1941 Rose Bowl
Stanford 21, Nebraska 13January 1, 1941, Attendance: 91,000
In 1940, Stanford got a new football coach in Clark Shaughnessy and the rest of the football world got a revolutionary style of football that would forever change the game.
Shaughnessy and his T Formation proved to be an offense filled with innovative tricks that left fans astonished and opponents flat-footed. The Indians bowled over all nine of its regular season opponents and came into the Rose Bowl with a perfect 9-0 record. The Cornhuskers (8-1) were ranked seventh in the nation and had lost just once all season to top-ranked Minnesota.
But, the game belonged to Shaughnessy and the Wow Boys. The T Formation featured a completely new offensive set with the quarterback taking the snap from right behind the center. It is this game that is generally considered the clincher that convinced football pundits that the T was the offense of the future.
Of course, Shaughnessys new offense was not without its stars. In quarterback Frankie Albert, halfbacks Pete Kmetovic and Hugh Gallarneau and fullback Norm Standlee, the Indians had the right tools to run the T. Shaughnessy would later call this backfield one of the greatest of all-time in American football history.
Nebraska struck first when fullback Vike Francis bulled over from two yards out, giving the Cornhuskers a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
But the Indians altered their defense and Francis had little success for the rest of the afternoon. The Wow Boys tied the score at 7-7 as they drove down the field with a series of fakes and pitchouts that made the T-formation so effective. Then, Gallarneau ran into the end zone from 10 yards out for the score and Albert added the PAT.
Nebraska came back with a touchdown of their own, and, after a blocked point-after attempt, led 13-7.
On their next possession, the Indians drove 65 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Again, Gallarneau scored the touchdown, this time on a 40-yard pass from Albert. Gallarneau caught the ball at the 19-yard line and raced into the end zone untouched for the score. After Albert added the PAT, the Wow Boys were on top 14-13 at the intermission.
Stanfords final TD came on what many consider to be one of the finest plays in Rose Bowl history. The Indians drove from their own 23-yard line to the Cornhusker one-yard line before a valiant goal-line stand by Nebraska denied Stanford the end zone. Stanford had four cracks at the end zone from the one-yard line, but the Cornhuskers held each time.
After taking over on their own one, Nebraska opted to punt on first down. Then came the play of the game. Kmetovic took the punt at the Cornhusker 40-yard line and dashed and darted his way to the end zone, giving Stanford an insurmountable 21-13 lead.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total Stanford 7 7 7 0 21 Nebraska 7 6 0 0 13 Scoring Summary Qtr S-N N - Francis 2-yard run (Francis kick) 1 0-7 S - Gallarneau 10-yard run (Albert kick) 1 7-7 N - Zikmund 33-yard pass from Rohrig (kick blocked) 2 7-13 S - Gallarneau 40-yard pass from Albert (Albert kick) 2 14-13 S - Kmetovic 40-yard punt return (Albert kick) 3 21-13 Team Statistics Stan Nebr First Downs 14 9 Rushing Yards 254 56 Passing Yards 98 72 Passes 14-7-1 14-3-4 Total Offense 352 128 Punt Average 35 37 Fumbles Lost 2 0 Yards Penalized 58 28 Return Yards 166 104 Rushing (Att-Yds) Stanford - Kmetovic 14-129, Gallarneau 17-84, Standlee 7-16, South 2-10, Albert 10-5, Crane 4-4, Armstrong 2-3, Casey 1-1, Cole 1-1, Parker 1-1 Nebraska - Francis 9-51, Hopp 5-15, Rohrig 6-6, Rubottom 2-6, Luther 9-(-6), B Kahler 1-(-7), Zikmund 1-(-9)
SOURCE: STANFORD ATHLETIC DEPT.