#14 Oklahoma 14
Nebraska 0

Oct. 22, 1938 • Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma

Sooners' Greatest Team Humbles Huskers, 14 to 0


A whole mess of Sooners stopped Callihan short of the goal on this play, an eight-yard gain which put the ball on the two-yard line. It was part of the Huskers' one big drive in the second period. ELDON LANGEVIN/THE WORLD-HERALD


Biff's Team Falls Apart as Bid Fails

McCullough Gets Both Oklahoma Tallies Through the Line

NORMAN, Okla. — For the third time in 18 meetings, the Sooners this afternoon outscored the Cornhuskers.

The visitors, in fact, did all the point-making. They made 14.

In 1924, a Sooner team succeeded by 14 to 7; in 1930 a successor eleven inspired by two slight youths name Bus Mills and Guy Warren raced to 20 points while the Nebraskans were making 7.

In suffering those setbacks, though, the Cornhuskers were merely defeated.

Huskers Nearly Helpless

For most of three periods in this day's engagement, the Cornhuskers were shoved around. They were mauled. They were outsped, both mentally and muscularly. They were, in short, about as near helpless as a team can be and still remain in the contest.

All this ignominy and embarrassment the Cornhuskers suffered at the hands of what Oklahomans are confident is the greatest of all teams ever to represent Soonerland. It is more than a team. It is a squad of at least two and a half teams, efficiently poised and balanced by veterans and helped along no end by capable and confident sophomores.

Thirty Thousand Watch

Nearly 30 thousand, the largest gathering ever to witness a sports event in this state, maybe the largest ever to look upon an Oklahoma event of any kind, even those cracker-and-cheese feats of Alfalfa Will Murray in the days of his ascendancy, saw the pupils whom Thomas Stidham inherited from Major Jones at the time he inherited the head coachship score in seven minutes and 50 seconds the touchdown that started them toward their eighth consecutive victory, and upped the odds that already had made them favorites to become the Big Six champions.

They saw the young men, whom Major Jones hopes on some indefinite day to chivvy into the high places, present in the second period a passing attack that carried them within a yard of a touchdown and then pfutted.

Failure, Then Collapse

The Failure seemed to undo them. Never, after a second-not-so-promising try that followed immediately upon the first, did they threaten.

Even their vim and enthusiasm seemed to diminish under the stormy strife waged by the kids Tom Stidham kept chasing between bench and field. Major Jones also tried fresh hands often. They grew stale rapidly, most of them, and their efforts as a lineup continued wobbly and timid and confused.

There were flashes of individual brilliance as the Huskers took the beating that removed them from contendership on the earliest date since the organization of the Big Six. But there were dimmed by the all-for-one and one-for-all tactics of the lads on the other side.

March of 38 Yards

The play of a vicious-striking, slippery, swift succession of backs behind a beautifully co-ordinated line that was constantly superior at the tackles and ends comprised a poser that was definitely beyond the Huskers' talents.

After the kickoff, Hugh McCullough punted just once with the brisk north breeze that sent the temperature into the low sixties.

Hugh McCullough sent the ball riding a gust nearly 60 yards into the end zone. Harry Hopp punted back. Howdy McCarty fielded the ball while on the lam and scampered 12 yards before he was downed 38 yards from the pay line.

McCullough Goes Over

McCullough pitched short passes that were caught behind the line, first by McCarty, who ran four yards, then by Bill Jennings, a hasty sophomore halfback, who skittered through the Huskers' dazed right side to the 17. From there the Sooners just bent and busted the Huskers' primary defense until from two yards out, McCullough exploded himself through right guard, and received payment.

Raphael Boudreau, who has foozled only one placement in going on three season, kicked true and it was seven for the home team. Then, until they changed goals, the Sooners rooted and raced around in the enemy domain. The enemy was helpless.

Jones Boys Threaten

With the wind on their side, the Jones Boys began working for an even reckoning as soon as the second quarter began. The wind grounded McCullough's punt out of bounds on the Nebraskans' 41.

Then Hopp threw short to German Herman Rohrig, who zig-zagged through almost all the Sooner team — all but Halfback Gene Corrotto. Gene grabbed one of German Herman's feet and dumped him on the Sooner 26. German Herman had got himself ahead 35 yards by dint of some baffling sidestepping, which among other things caused Master McCullough to miss foolishly.

Again Hopp faded back as if to pitch. Instead, he scampered around right end and measured off 16 more yards. That spelled a first down on the 10.

Ball Changes Hands

Rohrig spun for a couple of yards, Bill Callihan nabbed a short pass for three more and then once more Rohrig fielded a pitch. But Halfback Bob Seymour stopped him on the one, and the ball changed hands on downs.

Minutes later, the Huskers, still under the guidance and inspiration of Hopp, smote and threw their way to the 11, but there Bill Callihan just missed picking a throw off his shoetops and again it was Oklahoma's ball on downs.

And after that, save for flurries that meant nothing, it was Oklahoma's ball game, through the scoreless third quarter and through the fourth, which produced seven points which were unnecessary but which did make the total look more impressive.

Not Often Enough

Two or three times in the third period, the Jones Boys did brace. They stopped those devastating cutbacks and reverses at the scrimmage line, and even behind it. But they didn't do so often enough. The Sooners managed very handily to keep themselves out of trouble.

With the wind on their side again, the Sooners finished off climatically. McCullough quick-kicked into the end zone. The Huskers scrimmaged from their 20. McCarty pranced back 21 yards with Bus Knight's reciprocal boot. He was only 34 yards away when the Huskers gang-tackled him.

Jennings hurried the point-making process by skirting right end and pushing his way through the befuddled redshirts for 18 yards.

McCullough Again

Seventeen more to go. A penalty for too many times out reduced the distance to 12. McCullough stabbed and rammed over the rest of it, going across from the three through a hole blasted by Earl Crowder. Again Boudreau did his specialty.

The figures were 14 to 0, and though minutes remained during which the Huskers looked increasingly baffled and weary, the figures stayed that way.

Sooner linemen made the overwhelming majority of their team's tackles.

Charley Brock and Will Callihan brought down Sooner ball luggers no less than three-fourths of the time.

Huskers Don't Savvy

The Husker linesmen as a group simply don't savvy. There were flashes of able play up front from end to end, but the heavy duty, offensively and defensively, fell upon the secondary. In the secondary, several kids did far more than their share. Add to Callihan and Brock the names of Hopp, Rohrig, Bus Knight and Jack Dodd.

Swift and clever and hard-smashing are the Sooner backs. Those whose names have formed a part of this narrative deserve high credit.

But in my book, even more credit must be entered to the accounts of Ends Waddy Young and John Shirk, Tackles Cactus Face Duggan, Harold Lahar and Justin Bowers and Guard Ralph Stevenson.

Duggan suffered a face injury in the second quarter. Lahar, who spelled him, is a burly sophomore who has learned astonishingly quickly. Sophomore Center Clifton Speegle also played a fine defensive game.

A grand line is the Sooners' great asset — a line that is mostly veteran, and hence knows the answers.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)


Series history

Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.

See all games »


1938 season (3-5-1)

Minnesota Oct. 1
Iowa State Oct. 8
Indiana Oct. 15
Oklahoma Oct. 22
Missouri Oct. 29
Kansas Nov. 5
Pittsburgh Nov. 12
Iowa Nov. 19
Kansas State Nov. 24

This day in history

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