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    Frank X. Aschenbrenner
    Frank X. Aschenbrenner

    Contemporary Era:
    1989 Inductee



    Nickname: "Asch"

    A 73-yard run, which established a record for the Rose Bowl game's longest from scrimmage by the time "Asch" reached the end zone, put Northwestern on the scoreboard. With that run, Aschenbrenner not only set a record, but also scored the first touchdown in the 1949 Rose Bowl. For his talent "Asch" was awarded the Helms Athletic Foundation medal as the outstanding player of the game. In the presentation of the award it was stated, "There was no doubt about the selection of Aschenbrenner as the outstanding player of the 1949 game... [In addition to scoring the first touchdown] he carried the ball 11 times, gaining a total of 119 yards for 10.8 yards per carry. He also had an average of 43 yards per kick, giving him a wide margin over California in this department of play."

    "Asch" came to Northwestern Big Ten football after one year of college varsity and two years of service football. He quickly established himself as the "work horse" of the Wildcat attack in his halfback position, and his hard work consistently paid off. In his junior year, "Asch" had a 75-yard run from scrimmage on the first play of the Minnesota game that enabled the Wildcats to edge the Gophers, 14-7. Later in the season, "Asch" revived Northwestern in the UCLA game, when the scoreboard read 13-0. With a 95-yard return of a kickoff, he started the Wildcats off on a scoring spree to victory, 27-26. Aschenbrenner ended his junior season having rolled up 375 yard in 93 carries, caught 8 passes for 59 yards, and scored 4 of 19 touchdowns.

    As a senior, his value to the Wildcat squad was enhanced by his emergence as a blocking back in addition to his continued skill as a ball carrier, passer and kicker. According to Coach Bob Voigts, his ability to "blast a path for his teammates" greatly improved the Wildcat running attack.

    In the season finale, Northwestern defeated Illinois, 20-7. Aschenbrenner's talent had helped in bringing Northwestern football to its most glorified moment, proceeding to the Rose Bowl with an 8-2 record.

    In 1947, "Asch" was a fourth-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    He graduated from Northwestern with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1949 and served the following two years in the Navy Air Corps as an aviation cadet.