1891 Nebraska Old Gold Knights football
Nebraska state champion
1891 record2–2
Head coachTheron Lyman (1st season)
Home stadiumLincoln Park
← 1890
1892 →

The 1891 Nebraska Old Gold Knights football team was represented the University of Nebraska in the 1891 college football season. The team played its single home game at Lincoln Park, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Before the seasonEdit

1891 was the second year that Nebraska fielded a football team. Although the team was not provided with a head coach by the university that year, Theron Lyman (a football coach and former player at Iowa College) assisted Nebraska in their preparations for the game against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, in order to increase the competitiveness of the Old Gold Knights as a viable opponent for the Iowa squad to play against.[1]


October 313:30 p.m.Doane
W 28–4
November 14at DoaneCrete, NEL 12–14
November 26vs. IowaOmaha, NE (rivalry)L 0–22
December 5at DoaneCrete, NEW 32–0




Official Roster
  • Anderson, Arthur C
  • Barkely, James QB
  • Chandler, Charles T
  • Church, R.D. HB
  • Flippin, George HB
  • Mockett, Ebenezer HB1
  • Hyde, Frederick G
  • Johnston, James HB
  • Jones, Albin T
  • Mosher, Bradley FB
  • Nusz, Chauncy FB
  • Pace, Eugene QB
  • Porterfield, James G
  • Skiles, Charles E
  • Stockton, William E
  • White, Jacob E
  • Wynegar T
  • Yont, Jesse G

1 Withdrew from classes after first game

Coaching staffEdit

Name Title First year
in this position
Years at Nebraska Alma Mater
Theron LymanHead Coach (Iowa game only)18911891Yale
Jack BestTrainer18901890–1922

Game summariesEdit

Doane, October 1891Edit

Doane at Nebraska
by Quarter1234 Total
Doane 4 0 0 0 4
Nebraska 16 12 0 0 28

Nebraska had planned a rematch with Doane during the previous season which was never scheduled. This missed contest was more than made up for, as the Old Gold Knights faced Doane for three of Nebraska's four games of 1891.

Although Doane scored the first points of the game - and the first points ever scored against Nebraska, the remainder of the day belonged to the Old Gold Knights, as Nebraska posted 16 unanswered points before the half.

The game was reportedly very physical, with several players suffering serious injuries, to the point that the Doane squad considered calling off the rest of the game, though they eventually agreed to a shortened 15-minute 2nd half. Nebraska put up an additional 12 points before the game ended, finishing with a 28-4 victory.[4][5]

Doane, November 1891Edit

Nebraska at Doane
by Quarter1234 Total
Nebraska 6 6 0 0 12
Doane 4 10 0 0 14

Nebraska was looking for more playing time in preparations for their upcoming contest against the established Iowa Hawkeyes team, and scheduled a rematch with Doane. However, still playing without a head coach, team Captain Ebenezer Mockett withdrew from classes and the team prior to the game, leaving the Old Gold Knights short on leadership.

Doane had practiced intensely for the game, with an eye to avenge their previous losses, while several Nebraska players remained out with injuries from the previous game. Even so, Nebraska reportedly entered the game somewhat overconfident due to their previous victories, a feeling reinforced when Nebraska scored the first points off of an early Doane fumble, and ultimately running up to a 6-0 lead.

Both teams traded possession and points repeatedly afterwards, but Nebraska found itself behind on the scoreboard for the first time ever when Doane pulled ahead to 10-6 after the start of the 2nd half. Although the Old Gold Knights responded with six points of their own to regain the lead, Doane responded in kind and handed Nebraska the first loss in the program's history.[4][5]

Iowa, November 1891Edit

Iowa vs. Nebraska
by Quarter1234 Total
Iowa 14 8 0 0 22
Nebraska 0 0 0 0 0

Although Nebraska was supported by a temporary head coach to fill the leadership vacuum, the relative lack of experience, and substandard equipment and uniforms played a part as the Old Gold Knights found themselves in over their heads against the powerful Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa utilized playing styles that Nebraska had never dealt with before, such as signal calling from the line by the quarterback before the play.

Still, Nebraska played physical defensive football and made Iowa earn their points, but earn them they did, as Iowa put up 22 to Nebraska's 0, handing the Old Gold Knights their first ever shutout loss.[4][5]

Doane, December 1891Edit

Nebraska at Doane
by Quarter1234 Total
Nebraska 22 10 0 0 32
Doane 0 0 0 0 0

In order to prevent the season ending with a 1-1 tied record with Doane, the two schools arranged to play one more time to settle the season record between them, and to settle the matter of the Nebraska state championship.

Still without a head coach, Nebraska was on fire after the drubbing by Iowa the week before, and drilled Doane at their own home field for 22 unanswered points by the half. Old Gold Knights HB George Flippin, the first African American to play football for Nebraska, and James Johnston each scored three touchdowns along the way.

Doane rallied to keep Nebraska off the scoreboard in the 2nd half but was unable to answer with points of their own and was defeated with a shutout Nebraska victory that handed the Old Gold Knights their second consecutive Nebraska State Championship. Nebraska's record over Doane improved to 3-1.[4][5][6]

After the seasonEdit

Nebraska claimed their second football title, having defeated Doane College in two out of three games for what amounted to the Nebraska State Championship. Nebraska was now 4-2-0 (.667) all time.

This was the second and last year that the Nebraska team was known as the Old Gold Knights. Although they would also sometimes be referred to as the "Tree Planters", "Nebraskans", "The Rattlesnake Boys", "Red Stockings" or "Antelopes" in their early years, they were officially known as the "Bugeaters" beginning in the 1892 season.


  1. "Husker Press Box - 1891 Game Recaps". University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics Department. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  2. "Football - 1891 Schedule/Results". University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics Department. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  3. "Nebraska 1891 Roster". University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics Department. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Husker Press Box - 1891 Game Recaps". University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics Department. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "1890s". HuskerMax. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  6. "Husker Football History Over a Century of Winning Tradition". University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletics Department. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
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