutes, to the Hoosiers’ utter undoing and confoundment?

The Line Dissolves

There they were throughout the first two periods, pushed and shoved around by Colonel Bo McMillin’s sinister-garbed, wayward pupils.

The boys of the line, who twice held Minnesota for downs with the goal in arm’s reach of any of the up-front enemy, did even worse than just let the Indianans nudge them out of the way. They appeared to dissolve. There was nothing more substantial about them than those tricks movies that show grandpa’s ghost coming back to haunt the erring sprig.

Within nine minutes of the inaugural kickoff the Hoosiers had themselves three points, achieved by Center George Miller’s place kick from the 15-yard line after a dashing, plunging and passing offensive that had begun 76 yards downfield, nine yards from the Nebraska goal.

Hoosier Toss Scores

They added six to this modest total four and a half minutes after the start of the second interval. Quarterback Vernon Huffman passed 26 yards to End Nelson Beasley, who made the catch 10 paces from counting territory and took those 10 paces without serious challenge.

Miller’s attempt to kick the extra point was blocked by Lester McDonald, but those nine points looked bigger than a new dealer’s promise.

The only detrimental thing that could be said about the guest players during that first half hour was that they should have made more points than they did.

Huffman Dazzles

They practically monopolized the ball. They went roaring and tearing up and down the field, largely as a supporting company for this Huffman boy who had been billed by the Indiana advance man as a great shakes of a plunger, a “Deadeye Dick” at pitching the ball, and a veritable siege gun at kicking it.

Mast Huffman was all of this, and more. Not only did he, with the eager and expert assistance of his forwards and backfield blockers, punch and batter the Scarlet line for the lengthy yardage usually made by the boys who specialize in nimbleness and speed, but he showed a considerable amount of nimbleness and speed himself.

Door Left Open

He sprinted blithely around the ends that the Minnesotans, save Matheny for a brief interval, had found too emphatic and too puzzling. He knifed outside the tackles and continued deep into the secondary.

Oh, the Cornhuskers were doing some tackling all right, but usually only after Master Huffman or his willing assistants, G.L. Fowler and Harry Cherry, had bashed or sped their way to first downs.

The Huskers’ famed pass defense also was somewhere that was not doing the Huskers any good. Colonel McMillin saw four of seven flips made good during that opening half, one of them for six points, the others for gains that ate greedily into the Nebraskans’ domain. The Huskers were less responsible for making three bobbles than the boys on the side that threw them.

A Dismal Gathering

Yea, lads and ladies, they were a dismal congregation, the vast preponderance of those 32 thousand who jammed the stadium tiers and bleachers, when the Huskers dragged to their dressing room. Doubtless they sought solace in the smart, kadetish maneuverings of the harmoniously tooting Cornhusker band. That seemed about the only thing to which the customers could anchor their battered, bleeding spirits.

From Indiana’s viewpoint, Get Hot Quick’s musicians probably muffed one themselves. When that second half was over they should have gone marching from the arena loudly pumping, “The World’s Turned Upside Down,” the tune to which, if memory serves, the beaten Lord Cornwallis marched his redcoats and mercenaries out of Yorktown.

Rough on McMillin

His Lordship never suffered any worse than Old Praying Colonel McMillin suffered this day. First his boys had the game, then they had nothing but a licking and a sample of the sort of doings that held the Golden Vikings scoreless for almost 59 minutes.

First his boys roamed and raced where they willed, then they were held captives, almost helpless, by the same guys, save one, whom they had used so inconsiderately and humiliatingly for the first 30 minutes.

Maybe in the identity of this one exception there lies a large portion of the explanation of the Cornhuskers’ double comeback. Double comeback it was indeed, for they came back from the terrific contest of last Saturday, and came from behind, to triumph.

A Sudden Change

The metamorphosis was apparent right after Miller made the kickoff that started the third period. Lined up down there on the browning lawn was the same Cornhusker company that had fared so dismally during the opening minutes—the same except at one position. Sam’l Francis, his ailing ankle taped, was at fullback in place of Sophomore Bill Callihan, who had relieved Ron Douglas at that position when Dana Bible removed Harris Andrews from left halfback, sending Douglas there.

Samuel charged up field 28 yards with Miller’s kick, which he had fielded on his three-yard line. From that point he, Lloyd Cardwell, Douglas and Johnny Howell ran the ends, split the black rampart at the tackles and blasted its middle for gain after gain. Laterals were tossed so often that it appeared as if there were two balls in play. On and on, toward the Hoosier goal, the battle zone advanced, behind a red line that wrecked the somber primary defenders.

Foes Stopped Cold

Sam’l pass out of bounds beyond the goal line form the Hoosier 25 checked the offensive but momentarily. Indiana’s gaining was practically over, and the Indianans discovered this sad fact forthwith. In three downs, they who for a half hour had shoved Brock and Shirey, and Doyle and McGinnis and Dohrmann and McDonald rudely aside made exactly nothing, and Huffman had to punt. The ball bisected the western sideline.

From midfield the Huskers began again. Johnny Howell took a lateral from Francis and skipped around left end for 21 yards. A couple of punches at the middle, and then on an end-around, Les McDonald charged outside Left Tackle Livingston for 13 more. A touchdown was 11 yards ahead.

McDonald Counts

Cardwell skirted right end for four and then Howell passed to McDonald. Lester waited in the end zone, made the catch without contest. Sam’l kicked goal and the customers kicked up with almost hysterical abandon.

The winning touchdown, the manufacture of which began late in the same period, also was made on a forward throw, thus making unanimous the touchdown technique for the day.

The Wild Hoss cantered upfield 12 yards with Huffman’s punt. Guard Bill Delio pulled him down on the Husker 41. Again laterals began to cross and recross. Again Sam’l lowered his head and rammed, and the Wild Hoss cantered. The biggest advance was pretty much Sam’l’s work.

Another Score!

He rode over Tackle Captain Dal Sasso and charged 23 yards and when the Hoosier secondary finally captured him the counting stripe was only that much farther away. Cardwell made it four yards closer with a whang at left tackle, and then the quarter was over.

To start the closing act, the Hoosier middle held Francis to no gain. Then Cardie skipped around left end for a first down nine yards out. In three rushes Sam’l made seven yards.

Fourth down. Again Johnny Howell threw. This time Ron Douglas waited in the end zone, and like McDonald he made the catch undisturbed. This time Sam’l’s placement was low, but no one seemed to care about that. Almost everyone was too busy speculating on just how responsible was Sam’l’s insertion for this change from passive resistance to unstoppable power and craft.

Where Credit Due

To my notion Sam’l must get a generous consignment of credit, but I’m also inclined to give a goodly share of it to a little bald party who did nothing but say words, between halves.

I’m told he said plenty in a gentle, kindly voice, and that never once did he depart from the purest, most polite English. But the effect, I’m told, was almost magical, even there in the dressing room. They were a different passel of kids after Dana Bible had said what he said.

They were as different as the score at the end of the first half and the score at the end of the game.

They were as different as the record of first downs, which gave Indiana 12 in the first half, Nebraska two, and Nebraska 13 in the second half and Indiana three.

They were as different as the figures on yardage gained. These read: First half: Indiana 226, Nebraska 51; second half: Nebraska 178, Indiana 67.

Practically all the Hoosiers’ late gains came on four passes. Old Colonel McMillin had them pitching desperately at the finish. But the finish presented Huskers in the lead roles. Cardwell intercepted Huffman’s long heave, thrown from deep in his own precinct, and lateralled to Johnny Howell. Johnny was pulled down on his own 35-yard line as the pistol popped.


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Series history

Nebraska is 8-10 all-time against Indiana.

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1936 season (7-2)

Iowa State Oct. 3
Minnesota Oct. 10
Indiana Oct. 17
Oklahoma Oct. 24
Missouri Oct. 31
Kansas Nov. 7
Pittsburgh Nov. 14
Kansas State Nov. 21
Oregon State Nov. 28

This day in history

Nebraska has played 16 games on Oct. 17. See them all »

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