Weir Boots For Three
1925: Husker Victory, Hostilities Temporarily Ends Series
Nebraska Shocks ND 14-0
by Mark Fricke
September 05, 2000
Notre Dame's visit to Nebraska in 1925 was a landmark game for the Huskers for several reasons. The Nebraska win evened up the eleven game series between the two schools, and it also marked the end to the rivalry for many years.
Coach Knute Rockne's Irish squad was once again the envy of college football. Having won seven games, and tying one - five of those by shutout, the Irish were poised to claim the Western title. That is if they could dispatch a pesky Cornhusker squad.
Hopes were high as thousands of fans made the long train ride West for the game. By game time, 45,000 people crammed into a Memorial Stadium designed to hold only 38,000. To accommodate the demand, benches were installed along the sidelines and temporary bleachers were erected behind the end zones.
Despite their powerhouse status, Notre Dame knew they had their work cut out for them. Gone were the Four Horsemen. The Notre Dame hopes were left on the shoulders of a young squad of eager players. Nebraska, meanwhile, boasted several highly experienced players including All-American Ed Weir, Joe Westoupal and Choppy Rhodes. To make things tougher for Notre Dame, Rockne continued his practice of starting the game with his second string players. His plan was to keep the game tight long enough to wear down the opponent, then hit them with a fresh line of first teamers. Rockne's plan backfired early in the game.
Just four minutes after the opening gun sounded, Nebraska had registered the game's first score. After Nebraska's Weir pinned Notre Dame back to their own 4 yard line with a punt with a massive 58-yard punt, Notre Dame was unable to get the ball out of danger and quickly turned it back over to Nebraska with a poor punt that only went three yards. Two plays later Rhodes took the ball in for the score.
The Nebraska fans went crazy, rocking the overflowing stands. But the Husker fireworks weren't finished yet.
Later in the period, quarterback John Brown tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Avard Mandery. Suddenly the Huskers had a 14-0 lead on the mighty Notre Dame team.
As the second period started, Rockne sent his first team players, Henry O'Boyle, Gene Edwards, Tom Hearndon and Rex Enright into the backfield. His star players put up a heavy attack but managed only a failed drop kick attempt for any offensive punch. At halftime the 14-0 Husker lead stood.
In the second half, Nebraska stayed with their plan. Strong runs into the line continued to wear down even the freshest of Notre Dame players. Brown and Rhodes pounded away to move the Huskers down to the Irish 17-yard line where Weir place kicked a 25-yard attempt for three more points. The Memorial Stadium fans were sent further into hysteria.
The Nebraska defense stood tall for the rest of the game. At the final gun, the Huskers had upset Notre Dame 17-0 claiming just their 4th win of the season, but gaining their fifth win over Notre Dame.
The defeat was bitter for Notre Dame, and as a result, the events that followed the game burned even deeper. Notre Dame officials claimed they were peppered with an ongoing assault of anti-Catholic taunts from the Nebraska faithful. Taunts that they said had gone too far. Knute Rockne himself bristled at the comments made in various newspaper accounts of the contests over the past few years and took it upon himself to write scathing letters to the paper's editors.
In the face of the ongoing friction and the decreasing payouts that Notre Dame was receiving for their trips to Lincoln, the Notre Dame athletic board made the recommendation that Nebraska be dropped from the 1926 Notre Dame schedule. Rockne considered that action to be too harsh. Although the gate receipts were declining over the years, he still needed those funds to pay for his athletic department. Rockne argued vehemently that the Huskers remain on the schedule. Plus Rockne still had a score to settle after losing the 1925 match. In the end, however, Vice President Finigan canceled the 1926 Nebraska game and ended any negotiations for further contests.
Rockne tried several times in the years following to restore the trips to Nebraska but each effort failed. It would be another twenty-two years before Nebraska and Notre Dame would meet again.