Nebraskas first East Coast game was played on Election Day of 1920. Warren G. Harding and the Cornhuskers both emerged victorious.
In Nebraska's first-ever football game east of Michigan, the Cornhuskers shut out Rutgers while scoring by ground and by air in a 28-0 victory at the Polo Grounds in New York City.
Though the size of the visitors from the Midwest caught the attention of the New York press before the game, it was the Huskers quick-paced attack that got noticed once the opening whistle blew.
Nebraska held Rutgers to just one first down in the first half while building a 14-0 lead. A four-yard touchdown run by Harold Hartley on the first play of the second quarter opened the scoring, and Ernest Hubka hit Clarence Swanson with a 15-yard scoring pass later in the period.
After a stalemated third quarter, Vern Moores punt return of roughly 35 yards set up Nebraska on Rutgers 15 yard line in the fourth quarter, and Moore scored five plays later on a one-yard run to make the score 21-0.
Moore later intercepted a Francis Maloney pass on Rutgers 43 yard line. Several running plays, including an 18-yarder by Fred Thomsen, moved the ball to the 15. From there, Swanson got his second touchdown of the day, snaring a deflected pass from Thomsen and taking it into the end zone.
NOTES: The New York Evening Telegram was less than impressed with the Huskers, calling the game "weirdly played" and "full of fumbles, blocked kicks, intercepted forward passes and all sorts of wild and slipshod football."
Despite its glowing initial account of the game, the New York Times just two months later referred to the Huskers' performance as a doubtful showing that was contributing to the pressure to have Henry Schulte ousted as coach. (Fred Dawson would replace Schulte in March of 1921.)
Rutgers would finish the season 2-7.
Nebraska would play again four days later at Penn State, with an almost completely opposite result that came as predicted by the Evening Telegram.
N.Y. TIMES: 1
OMAHA WORLD-HERALD: 1
BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE
N.Y. EVENING TELEGRAM: 1
GAME PHOTOS: 1
ASBURY PARK PRESS (2014)
PREGAME PRESS: 1
| NU ROSTER
Nov. 2, 1920
Polo Grounds, New York City
Nebraska 0 14 0 14 -- 28
Rutgers 0 0 0 0 -- 0
NU - Harold Hartley 4 run (William Day kick)
NU - Clarence Swanson 18 pass from Ernest Hubka
NU - Vern Moore 1 run (Day kick)
NU - Clarence Swanson 15 pass from Fred Thomsen
First downs* 17 6
Passes Att.-comp 7-3 11-4
Yards penalized 59 20
Punts-Avg. 6-23.8 8-28
*Not including first downs by penalty
Stats were tabulated by newspapers and vary from source to source
Clarence Swanson ... LE ........ John Winner
John Pucelik ....... LT ........ Howard Raub
Wade Munn .......... LG ... August Lentz Jr.
William Day ........ C ...... Cornell Kahle
Monte Munn ......... RG .... Lawrence Sliker
Raymond Weller ..... RT ...... Brook Daisley
Leo Scherer ........ RE ..... Herbert Redmon
Richard Newman ..... QB .... Francis Maloney
Floyd Wright ....... LHB ........ A. Hilliard
Harold Hartley ..... RHB .... Garett Voorhees
Ernest Hubka ....... FB ........... Schaefer
NEBRASKA: Harry Howarth for Wright, Vern Moore for Howarth,
Farley Young for W. Mann, Herbert Dana for Hubka, Adolph
Wenke for Weller, Fred Thomsen for Hartley.
RUTGERS: William Kingman for Lentz, Mortimer Redmond for
Schaefer, William "Turk" Gardner for Hilliard, Harold
Augustine for Sliker.
Referee: Nat A. Tufts, Brown. Umpire: Walter Eckersall,
Chicago. Linesman R.W. "Tiny" Maxwell, Swarthmore.
Time of periods: 15 minutes each.