Oklahoma 31
Nebraska 12

Dec. 2, 1944

Sooners wear Big 6 crown after victory over Huskers

Tom Meason, a freshman substitute, plows across from nine yards out for first of three Oklahoma second-quarter touchdowns. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Club Repeats as King, 31-12

Nebraska Kids Tough in Second Half

Taft Stadium, Oklahoma City, Okla. — Oklahoma won its second consecutive clear-cut Big Six football championship and ran its undefeated string in the conference to 13 games Saturday by stopping Nebraska, 31-12, before a slim crowd of 3,500 fans who shivered in cold, cloudy weather.

The young Husker pupils of Coach Adolph Lewandowski concluded their season by some sparkling play in the second half, after they had been held without a first down while Coach Dewey (Snorter) Luster’s champions rolled up a 25-0 lead at half-time.

Actually, the Huskers won the second half, by two touchdowns to one, and they came awfully close to scoring a third.

But in the first half the Sooners were simply too good.

They charged hard, and they piled up Husker plays before they started. They presented a diversified attack off the single wing formation, mixing passes nicely with sweeps, off-tackle smashes and reverses.

The statistics give an idea of how well the Huskers came to life after the intermission. Whether Coach Lew gave them an inspirational talk and fed them some extra chunks of dextrose we don’t know, but something caused them to make a great comeback.

At the end of the half the Lincoln kids had no first downs and a net loss of 11 yards. At the end of the game they had eight first downs and a gain of 92 yards by rushing and 78 yards by passing.

And when they changed from a six-man line on defense to a five-man wall, with Keith Doyle, Junior Collopy and Fred Lorenz backing up, they did right well in the last half.

In fact, the Sooners had a total rushing gain of 119 yards at the half but only 108 at the finish, so well did the Huskers get through and tackle back of the line.

Before telling how Oklahoma made its 31 points, let’s look at how the Huskers made their 12, and almost 18 or 19.

After the Sooners had boosted their total to 31 early in the third quarter, big Kenneth (Buzz) Hollins suddenly came tearing through the line on a quick-opening play, and started bowling over Sooner secondary defenders. He started from the Nebraska 30-yard line, and stopped on the Sooner 25 — an advance of 45 yards.

It was the team’s first first down, and the signal for more fireworks. This drive was stalled momentarily when Sooner Center Bob Mayfield intercepted one of Bill Betz’ passes, but Nebraska came right back.

This time, hard-running Joe Kessler was the hero. He ran 11 yards to the 33-yard line, then rammed for two more. Then came the scoring play from the 31-yard line.

Betz was almost smothered as he went back to pass, but shook ‘em off and waited until Kessler had broken into the clear. Then he threw — and Joe caught the ball on about the 15-yard line. He went on for a score without being touched.

In the fourth period, the Huskers made a 60-yard scoring march on five plays. Collopy plunged for only a yard, then Bill Perdew brought his passing arm into action.

He threw to Jack Bryant for 14 yards, then to Chuck Knight for 18 to the 27-yard line. On the next play, Knight got into the clear on a reverse, but stumbled and fell on the 2-yard line. Collopy plunged over on his try.

In the last five minutes the Nebraskans made another march of 42 yards, with Betz passing to Bryant for 15 yards and the longest gain. But the Sooners stiffened and took the ball on downs on the 4-yard line.

Here’s how the Sooners got their 31 points before the Huskers got into the ball game.

First quarter — Derald Lebow ran for consistent gains, finally scoring from the two.

Second quarter — Three touchdowns were scored in this 15 minutes. Freshman Tommy Meason, Lebow’s understudy, ran nine yards for the first as guard Thurman Tigart threw a good block on Collopy.

Then Homer Sparkman sneaked over guard and cut back 20 yards to score. Meason passed to Dub Wooten twice, first for 37 yards, then 13 yards into the end zone, for the next points.

Third quarter — Lebow passed 31 yards to end Merie Dinkins for the final Sooner points.

Then the Huskers went to work, too late to do anything about winning the game, but not too late to give them the satisfaction of finishing the year with a lot of enthusiasm and never-give-up spirit.

More coverage

World-Herald post-game coverage (PDF)

Series history

Nebraska is 38-45 all-time against Oklahoma.

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1944 season (2-6)

Minnesota Sept. 30
Indiana Oct. 14
Kansas Oct. 21
Missouri Oct. 28
Iowa Nov. 4
Iowa State Nov. 11
Kansas State Nov. 25
Oklahoma Dec. 2

This day in history

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