Nebraska 14
Minnesota 9

Oct. 2, 1937
Memorial Stadium | Lincoln, NE
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Minnesota 6 0 0 3 9
Nebraska 0 7 0 7 14
1st quarter
MIN - Vic Spadaccini 15 pass from Andy Uram (kick failed)
2nd quarter
NEB - John Howell 4 run (Lowell English kick)
4th quarter
MIN - Horace Bell 33 field goal
NEB - Bill Callihan 20 pass from Harris Andrews (English kick)

                            MIN     NEB
First downs ................ 10       4*
Net yards rushing ......... 137      17
Passing yards .............. 60      50
  Comp-Att-Int ......... 5-16-6   3-5-0
Total offense ............. 197      67
Punting average ............ 42      37
Interception return yds ..... 0      40
Kick return yardage ....... 111       0
Yards penalized .......... 3-25     1-5
Fumbles-Lost .............. 3-2     3-0

Attendance: 36,000

*Some sources, including the wire service
stories of the day, list nine first downs
for Minnesota and two for Nebraska.

Callihan TD for the win
WINNING PLAY: Bill Callihan snags Harris Andrews’ pass over the middle | Video

   Minnesota                  Nebraska
Dwight Reed ....... LE ... John Richardson
Bob Johnson ....... LT ... Fred Shirey
Horace Bell ....... LG ... Bob Mehring
John Kulbitski ....  C ... Charley Brock
Francis Twedell ... RG ... Lowell English
Lou Midler ........ RT ... Ted Doyle
Ray King (C) ...... RE ... Elmer Dohrmann
Vic Spadaccini .... QB ... John Howell (C)
Andy Uram ......... LH ... Harris Andrews
Rudy Gmitro ....... RH ... Jack Dodd
Larry Buhler ...... FB ... Eldon McIllravy

Minnesota substitutions
Ends: Mariucci, Fitch, Nash; Tackles: Hoel,
Kilbourne, Pedersen, Ohlgren; Guards: Weld,
Schultz, Rork; Center: Elmer; Quarterback:
Faust; Halfbacks: Moore, Matheny, Van
Every; Fullback: Christiansen.

Nebraska substitutions
Ends: Amen, Grimm; Tackles: Mills, 
Schwartzkopf; Guards: Pfeiff, Peters; 
Center: Ramey; Quarterbacks: Andreson,
Porter; Halfbacks: Mathers, Plock;
Fullbacks: Callihan, Morris.

Referee: Fred Gardner, Cornell; Umpire: 
H.G. Hedges, Dartmouth; Field judge: Ira
Carrithers, Illinois; Head linesman: Sec
Taylor, Wichita.

Eldon McIllravy
DEFENSE: NU’s Eldon McIllravy, right, moves in to help corral Harold Van Every



Harris Andrews, ldon McIllravy
ON THE RUN: Harris Andrews (21) carries behind Eldon McIllravy (25)


Recap & links


It was an upset that “rocked the gridiron world,” as the Associated Press put it. “Astonishing,” the wire service added in its game dispatch.


Minnesota, on a quest for a fourth consecutive mythical national championship, met its match on an 82-degree October afternoon in Lincoln. Playing tough and opportunistic football, the Cornhuskers stunned the Gophers, 14-9, in the Nebraska coaching debut of Maj. Lawrence McCeney “Biff” Jones.

Minnesota ran up a three-to-one advantage in yardage, but Nebraska kept the Gophers out of the end zone for the final 55 minutes and cashed in on two key turnovers.


Nothing about the game’s opening minutes portended trouble for the visitors. Minnesota marched 63 yards in 4½ minutes for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead. That, however, would be the last of the easy going for the Gophers. Jones changed the Huskers’ defensive alignment, moving tackle Fred Shirey off the line and into an extra linebacker position. On offense, Nebraska played it cautious and frequently punted before fourth down.


Early in the second quarter, one of those punts paid off in a big way. Gopher safety Bill Matheny coughed up the ball on a hit by Husker end Lloyd Grimm, and center Charley Brock recovered on the Minnesota 24. Quarterback John Howell connected with Grimm for a key first down at the 13. Facing fourth and a foot moments later at the Minnesota 4, Howell followed the blocking of Brock and guard Lowell English into the end zone. After English’s conversion kick, Nebraska led 7-6.


To the delight and amazement of the frenzied home crowd, that’s how the score stood through the second and third quarters, but the third period ended with the Gophers deep in NU territory. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Horace Bell’s field goal from the 23 put Minnesota back on top, 9-7.

Dreams of a Nebraska upset faded as NU’s next possession went nowhere, but again it was a punt that changed the Huskers’ fortunes. Minnesota’s Harold Van Avery fumbled the Nebraska kick, and Husker fullback Bill Callihan recovered at the Minnesota 40.


Straight to the air went the Cornhuskers. First came a 20-yard strike from Harris Andrews to Elmer Dohrmann, then an incompletion, and then the clincher: Andrews dropped back to the 35 — 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage — and fired a deep pass over the middle. Callihan caught the ball in stride behind a leaping Gopher defender at the 10 and scooted into the end zone untouched. With English’s PAT kick, it was NU 14, Minnesota 9.

As the game clock ticked down, Minnesota desperately went to the airways, but Andrews twice picked off Gopher aerials to end Minnesota’s threats. The second interception came with 5 seconds left, and Lincoln erupted in revelry that would last all night long.



ELDON McILLRAVY, NU’s starting fullback, was in critical condition after suffering a fractured skull. He recovered but would never play football again. Minnesota’s Rudy Gmitro was carried from the field on a stretcher after the same play but was back in action the next week against Indiana.

COACH JONES praised QB John Howell, the game captain, for his “faultless” generalship. “We had just two scoring chances and Howell took complete advantage of both.”


HOWELL’S PUNTING also drew rave reviews from the coach. A primary goal was to prevent any big returns by Andy Uram, whose long runback in the final minute gave Minnesota a 7-0 win over Nebraska in 1936.


BILL CALLIHAN might have been America’s most famous second-string fullback after the game. Not only did he score the winning TD, but he was also identified as the Husker delivering a big hit in an eye-catching Associated Press photo that got prominent play in a number of newspapers (and a few weeks later in Life magazine). However, the player in the photo was probably Jack Dodd, as the caption in the Omaha World-Herald indicated.

THE TURNING POINT, Jones said, came “when we took a punt on our own three-yard line and made a triple lateral that got the ball out to the 20. From that point our boys took an extra hitch in their belts, rolled up their sleeves and went to work.”

IT WAS THE OPENER for Nebraska, but the Gophers had a tune-up a week earlier, winning 69-7 against North Dakota State. The point total was Minnesota’s highest in 21 years.

NEBRASKA FINISHED 11th and the Gophers fifth in the final AP rankings. The Huskers had two ties but just one loss, a 13-7 defeat at Pittsburgh, which finished No. 1.

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