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LINCOLN — Nebraska’s football team absorbed a 17-0 whipping from Indiana here Saturday, but in defeat there was a bit of hope for the future.
Coach Bo McMillin’s Hoosiers were vastly superior to Coach Bernie Masterson’s Huskers in this last game of the 12-year series.
But at the same time the Huskers looked better than last year; at least you could see where they might become better with more games under their belts.
It really shouldn’t have been a shut-out. But for a series of bad breaks the Huskers would have had a touchdown.
The end of the first half found Nebraska with a first down on the Indiana two-yard line, after a couple of successful passes gained 70 yards.
But time ran out before the Huskers could run another play.
As it was, the two pass receivers might have gone into the end zone except for losing balance while making the catches.
First Del Wiegand tossed to Cletus Fischer for 39 yards, and the St. Edward midget stumbled as he reached the 15-yard line.
After a deep reverse lost 15 yards, the Huskers clicked through the air again.
This time Jim Myers threw, and Ralph Damkroger caught. The big end from De Witt took the ball away from two Hoosier defenders, but lost his balance and sprawled on the two-yard line.
The clock showed a few seconds to play when he got to his feet, but this year’s rules prevent a time out in the final minute unless a player is hurt.
And at that moment the Indiana margin was only 7-0.
The first-half touchdown had been made on a short plunge by 210-pound Harry Jagade after three minutes of the second quarter.
And it stayed 7-0 until 13 minutes into the last half. Some great line-backing by Tom Novak and Bob Costello repulsed Indiana’s bid for a third-period touchdown.
Finally, on fourth down, Rex Grossman kicked a difficult-angle field goal from the nine-yard line to make it 10-0.
That’s the way the score remained until the game had five minutes left. Then a second touchdown came on one of the eight out of 25 passes Indiana completed.
Dei Russell found Joe Bartkiewicz open, made an easy throw and it was a 30-yard scoring play.
Previously George Taliaferro had been rushed so much that most his passes were far wide of the mark.
In fact, that’s where the Huskers showed real promise. Ends Carl Samuelson and Jack Pesek were rushing in on the Hoosier throwers all afternoon.
They forced the passers to get off hurried pitches, thus prevented the short Husker backs from having passes completed the way some fans had feared.
Another bright spot was the full-time offensive play of Del Wiegand as T-formation quarter.
The former B-team player from Kearney, who moved up with the injury of Dick Thompson, was on the field every minute that Nebraska had the ball. He rested when the team went on defense.
Wiegand mixed his plays well, handled the ball nicely, and hit his receivers with passes. His showing eased the quarterback picture for future games.
Dick Hutton’s effectiveness was cut down by a leg injury, so Fischer was the top running threat.
Cletus cut loose for 17 yards in the first quarter, and a few minutes later broke loose around right end with Game Captain Gene Wilkins supplying a timely block.
Fischer side-stepped a couple of would be tacklers, then cut back toward the other side of the field, and was brought down only after gaining 30 yards.
Right after this spurt, Wiegand pitched a bulls-eye pass to Bill Moomey, but he let it trickle out of his hands deep in Indiana territory.
Hutton’s top run was a 37-yard return of an intercepted pass. The ball bounced high off the fingers of Lou Mihajlovich, and came down within Hutton’s reach.
The Auburn flash, forgetting his sore leg, streaked down the east sidelines, exhibited a neat change of pace, and finally was dropped on the Hoosier 23-yard line.
But Mihajlovich got quick revenge. Two plays later he intercepted Wiegand’s pass to choke off the Husker threat.
The Huskers tried a wide spread formation several times, but it didn’t work.
You could sort of sense, however, that the Huskers are going to be rugged opponents for November Big Six foes, if not for Minnesota next Saturday and Notre Dame two weeks after that.
Nebraska is 8-10 all-time against Indiana.
|Iowa State||Oct. 11|
|Notre Dame||Oct. 18|
|Kansas State||Oct. 25|
|Oregon State||Nov. 29|
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