The lost spring games: 1930-39

Category: Football
Wayne Blue gains 10 yards for "Yale" in 1939.
Wayne Blue gains 10 yards for "Yale" in 1939.

We now know the first Nebraska football spring game probably occurred in 1922. But what about the subsequent years leading up to 1950, when the university’s official recognition of spring games begins?

Depending on one’s criteria, there were spring games in as many as 22 of the 28 seasons from 1922 to 1949.

Our year-by-year rundown started with the 1940s. Below are the ’30s, and the final installment will cover the ’20s. All games were played at Memorial Stadium unless noted otherwise.

Abbrev. key: LS = Lincoln Star  •  LJ = Lincoln Journal/Neb. State Journal  •  LJS = Lincoln Journal & Star  •  DN = Daily Nebraskan

1930s

YES

1930.04.05 (SAT): Red Young and Harold Frahm scored touchdowns as the Reds shut out the Blues, 12-0. (The State Journal referred to the teams as the Panthers and Bears.) Sportswriter Gregg McBride said the Huskers displayed “smooth working offense in spite of a stiff wind that blew away all hopes for aerial play.”  •  LS  •  LJ  •  DN


YES

1931.04.11 (SAT): All the scoring came in the fourth quarter as the Varsity downed the Freshmen, 14-6. The first touchdown came on a 60-yard interception return by Herman Witt, a Varsity substitute guard. Each team then had a short TD drive of about 20 yards — the Varsity’s set up by freshman George Sauer’s poor punt, and the Freshmen’s set up by Sauer’s 41-yard interception return.  •  LS  •  LJ  •  DN  •  Preview


YES

1932.04.08 (FRI): Ralph Eldridge scored on triple pass from 9 yards out for the only touchdown as the Whites beat the Reds, 7-0. The Reds’ Bernie Masterson and Steve Hokuf played the entire 60 minutes. Admission to the 4 p.m. game was 25 cents (10 cents for children), with proceeds going to the U.S. Olympic fund committee.  •  LS  •  LJ


YES

1933.04.08 (SAT): George Sauer scored two TDs and passed for a third in the Whites’ 22-0 win over the Reds. The game was played in unseasonable heat on the practice field at the south end of Memorial Stadium.  •  LJS  •  DN  •  Preview


YES

1934.04.12 (THU): A Blues team consisting largely of freshmen upset the Reds, 6-0, by bolting for 77 yards in the final half-minute of the first half. The touchdown came on a pass of about 40 yards from Henry Bauer to Lloyd Cardwell. According to the Daily Nebraskan, the Reds managed just three first downs.  •  LS  •  LJ  •  Preview


YES

1935.04.13 (SAT): The Reds came to life with a 60-yard touchdown drive in the final minute to beat the underdog Whites, 7-6. The winning sequence: A 20-yard pass from Jerry LaNoue to Elmer Dohrmann, a 39-yard run by Harold Brill, a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Ralph Eldridge and a PAT kick by LaNoue.  •  LJS  •  DN  •  Preview


YES

1936.04.04 (SAT): The Reds dominated, scoring six touchdowns in a three-way game with the Whites and Blues. Neither the World-Herald nor the Journal & Star gave a score, probably because of the rotation between Reds vs. Whites, Reds vs. Blues, and Whites vs. Blues. The Daily Nebraskan gave a score of Reds 44, Whites 0, even though some of those 44 points were given up by the Blues and/or scored by the Whites.


??

1937.04.17 (SAT): Is it a true spring game if fans can’t attend? A 60-yard touchdown gallop by John Howell was the highlight as the Reds hammered the Greens, 26-0, “behind closed gates” at Memorial Stadium. The Daily Nebraskan said first-year coach Biff Jones wanted an “unscouted” contest.


NO

1938: The scheduled game of Saturday, April 16, was canceled because of a swampy field. Players instead practiced inside East Stadium for two hours.


YES

1939.04.22 (SAT): Vike Francis’ 26-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter was the difference as the Harvards edged the Yales, 10-7. More than 2,000 fans attended.  •  LJS  •  DN  •  Preview