Some of the most enjoyable parts of my job is going through the archives to celebrate both the history of Husker football and of KLIN’s. One of these prizes possession is the season highlight album of 1962 narrated by my predecessor, Bob Zenner.
This weekend, in honor of the 300th straight sellout of Memorial Stadium, KLIN is going to air that album for probably the first time ever. It contains Zenner’s actual game highlights from his broadcasts on KLIN as well as interviews with Coach Bob Devaney. We’re also presenting it commercial free thanks to our friends at U.S. Bank. It will air this Saturday at noon, just before our 1pm pregame show from the Husker Sports Network (it probably took Mr. Zenner two or three seasons of games to get to five hours of pregame back in the 60’s.) It will be rebroadcast at 6:00pm Sunday and will be on the podcast at KLIN.com.
Here’s some tidbits about the 1962 Huskers.
–Players were not allowed to substitute but for once each quarter. So usually, coaches would have the same 11 players on the field in the 1st quarter, then a new platoon for the second. Once you were substituted for, you could not return until the following quarter.
–At 6’3″, 210 lbs, QB Dennis Claridge was big enough to start on the line blocking for him. For example, tackle Monte Kiffin (yes, thatMonte Kiffin) was listed at 6’2″, 225. Most of the guards like LaVane Johnson of Eagle (5″10″, 205) and Jed Rood of Columbus, OH (6′, 210) were smaller than Claridge. The largest Husker in 1962 was Hall of Famer Bob Brownat 6’5″, 251 lbs – that would put him 20 lbs heavier but one inch shorter than Nebraska’s present day linebacker Sean Fisher (6’6″, 230.)
–In addition to Kiffin, another alum of the 1962 Huskers was future Missouri coach (and Nebraska nemesis) Warren Powers, who would go on to play in Super Bowl II with the Oakland Raiders.
–According to Huskerpedia.com, there are Huskers who hail from Eagle, Alma, David City and Crete. The college towns of Columbus, OH, South Bend, IN and Wichita, KS are represented. There are also three (four if you count non-listed freshman Frank Solich) who come from Cleveland, OH. But you won’t find one representative of the city of Lincoln on the 1962 varsity roster. (Jack would tell you that it’s because Lincoln East hadn’t opened yet).
—The Cuban Missile Crisis, which took place in October of ’62, was at its peak between October 14th and October 28th. On the schedule, that meant during the weeks of the Kansas State and Colorado games. Based on the combined 5-58-1 record the Wildcats and Buffaloes would have against Nebraska from that time until the collapse of the Berlin Wall, I think KSU and CU would have preferred the Soviets ignore the blockade.
—The 1962 Gotham Bowl, Nebraska’s first bowl victory, was the only college bowl game ever played on the hallowed grounds of the original Yankee Stadium. The first Gotham Bowl in 1961 was played at the Polo Grounds.
–Missouri, the team that beat Nebraska to start the 300 game sellout streak, featured a senior by the name of Jim Johnson. Johnson, who died earlier this year, gained fame as the long-time defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles.
–North Carolina State’s Joe Scarpati had a long kick return for a score against Nebraska in Memorial Stadium. Scarpati’s most famous moment in football was probably as the holder on Tom Dempsey’s NFL record 63 yard field goal in 1970.
–The late Bob Zenner was both KLIN Radio and KOLN TV sportscaster from the late 1950’s to his death in the late 1960’s. His call of Nebraska’s famous 1959 upset of Oklahoma is the only surviving broadcast known (we may pull that one out too later this year on the 50th anniversary.) He also pioneered the live telecast of the Nebraska State High School Basketball tournaments which started in 1958 on Channel 10, something I am proud to help continue today.