The distance: 50 yards
The star: A.E. "Big" Yont
The date: Nov. 30, 1893
The outcome: Huskers 20, Iowa 18
The story: How long have the neighbors wanted to whip one another? You have to move a few branches down on that family tree. Go back to 1891. That’s when this started.
That’s the first time Nebraska and Iowa met on a football field. Nebraska's football program was in just its second year of existence and Iowa showed the Huskers (before they were the Huskers) how it was done, ripping them 22-0 in that first meeting.
But the next year, things had evened out, the sides playing to a 10-10 tie. And by Thanksgiving Day 1893, there was a good level of anticipation when Iowa showed up to take on Nebraska at a park in Omaha.
It was a bitterly cold day, “ a near blizzard” according to the old Omaha newspaperman Frederick Ware. Because of the elements, only about 1,000 fans were there.
George Flippin, Nebraska’s first African-American player, was one of the day’s stars. Ware wrote that Flippin gave “an almost superhuman exhibition of plunging. Roughly used not only by the bitter cold but by his rivals he plowed and rammed to the finish while blood froze on his body and uniform.”
Nebraska never trailed but never grabbed a comfortable lead, either.
It was 14-12 Nebraska when A.E. “Big” Yont made the biggest play of the game, breaking free late for a 50-yard touchdown that put the team on the verge of the biggest victory for the program to that point.
When the whistle blew, the onlookers rushed to carry Yont and teammate W. Harry Oury off the field.
The party was on. Well, as much partying as can be done when the revelers have to catch a Missouri Pacific train back home.
“There was altogether too much frigidity connected with the atmosphere last night to permit the university boys to celebrate as they would have liked to have done,” wrote the Nebraska State Journal.
“But they recognized the good work of their team by gathering in groups and discharging a few vocal rockets and ornamental linguistic set pieces that informed a good part of the town of the catastrophe that had befallen their friends from the Hawkeye state.”
Ah, boys will boys. Let them have their ornamental linguistic set pieces.