Memorial Stadium, Lincoln — The Cornhuskers spotted Minnesota 14 points in the first half Saturday. Then they suddenly came to life and turned what threatened to be a rout into a good ball game.
The Golden Gophers whipped the Nebraskans by 28-13. But 35 thousand sweltering fans were treated to some aerial fireworks which at one time cut the Minnesota margin to 14-13.
Del Wiegand, 168-pound quarterback from Kearney, and Ralph Damkroger, 211-pound end from DeWitt, teamed for both of Nebraska’s scoring plays.
And both of them were very nifty maneuvers, indeed.
When the second half opened, Nebraska hadn’t made a first down, and fans had seen nothing to indicate that any were going to be made.
But it was a different team which coach Bernie Masterson sent out after intermission.
The Husker move goalward was started when Bill Mueller, Omaha halfback, scampered 15 yards with a punt to the Gopher 45-yard line.
And the Huskers didn’t give up the ball until they had gone that 45 yards for a score.
Wiegand hit Bob Ackerman, Sidney mite, for a 10-yard pass gain which carried to the 20.
Then Del completely fooled the Gophers with a quick jump-pass, thrown from right behind the line of scrimmage.
Damkroger crossed over from his wing station and made a fine catch, falling to the ground only seven yards from the goal.
Believing that a good trick deserves a second trial, Del tried another jump pass. This one failed, but Del wasn’t through yet.
On the next play he faked a pass to his left, then shot a bullet throw to Damkroger, who had broken into the clear in the end zone.
And before that third period was over, the suddenly assertive Husker had set the stage for another score.
Charley Toogood, who played a whale of a game at tackle, broke through to block Harry Elliott’s punt, with Don Sailors and Eugene Sim along to help.
In the scramble, Sim came out on top of the ball on the Minnesota 19-yard line, jst as the quarter ended.
It took three plays at the start of the fourth period to net a touchdown.
Wiegand teased the Gophers by sending Ackerman and Mueller into the line for two plays that gained five yards.
Then he brought out his jump-pass specialty again. This time Damkroger made a one-handed catch while on the dead run. He caught the ball just before reaching the end zone.
When Bob Costello added the point it was a 14-13 game, and would have been 14-14 tie but for a penalty.
That penalty had come on Costello’s extra point kick after the first touchdown. He booted it between the uprights, but the Huskers were holding and had to try again with the ball on the 17. This kick was wide.
The Gophers, as was to be expected, really went to work after their margin was cut to a single point.
They returned the next kick off almost to midfield, then marched 53 yards in a dozen plays for the clinching touchdown.
That made it 21-13, and the Huskers still had some fight left.
Wiegand threw a long forward pass to Alex Cochrane for 36 yards, to the Gopher 35-yard line. But center Warren Beson, one of the Gopher stalwarts, came to the rescue.
He intercepted the next Wiegand throw, tossed a lateral to Harry Elliott, and the Gophers had the ball in midfield.
Elliott then broke loose, running 35 yards. He was tackled from behind by Bill Moomey. The Husker line was stubborn, but Don Johnson finally plunged the last foot for the fourth touchdown.
An offside penalty on the Gophers erased the game’s longest run. Everett Faunce took a lateral and cut back neatly for a 68-yard dash which was wasted.
The opening half scores for Minnesota were made by Billy Bye on a 1-yard plunge after seven minutes of play, and by an H. Elliott-Bill Thiele pass for 17 yards early in the second period.
But it’s best to forget about Nebraska’s showing in the first half. It was listless and dull, and the wonder is that Minnesota didn’t make more than 14 points.
By the second half awakening, the Huskers wound up with a net gain of 121 yards to 366 for Minnesota.
Wiegand, in addition to throwing the touchdown flips, handled things nicely as the key man in the T-formation attack. It will be tough for Dick Thompson to get his regular job back.
Nebraska is 25-33 all-time against Minnesota.
|Iowa State||Oct. 11|
|Notre Dame||Oct. 18|
|Kansas State||Oct. 25|
|Oregon State||Nov. 29|
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