#12 Nebraska 13
Oklahoma 0

Nov. 2, 1940 • Owen Field, Norman, Okla.

Huskers Subdue Sooners with Power, Passes, 13 to 0

Anti-over pass brings Cornhuskers' first touchdown, when Allen Zikmund catches Harry Hopp's aerial after Sooner Jack Jacobs bats ball into air ... Zikmund dragged Martin across goal, Jacobs failed in chase. AP Newswire

The inspired, primitive zeal of the Sooners fell inadequate by an even greater margin than the score of 0 to 13 against them indicates.

True, they ruined two of the most spectacular goalward drives ever powered by a Cornhusker lineup. These came early in this critical struggle of the Big Six campaign, when the Cornhuskers were backed a highly helpful wind from the south.

But 20 minutes later, when the wind was their ally, these desperately valiant Oklahomans surrendered the first six points, and six points would have been enough to decide the outcome.

Rohrig Completes Six

Twenty seconds were left in the opening half when the Nebraskans made their first touchdown. It came swiftly and surprisingly-emphatically so because of their double failure in the first quarter when the important wind was on their side.

In the first quarter Herman Rohrig threw seven passes. A sensational total of six were completed. In two series these perfect pitches carried the battle line almost against the Sooners’ goal. The first drive ended when Tackle Howard Teeter blocked Vike Francis’ attempted placement on the Sooner nine. The second failed when Wayne Blue was smothered by a surging white wall that repulsed his fourth-down plunge for a desperately-needed yard and gave Oklahoma possession on its five, just before the gun signalled the change of goals that put the wind behind the Sooners.

Two Stops-Delirium

At least 31 thousand among the more than 33 thousand who jammed the low-sloping stands roared and bellowed and shrilled.

The Huskers had been handled-and they know they had been handled.

The spirit of the greatest throng ever to watch an athletic event in Oklahoma reached a delirium-pitch when Halfback Jack Jacobs twice made fabulous kicks. The first rolled dead on Nebraska’a two, after being propelled 68 yards by the cinnamon-faced Creek’s skill and power, and his ally the wind. The second covered 75 yards, 11 of which were nullified by Rohrig’s run after he had raced back to retrieve the ball from his own 11.

Hopp Begins to Go

Although Jacobs’ passing and Johnny Martin’s plunging and Orville Mathews’ running were stifled by the tremendous Husker defense after both difficult quick-kick produced intervals, the throng maintained its exultant spirit. To the throng it seemed only a question of time for while the Huskers had stopped the Sooners, the Sooners had also stopped the Huskers when the wind was the Huskers’ helper.

Now the wind was the Huskers’ enemy, and now Harry Hopp began to go.

He began suddenly in company with the No. 2 lineup, late in the second period. He and his mates began on their own 20.

Then to Zikmund

Ten running plays put the ball 30 yards from the Sooners’ goal. Seven times Hopp smashed, usually through the tackles, and these seven times netted 36 yards. Allen Zikmund and Wayne Blue spelled him with two plunges and a reverse on which the Ord blonde shot outside left tackle for six.

Thirty yards from the Sooners’ goal-but only 20 seconds were left. The Sooner band waited on the sideline, ready to start its recess marching.

Hopp didn’t run again. He threw one of the two passes he pitched all day. He pitched far ahead, to Zikmund. Into the bright sunshine leaped Jacobs, the Sooners’ safety. His upstretched fingers touched the ball. They tipped it into Zikmund’s hands seven yards from the goal. Zikmund turned and lunged. Martin dived for his heels. Zikmund pulled Martin across.

Then Wind Triumphs

Then the wind triumphed briefly. The wind, remember, was Oklahoma’s ally for this period. The wind blew Hopp’s place kick wide, and the score stayed at six, and the half ended.

Six would have been enough. Six remained throughout the third quarter and the wind again was with the Oklahomans but couldn’t render adequate assistance against the seldom-erring, seldom-yielding combinations of redshirts.

Jacobs’ last play in that third quarter was another quick kick, and it was another boomer. The ball traveled 67 yards. It hit the turf eight yards from the Huskers’ goal. But it didn’t stay there.

Shield Forms for Butch

Butch Luther picked it up, and as a wave of Sooners rushed down upon him he edged obliquely toward the opposite sideline, almost the field’s width away. While he ran on this slanting course mates formed a blocking shield ahead of him. They rent the white-shirted wave, and with their help and his own agility, the Butcher ran and dodged 52 yards, to the Oklahomans’ 39. There Jacobs, the kicker, downed him as the period ended.

Francis began the last 15 minutes by blasting the weary enemy rampant and pounding 15 yards. Then Rohrig bounced around right end for eight more, to which Vike added four and a first down on the 12 by another fierce ramming.

The Huskers didn’t take to the air, despite almost uniform success which is reflected in the statistics as “passes attempted nine, passes attempted seven.”

Meier Makes First Down

Vike and Hermie advanced the battle line to the five, but they required three downs to do it. Nearly four yards ahead were six more points. A placement would have been as good as a touchdown, but the kids ignored that- and doubtless properly.

Fourth down and nearly four to go! Vike took Freddy Meier’s snap-back and charged ahead. As he reached the line he passed the ball slightly backward to his left. There this same snapperback Meier waited-but only until he has fielded the toss. Then he rammed ahead-not to a touchdown, but to a first down on the one.

Only one more down was needed. Vike exploded himself through the left guard. Rohrig made his placekick good, and, with 12 minutes left, it was 13 to 0. When the Sooners owned the ball during the time remaining, they tried as they had tried from the very beginning, against Husker No. 1 and No. 2 lineups-they tried to gain by passing.

Jacobs Throws, and Throws

Twenty-five times during the tireless afternoon the tireless Jacobs threw. Only seven times did he connect, and on some of these the gains were piffling. He was harassed almost constantly by the mercilessly rushing Freddy Preston and Ray Prochaska and Eddie Schwartzkopf. His receivers were covered almost as tight as those hermetically sealed coffee tins. The figures reflect how tight.

But passing was about all the 60-minute laboring Jacobs could do. He couldn’t run. Nor could his mates, with anything like profitable consistency. Johnny Martin’s plunges never menaced. There was too much Forest Behm and King Kong Kahler and Vic Schleich and George Abel and Ralph Whitehead. Those Husker forwards were magnificent. And probably the grandest of them all, probably the mightiest man on the field was this ever-present, never-erring Alfson, who must have had a deadly hand in more than half the tackles, and cleared the way on many a running play.

Defense Only Glory

The speedy Mathews broke loose a couple of times, once when the game was new, for 44 yards. But this was a rarity. The Sooners lacked what was necessary to make such performances pay. How badly they lacked it, another glance at the statistics will show. Against Nebraska, the Sooners offense just wasn’t.

Their glory came from their first quarter defense that stifled any cashing-in on Rohrig’s prodigious passing. Mighty at guard was Harold Lahar. Competent at tackle were Roger Eason and Teeter. But across the line they found their masters this day, both in the Red primary wall and behind it.


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1940 season (8-2)

Minnesota Oct. 5
Indiana Oct. 12
Kansas Oct. 19
Missouri Oct. 26
Oklahoma Nov. 2
Iowa Nov. 9
Pittsburgh Nov. 16
Iowa State Nov. 23
Kansas State Nov. 30
Stanford Jan. 1

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