The distance: 92 yards

The star: Willie Ross

The date: Dec. 15, 1962

The outcome: Huskers 36, Miami 34

The story: How can we not make mention of the time the Huskers made an appearance in Yankee Stadium?

The Gotham Bowl was the game, Miami the foe, and 1962 the year.

It’s assumed Don Draper was not in attendance. Hardly anyone was in attendance. It was 20 degrees. There were only 6,122 paid admissions, making the 62,700-seat stadium seem practically empty.

But the game itself? Wildly entertaining. How Nebraska won is something of a mystery when you look at the final stats. Hurricane quarterback George Mira lit up the Huskers for 321 yards passing. Miami had 206 more yards of offense at game’s end.

But Nebraska hit the Hurricanes with timely big plays — none bigger than a 92-yard kickoff return by Willie Ross.

It was 13-6 Miami at that point, but it seemed worse than that to the scribes covering the game. The Lincoln Star the next day wrote that that the Huskers used Ross’ kick return “to stay in a game which might have been a rout.”

Ross started up the middle, quickly broke left, gaining a wave of blockers at the Miami 40 that helped escort him into the end zone. A track coach in the press box “had a stop watch on Willie,” clocking his run at 10.1 seconds.

A 36-34 victory was not secure until future NFL Hall of Famer Bob Brown, who played on the offensive line and at linebacker, intercepted a pass at NU’s 25 with 1:20 left.

It was Nebraska’s first bowl win in three tries and capped a 9-2 opening season for Bob Devaney.

It was also the last of just two Gotham Bowl games ever played. The game was on such shaky ground in 1962 that Nebraska and Miami both asked to see the money before the schools left home. NU officials almost scratched the Huskers from the game, but received the requested cash just two minutes before a given deadline.

Confusion was said to accompany most of the trip. Disorganized bowl officials left Devaney more than a little miffed. The postgame gift from the bowl? A giant box of pretzels.

But back home awaited an overjoyed fan base. They'd just met this Devaney fellow and didn't know what was yet to come. But the coach sure did know how to make an entrance.

— Brian Christopherson

Reach Brian Christopherson at or 402-473-7439. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.