American Football Database
1897 Nebraska Bugeaters football
Western Interstate Champions
ConferenceWestern Interstate University Football Association
1897 record5-1-0 (3-0-0 WIUFA)
Head coachEddie N. Robinson (2nd season)
Home stadiumAntelope Field
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1898 →
1897 Western Interstate football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Nebraska 3 0 0     5 1 0
Kansas 2 1 0     8 2 0
Iowa 0 2 0     4 4 0
Missouri 0 2 0     5 6 0

The 1897 Nebraska Bugeaters football team was the representative of the University of Nebraska in the 1897 college football season. The team was coached by Eddie N. Robinson and played their home games at Antelope Field in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nebraska's football team began its history as the "Old Gold Knights", and was also sometimes known as the "Tree Planters", "Nebraskans", "The Rattlesnake Boys", "Red Stockings", "Antelopes" or "Goldenrods" in their early years.

Before the season

Coach Robinson returned for his second season at Nebraska, leading a team with even less players on the roster than last year, having reduced from 22 down to 20 players.



Date Opponent Site Result Attendance
October 8* at Iowa State State Field • Ames, Iowa L 0-10 -
October 18* Tarkio Antelope Field • Lincoln, Nebraska W 16-0 -
October 23* Nebraska Wesleyan Antelope Field • Lincoln, Nebraska W 10-0 -
October 30 Missouri Antelope Field • Lincoln, Nebraska W 41-0 -
November 13 Kansas Antelope Field • Lincoln, Nebraska W 10-5 -
November 19* KC Medics Kansas City, Missouri Canceled -
November 25 vs. Iowa Council Bluffs, Iowa W 6-0 -
*Non-Conference Game.



Benedict, Raymond E
Cowgill, Howard QB
Halstead, M.L. G
Hansen, Albert LG
Hayward, William LT
Herbert C
Hisey, Albert G
Melford, William C
Montgomery, Robert RT
Oury, W. Harry C
Pearse, Arthur RT
Schwartz, Maynard HB
Shedd, George FB
Stringer, Lewis LT
Swartz, Maynard HB
Tukey, Harry QB
Turner, Edmund RG
Westover, John C
Wiggins, Frank E
Williams, Charles Erwin HB

Coaching staff

Name Title First year
in this position
Years at Nebraska Alma Mater
Eddie N. Robinson Head Coach 1896 1896–1897 Brown
Jack Best Trainer 1890 1890–1922
Harry Oury Manager
George Shedd Captain


Game notes

Iowa State

Nebraska at Iowa State
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Nebraska 0 0 0
Iowa State 0 0 0
  • Date: 1897-10-08
  • Location: State Field • Ames, Iowa
  • Game weather: Windy

Nebraska was unable to keep pace with Iowa State, and were not helped by windy conditions that favored the Cyclones during the first half but died down when it would have helped the Bugeaters. The series was now even at 1-1 between the teams. As it would turn out, this would be the only loss of the season for Nebraska. [5][6]


Tarkio at Nebraska
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Tarkio 0 0 0 0 0
Nebraska 6 10 0 0 16

This was the first meeting between Nebraska and the squad from Tarkio College in Missouri, and also the first game played on the campus at the University of Nebraska. On this day, the new field (which would eventually be known as Antelope Field) was a muddy mess that was little improved by efforts before kickoff to make it more layable. Tarkio was overmatched by the Bugeaters, never getting closer than the Nebraska 30 yard line and unable to prevent the Bugeaters from scoring.[5]

Nebraska Wesleyan

Nebraska Wesleyan at Nebraska
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Nebraska Wesleyan 0 0 0 0 0
Nebraska 0 10 0 0 10
  • Date: 1897-10-23
  • Location: Antelope Field • Lincoln, Nebraska

When Nebraska Wesleyan arrived, it was unclear if the game would be played, as they did not have enough members present to field a team. A bid to have their coach play, a solution seen in some previous years, was denied as against league rules. NWU eventually resolved the problem by adding a local high school football player to their team for the day. In addition, the game was shortened to 15 minute halves. Despite the setbacks weighing on NWU, Nebraska was unable to score in the first half and lost two players to injuries, eventually settling for just 10 points in the second to get the win and extend their unbeaten record over NWU to 3-0.[5]


Missouri at Nebraska
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Missouri 0 0 0
Nebraska 0 0 0
  • Date: 1897-10-30
  • Location: Antelope Field • Lincoln, Nebraska

Nebraska scored four times in the first half in the conference opener, easily putting the game out of reach early on, but they didn't let off the pressure and went ahead with even more offensive production in the second half while shutting out the Tigers 41-0. This game set new Nebraska records for total points scored and largest margin of victory, besting the 38-0 mark set against the Sioux City Athletic Club in 1895. Nebraska's record over Missouri improved to 4-0.[5]


Kansas at Nebraska
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Kansas 5 0 0 5
Nebraska 5 5 0 0 10
  • Date: 1897-11-13
  • Location: Antelope Field • Lincoln, Nebraska

In an unusually contentious meeting between these teams, controversy was the order of the day. Even before kickoff, disagreement began over the person chosen by Kansas as their officiating representative. Over and over again, the Bugeaters protested calls made by the umpire. Later, a Kansas field kick that many spectators claimed missed the mark was ruled good by the umpire. Nebraska chose to continue playing at that point, but officially under protest. All of the argued calls continually delayed the game's progress, until finally the Jayhawks argued a late Nebraska touchdown for so long that the contest was eventually called for lack of daylight and Nebraska was awarded the 10-5 win. Kansas demanded a rematch, but it was never scheduled. Despite the Kansas loss, they still owned twice as many wins as Nebraska in the series, 4-2. [5]

University of Kansas records indicate the final score of this game was a 6-5 Nebraska victory.[7]

KC Medics

KC Medics at Nebraska at KC Medics
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Nebraska 0 0 0
KC Medics 0 0 0

The death of a Commandant Jackson resulted in this game being canceled, though it is not clear which team or school he was associated with. The game was initially rescheduled for December 5 but was never played. [5]


Nebraska vs. Iowa
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Nebraska 0 0 0
Iowa 0 0 0
  • Date: 1897-11-25
  • Location: Council Bluffs, Iowa

Some sources indicate that Iowa failed to follow league requirements prior to the start of the season, which disqualified them as league participants, however league standings from the time show Nebraska as having played all three expected league games. In any case, The Bugeaters managed 6 points against a stiff Iowa defense for the win, sweeping all conference opponents and claiming their first outright league title. Nebraska's record over the Hawkeyes also improved to 4-2-2. [5]

After the season

Unbeaten against all conference foes, Nebraska claimed its first outright conference title, but once again lost their head coach when Coach Robinson returned to his alma mater to coach for Brown University. Robinson's overall record with Nebraska over his two years at the helm was 11-4-1 (.719), and this season concluded with Nebraska's program record improving to 32-15-3 (.670).