Nebraska was riding high on one of the most successful periods in program history: Six straight conference titles, a remarkable 153-47-11 overall record, fear and respect from other teams nationwide, and a satisfying 1915 win against Notre Dame. However, Nebraska's head coach of the previous five years, Ewald O. Stiehm, stepped down after winning the most games by percentage for any head coach in the history of the program. With an established program, returning experienced players, and a reputation to uphold, it was time to see what would happen to the Cornhuskers under new leadership.
The Aggies from Kansas State found only more frustration as their quest to get their first win against Nebraska again fell short after six tries. However, their 0-14 loss to the Cornhuskers was the closest margin of loss so far in the series.
Nebraska traveled by train up through Washington State via Seattle and Spokane, making frequent publicity stops along the way, in a major road trip to face new coach Stewart's previous team in Portland. The University's annual yearbook of the time predicted that this game would be the last time the Nebraska team traveled so far from home. Those hoping to see a strong Cornhusker team were not disappointed at the first meeting of these teams, as Nebraska returned home with its first west coast victory.
Perhaps emboldened by the high-profile win against Oregon Agricultural last week, Nebraska came out relatively flat against a Nebraska Wesleyan team that should have been more thoroughly outclassed in every way, even with Cornhusker backups on the field. The shutout win was secured and moved the Cornhuskers to 6-0 against NWU all time, but the relatively low-scoring game caused concern.
Worries aroused the previous week when the Cornhuskers failed to blow out Nebraska Wesleyan seemed to not be misplaced, as Nebraska uncharacteristically struggled to put away Iowa State in Lincoln. Unable to secure even a single touchdown against a foe normally put away with ease, the Cornhuskers were forced to rely on a single field goal to advance their edge over the Cyclones to 12-3-1.
Nebraska's doldrums had not been shaken off, and Kansas came to Lincoln smelling blood for the first time in years. The Cornhuskers learned that reputation and record alone cannot win games, as the Jayhawks held Nebraska to just a 2nd quarter field goal before shutting them down completely, while Kansas made a series of big plays in the 3rd quarter to get a single touchdown, good enough for the win. The defeat of the Cornhuskers snapped their 34-game unbeaten streak, and was the first time in 39 home games at Lincoln across six years that Nebraska had fallen. It was the first Nebraska Field loss that any players on the team had ever experienced. The previous Nebraska home field defeat from 1909 was also delivered by the Jayhawks before they entered the losing streak to Nebraska that was finally broken on this day. And so it was that Kansas was the only team to have ever defeated the Cornhuskers at Nebraska Field, and had done so twice. With the win, Kansas edged closer to Nebraska in the series, but still lagged 9-14.
Nebraska was now thoroughly awakened to its vulnerability and practiced with renewed intensity in preparation for the match in Ames. Iowa was well aware of the weakened state of the Cornhuskers and confidently started the game with the first touchdown. The Hawkeyes would continue to score, but the Cornhuskers were now on fire with something to prove, and secured the win to stay ahead in the series 11-4-3.
Notre Dame was smarting for payback after being defeated the first time these teams met, and Nebraska had stumbled somewhat from its formidable former confidence. Nothing the Cornhuskers tried was successful in keeping Notre Dame from gashing the defense for big gains and scoring several times, while Nebraska itself was helpess to score points of its own. Notre Dame closed out Nebraska's season by handing over a shutout defeat, the first Cornhuskers shutout loss since Minnesota blanked them in 1912, and squared up the series at 1-1. Notre Dame head coach and future College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jesse Harper was not in attendance due to an annual coach's meeting in Chicago. In his place: Assistant Coach and legendary fellow future College Hall of Famer Knute Rockne.
Coach Stewart's first season ended with disappointment compared with the triumphs of previous seasons, but all was clearly not lost, as the Cornhuskers still enjoyed a winning season overall and extended the already unprecedented conference championship streak to seven straight years. The winning percentage of the Nebraska football program was unchanged as it was updated to 159-49-11 (.751), while the one conference loss to Kansas dropped the conference record slightly, to 22-3-2 (.825), which was still a remarkably strong record compared with their other conference foes.