By Nate Rohr
On this homecoming weekend, it seems appropriate to look at the first game for the Nebraska football team at its home, Memorial Stadium. In This Week in Husker History, we look at Nebraska’s first game at Memorial Stadium, a 24-0 win over Oklahoma on Oct. 13, 1923.
The Huskers opened their new home after playing at Nebraska Field, which ran east-to-west just south of Memorial Stadium. In the fall of 1922, a fund-raising drive for $430,000 began amongst University students, staff and friends, with construction beginning in the spring of 1923. In just 90 working days, Memorial Stadium was ready for the first home game of the 1923 season and was named in honor of the Nebraskans who served in the nation’s wars.
Nebraska, which only returned nine players from the previous year’s 7-1 team that won the Missouri Valley Conference championship, opened their season on the road, losing 24-7 at Illinois as Red Grange made his college debut and scored three touchdowns.
The Huskers came home to face Oklahoma. NU took an early 3-0 lead on a first-half field goal. In the second half, strong Husker running set Dave Noble, who would later earn All-Missouri Valley Conference honors, into position to take in the first touchdown of the game for Nebraska. After a 90-yard return on a fumble recovery by Beatrice native Douglas Meyers gave the Huskers a 17-0 lead, Noble finished off the Sooners with another touchdown run.
The win was Nebraska’s first in conference play, as the Huskers went onto a 3-0-2 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference in 1923 and a conference championship, Nebraska’s third straight championship since rejoining the league in 1921. The win also stretched the Huskers’ unbeaten string in the league to nine straight games, with the streak running to 13 games before it was ended in the first league game of 1924, a 14-7 loss at Oklahoma.
Along with beginning a successful conference championship chase, the win also began a incredible run of success at Memorial Stadium for Nebraska. In its 85 years as the home of Nebraska Football, the Huskers hold a record of 361-107-13. The stadium has housed 32 conference championship and five national championship teams while seeing its capacity more than double from the original 31,000 to its current 81,067.