Northwestern Magazine
Fall 2008HomeAlumni NewsCampus LifeMailboxPurple ProseBack Issues
Submit a Class Note
Class Codes
Submit a Purple Prose
E-mail the Editor
Back Issues
Update Your Address
Advertise with Us
Contact Us

'49 Rose Bowl Trivia

• Northwestern's 20-14 win came during a period in which the Western Conference (forerunner of the Big Ten) won 12 of 13 Rose Bowls. The Rose Bowl retained its exclusive contract with the Pac-10 and Big Ten until 1998 when team selection became tied to the Bowl Championship Series. The Pac-10 holds a 32-29 lead against the Big Ten in the all-time Rose Bowl series.

• Northwestern had five players from Chicago's Schurz High School (Bill Forman, Pat Keefe [SESP50], John Miller, Bob Nowicki and Don Stonesifer) and four from East Chicago, Ind. (Art Murakowski, Ed Nemeth, Alex Sarkisian and Ray Wietecha). Lawrence "Fatso" Day, from Mason City, Iowa, said: "We had a couple of guys from East Chicago, a pretty rough town, so I always felt if things got rough, I had the right guys on my side."

• Bob Voigts and current head coach Pat Fitzgerald made similar history early in their careers. Voigts, a former All-America tackle for Northwestern, was 31 years old and reportedly the youngest head coach of a major college when given the job, just as two-time Northwestern All-America linebacker Fitzgerald was upon taking over after the tragic death of Randy Walker. Fitzgerald, a new enshrinee in the College Football Hall of Fame, is 19-17 in three seasons and will try to join Voigts as the only bowl-winning coaches in school history.

• A Heisman Trophy winner — the very first, in fact — was in uniform on the field for the 1949 Rose Bowl, though unaffiliated with either team. Jay Berwanger, winner of the 1935 Heisman as the swift star of the University of Chicago Maroons, served as the field judge. "If you see the movies (of Frank Aschenbrenner's 73-yard touchdown run)," says Day, "the ref running sideways alongside Aschenbrenner was Jay Berwanger, so he must've been pretty fast running straight ahead."

• University of California star Jackie Jensen, considered by many the best athlete ever to play for the Golden Bears, would go on to greater renown in baseball, winning the 1958 American League Most Valuable Player Award as a slugger for the Boston Red Sox. As a major league rookie, Jensen got into a game for the New York Yankees in the 1950 postseason, becoming the first player to appear in a Rose Bowl and a World Series — the only other has been Chuck Essegian of Stanford in 1952 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959.

• Jackie Jensen was also in a high-profile marriage to Olympic diver Zoe Ann Olsen. But he wasn't the only player in that Rose Bowl who tied the knot with an accomplished aquatic athlete — Al Thomas, the Wildcat end and decorated war hero, married Olympic swimmer Helen Perry. — W.W.

Printer-Friendly Format