That ref 101 years ago obviously blew the call

2012-10-25T14:39:00Z 2012-10-25T16:09:05Z That ref 101 years ago obviously blew the callBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON
October 25, 2012 2:39 pm  • 

In reading this, you might feel a little bit like you're stuck in that scene in "Dead Poet's Society," with Robin Williams whispering "Carpe Diem" into your ear.

We're talking about a football game where the participants have long passed on -- a football game from 101 years ago. That's the last and only time the University of Michigan has visited Nebraska to play a football game.

For all that has changed over the passing years, a look back at the Lincoln Star's accounts of that game remind that certain things remain a constant.

Writers and fans still questioned the refs back then and teams that dominated statistically did not always win the day.

This game, played on Nov. 25, 1911 -- Nebraska's first homecoming -- ended in a 6-6 tie, thanks to a late field goal from NU's Cub Potter, which "saved the Cornhuskers an unmerited defeat."

It ended a tie despite Nebraska holding a 302-124 yardage advantage and gaining 22 first downs to Michigan's 7.

"We outplayed Michigan in every department of the game in my opinion," Husker coach Jumbo Stiehm told the Lincoln Star after the game.

"Nebraska played just the sort of game I expected while we were below form," said Michigan's famed coach Fielding Yost, who had previously been the head man in Lincoln in 1898.

TheStar described the game as "one of the greatest gridiron battles ever seen in the west."

"In football history the score will stand six to six and may perhaps in the years to come suggest a most even balanced struggle, but in the minds of the 8,000 spectators who saw the game there is but one opinion and that is that Nebraska should have won," wrote the Star. "The view is not merely held by Nebraska enthusiasts, but way down in the hearts of the hundreds of Michigan rotters and alumni and even the Wolverine players themselves it is known to be true."

There was controversy, too!

"At the end of the first quarter Nebraska was denied a touchdown that so far as effort was concerned, was legitimately earned," the newspaper explained.

But an umpire had apparently called time before the ball was put in play. Granted, reports said the whistle was not heard by players, with the play carrying through to its finish.

Comment from referee Ted Stewart: "The play was all right, worked beautifully, but Hinkey had showed me his watch and it indicated that the quarter was up and a little to spare and I had no option. ... It was hard luck. I wouldn't have had it happen for anything, but I had to do my duty and that's the way it came out."

No, the 2009 Big 12 Championship wasn't the first time the ref's decision about the clock got the best Nebraska.

But if Nebraska-Michigan tie left some onlookers unsettled, they could surely find satisfaction that the Wolverines would someday wander through Lincoln again.


Someday has finally come.

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Steven M. Sipple

Steven M. Sipple

Steven is the Husker sports columnist for the Lincoln Journal Star.

Brian Christopherson

Brian Christopherson

Brian is the Husker football beat writer for the Lincoln Journal Star.

Brian Rosenthal

Brian Rosenthal

Brian Rosenthal is the Husker men's basketball beat reporter for the Lincoln Journal star.

Brent C. Wagner

Brent C. Wagner

Brent is the Husker volleyball and women's basketball beat reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star.