The granddaddy fo all bowl games will be celebrating a major anniversary this year. The Rose Bowl will be played for the 100th time in Pasadena, California. A New Years Day tradition, the Rose Bowl is still one of the most highly anticipated games of the season. The BCS Championship game will be contested at the Rose Bowl this year, but this post will concentrate on the Rose Bowl game itself. Here are the top 5 games in Rose Bowl history.
January 1, 1963: USC 42 Wisconsin 37
The top two teams in the country played for the National Championship in Pasadena during the 1962 season, and the game lived up to expectations. The top ranked Trojans were led by quarterback Pete Beathard and running back Willie Brown. The second ranked Badgers were a balanced team that was guided by the on-field leadership of quarterback Ron Vander Kelen. The Trojans held a 21-7 lead at halftime, and looked to be on its way to victory when they expanded their lead to 42-14 early in the fourth quarter started. But the Badgers came roaring back, scoring 23 unanswered points to make the game interesting. However, the comeback fell short. The game also had some controversy as Trojans offensive guard Marv Marinovich was ejected for elbowing Steve Underwood. Marinovich’s son, Todd later starred as USC’s quarterback from 1989 to 1990.
January 1, 1997: Ohio State 20 Arizona State 17
A terrific game that I remember vividly. The Sun Devils came into the game undefeated, ranked number 2 in the nation. They still had an outside chance at the National Championship. The Buckeyes lost their final regular season game to Michigan, which ended Ohio State’s hopes of a National Championship. However, the Buckeyes knew they could still be a major player in the title picture. If Ohio State were to defeat Arizona State, then the Sun Devils would be knocked out the title picture. With the game tied 7-7 at halftime, Ohio State made a switch at quarterback. Stanley Jackson was pulled in favour of Joe Germaine. The move paid off midway through the third quarter when Germaine found Dimitrious Stanley on a 72 yard post pattern play, giving the Buckeyes the lead. Arizona State fought back, thanks to quarterback Jake Plummer, who used his arm and legs to drive the Sun Devils down the field. With just over a minute to go, Plummer scrambled out of the pocket and ran 11 yards for a touchdown, giving Arizona State a 17-14 lead. But Ohio State weren’t through. Germaine led the Buckeyes on a stunning drive that saw Ohio State reach the 5 yard line. With only 19 seconds remaining, Germaine found receiver David Boston open in the flat. The Sun Devils blew the coverage which led to Boston finding the end zone easily giving the Buckeyes the 20-17 victory. It was a devastating loss for Arizona State, who saw their National Championship dreams go up in smoke. Meanwhile, the win was redemption for Ohio State who despite not winning the National Championship, played a major role in denying the Sun Devils the big prize.
January 1, 2005: Texas 38 Michigan 37
A thrilling contest that saw the emergence of Texas quarterback Vince Young. Plenty of offense from both teams dominated the proceedings. The Longhorns compiled 444 yards of offense while the Wolverines racked up 352 yards. Michigan held a 31-21 lead in the fourth quarter when Young took over. The sophomore signal caller found his way into the end zone from 10 yards out, pulling Texas to within three. Young bettered himself on the next possession. With Texas down 34-28, Young’s elusiveness and athleticism wobbled the Wolverines. Young’s 23 yard touchdown run gave Texas a one point lead. Michigan did respond with a field goal, but that only set up Young’s late game heroics. Young led the Longhorns down the field, using his running ability with the occasional pass thrown in. Dusty Magnum kicked a 37 yard field goal as time expired, giving Texas the victory. Young’s numbers were OK in terms of passing, completing 16 out of 28 pass attempts for 180 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. But Young’s rushing numbers were astonishing. 20 carries for 192 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a 60 yard scamper for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Vince Young started 2005 on the right note.
January 4, 2006: Texas 41 USC 38
No one thought Vince Young could top the previous year’s performance. But Vince Young proved the doubters wrong. In one of the best games in the history of college football, Young led the Longhorns to their first National Championship in 36 years with a brilliant performance that will be remembered forever. To make it even better, the Longhorns and Trojans were the top two teams in the country and this game was for the undisputed National Championship. Young was locked in a magnificent duel with USC quarterback Matt Leinart who had an exceptional game that is lost in the shuffle. Comparing the numbers, Young completed 30 out of 40 pass attempts for 267 yards. Leinart went 29 out of 40 for 365 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. But it was Young’s running ability that made the difference. The Texas quarterback had 200 yards rushing on just 19 carries while scoring 3 touchdowns in the process. Young saved his best for the fourth quarter with Texas down 38-26 with under 7 minutes remaining. Young capped off the first drive with a 17 yard touchdown run that cut the Longhorns deficit to five. After Texas stuffed USC on a fourth down gamble near midfield, Young moved the Longhorns down the field yet again. With only 19 seconds remaining and Texas facing a 4th and 5 at the USC 9, Young scrambled to his right and found some room near the sidelines. USC failed to react and Young found the corner of the end zone for the winning touchdown. A classic game that will be replayed on ESPN Classic for decades.
January 2, 2012: Oregon 45 Wisconsin 38
The Ducks Quack Attack offense versus the Badgers power running style made for some fascinating football. Defense was pretty much forgotten as the teams combined for 1,129 yards of total offense. Oregon running back LaMichael James had 159 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Then there was De’Anthony Thomas. The speedy running back/occasional wide receiver/kick returner, had 155 yards on 2 carries. He scored on both carries. Thomas had touchdown runs of 91 and 64 yards which were spectacular for everyone except Wisconsin fans. The Badgers did receive a star performance from running back Montee Ball, who had 164 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown. Wisconsin also featured quarterback Russell Wilson who had a fine game, completing 19 out of 26 pass attempts for 296 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. But the Wisconsin defense had no answer for Oregon, who kept the Badgers off-balance throughout the game. It was a fantastic game for the neutrals to watch as both teams moved the ball with ease. In the end, Oregon did come up with some key stops in the fourth quarter, while the Quack Attack proved to be impossible to contain.
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