Following the retirement of W.C. Cole in 1910, Nebraska hired Stiehm as his replacement. Nicknamed "Jumbo" because of his large feet, Stiehm was a regimented, fiery man who was prone to frequent tirades on the sidelines. Despite this, his first Cornhuskers team, with nine returning starters from 1910, split the MVIAA championship with Iowa State.
Stiehm's first game ended in a 117–0 blowout of Kearney State, two points shy of tying the program record of 119 points set in NU's previous game. This was the only meeting between Kearney State and Nebraska.
In the third quarter of a scoreless game, Michigan end Frederick L. Conklin blocked a Nebraska punt and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. The Chicago Daily Tribune wrote: "Conklin broke through, blocked it, turned like lightning and sped without interference across the goal line for Michigan's first touchdown." NU responded on its next drive with two long end runs that took the ball to Michigan's eight-yard line, and halfback Leonard Purdy finished off the drive with a touchdown.
The New York Times called the game "the hardest contest ever witnessed on Nebraska Field."