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Lance's Journal: Al Zikmund Recalls 1941 Rose Bowl, Oct. 26, 2015

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Published: Oct. 26, 2015 at 6:45 PM CDT
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It was January 1st of 1941 in warm & sunny Pasadena, California.

Nebraska was only the third Big Six team every to play in a postseason bowl game and the Cornhuskers made their very first bowl trip a memorable one with an invitation to the granddaddy of them all...the Rose Bowl.

The game took place 75 years ago, but, Al Zikmund remembers it like it was yesterday, "There were 91,000 people there and wooden goalposts."

Even at the age of 93, this Kearney residents mind is sharp as a tack.

Al ran himself into the 1941 Rose Bowl as an 18-year-old sophomore.

And the fastest guy on the team put the Huskers up in the second quarter against Stanford, "We got in the huddle and Bus Knight was the quarterback and he called this pass play so Willard goes like that and I ran straight down the field, got open and turned around and the ball was over this should and got it and went in and dove just as he hit my heel and that was a touchdown."

This farm boy from Ord was referred to as "The Blond Bomber" in the University of Nebraska yearbook and the Bomber broke his leg on a kickoff return just halftime, "The tackler didn't tackle me, he fell on my leg and broke it right here."

There are those that say that was a pretty big turning point in the game, Al agrees, "Well later, the coach said, 'Al, if that hadn't happened we mighta beat those guys,' because of the speed that I could get behind them you know."

Nebraska lost it's first bowl game by the score of 21 to 13 to Stanford.