1966 Rose Bowl
|1966 Rose Bowl|
|52nd Rose Bowl Game|
|Date||January 1, 1966|
|Favorite||Michigan State by 14|
|National anthem||UCLA Band|
|Halftime show||UCLA Band, Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Lindsey Nelson, Terry Brennan|
The 1966 Rose Bowl, played on January 1, 1966, was the 52nd Rose Bowl Game. The UCLA Bruins defeated the #1 ranked Michigan State Spartans by a score of 14–12. UCLA defensive back Bob Stiles was named the Rose Bowl Player Of The Game.
The game was a rematch of the season opener in East Lansing, Michigan, that Michigan State won, 13–3. Unknown UCLA quarterback Gary Beban had a long touchdown pass play nullified by a penalty in that game. As it turned out, UCLA gave MSU one of its toughest games of the season in its home opener, a fact that was forgotten when the 14-point odds came out favoring MSU for the Rose Bowl re-match. The two previous meetings also were won by Michigan State, the 1954 Rose Bowl and 1956 Rose Bowl.
Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State was undefeated and winner of the AFCA National Championship Trophy given to the team ranked #1 in the nation in early December, after the regular season, but before postseason bowl games. Regular season opponents Michigan (-51), Ohio State (-22), and Notre Dame (-12) each had negative yards rushing. Their key victory was a 32–7 win over Ohio State that ultimately decided the Big Ten Conference title as the Spartans finished one game ahead of the Buckeyes. The Spartans featured future College Football Hall of Fame members split end Gene Washington, defensive end Charles "Bubba" Smith, roverback George "Mickey" Webster, and halfback Clint Jones. Webster is credited with creating the roverback position. In the first round of the 1967 NFL/AFL Draft, the first overall pick was Bubba Smith by the Baltimore Colts, the second was Clint Jones by the Minnesota Vikings, the fifth was George Webster by the Houston Oilers, and the eighth pick was Gene Washington, also by the Minnesota Vikings. They were the first group of four African-American members of the college football hall of fame from the same class. Smith was a defensive end and Webster was a safety on Sports Illustrated's NCAA football all-century team in 1999. In the second round of the 1966 NFL draft, Harold Lucas was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals.
UCLA lost the season opener at Michigan State 13–3, upset highly regarded Syracuse and Penn State, tied at Missouri 14–14, then won four straight. Going into the 1965 UCLA–USC rivalry football game ranked #7, the conference championship and 1966 Rose Bowl were on the line. The #6-ranked USC, led by Heisman trophy winner Mike Garrett led 16–6 until UCLA got a touchdown on a pass from Gary Beban to Dick Witcher with four minutes to play. After the two-point conversion made it 16–14, UCLA recovered an onside kick. Beban then hit Kurt Altenberg on a 50-yard bomb and UCLA won, 20–16. Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray did not like the Bruins chances.
UCLA then faced Tennessee in the newly built Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee, UCLA coach Tommy Prothro's native city. On the last play of a wild game, Tennessee defensive back Bob Petrella intercepted a UCLA pass to save a Volunteer win by a score of 37–34. Prothro was uncharacteristically upset. He criticized a pass interference penalty, a phantom holding call on end Byron Nelson that nullified a key UCLA play, claimed that the clock had been wrongly stopped twice on Tennessee's winning drive, and said that a dropped pass was a lateral and a fumble. He stated, "For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be a Southerner."
The 1965 team was nicknamed the "Gutty little Bruins" as the defensive line was small with John Richardson at 225 pounds, Steve Butler at 220, and 200-pound defensive tackles Al Claman and Terry Donahue. By comparison, the Spartan defensive line included middle guard Harold Lucas who weighed 286 lb and Bubba Smith who was 6 ft 7 in and weighed 265 lb. Even Michigan State roverback Webster weighed as much as the heaviest UCLA defensive lineman at 225.
On Saturday, January 1, 1966, the weather was sunny and 65 °F. Michigan State was a two touchdown favorite and the consensus #1 ranked team, but the undersized Bruins held their own through a scoreless first quarter – even after future Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award winner Gary Beban from Redwood City, California, ran 27 yards on the Bruins first play from scrimmage. Beban surprised Michigan State's defense with a head fake quarterback off-guard run reminiscent of an old single-wing formation tailback off-tackle run play. Beban ran a similar play two years before at Sequoia High School where he was an All America candidate. At the time, he spoke of wanting to playing for Notre Dame but was disappointed that he didn't get a scholarship. UCLA end Byron Nelson stripped the ball from punt returner Don Japinga, co-captain of the Spartans, and center John Erquiaga of UCLA recovered at the Michigan State six yard line. Beban carried the ball around left end on a quarterback keeper and was stopped at the one yard line by Webster as the quarter ended.
On the first play of the second quarter, Beban took it in from one yard out on a quarterback sneak to give the Bruins a surprising lead over the stunned Spartans. Then Prothro went into his bag of tricks and called for an onside kick. Kicker Kurt Zimmerman executed it perfectly and linebacker Dallas Grider fell on the ball. Halfback Mel Farr ran for 21 yards to the Spartan 22. In preparation for the game, UCLA assistant coach Pepper Rodgers had designed a formation called shadow set, in which wide receivers Altenberg and Witcher lined up one behind the other . From the shadow set, Beban then called the pass play "Michigan spread left post", and threaded a pass between three Spartan defenders to Kurt Altenberg, who made a great catch that put UCLA on the one yard-line. Beban then scored on a short run to make it 14–0. Later in the second quarter, the Spartans drove deep into UCLA territory led by quarterback and co-captain Steve Juday. Their drive was stopped by a fumble during a quarterback scramble. Juday, even though untouched by any UCLA tackler, lost control of the football and UCLA co-captain and defensive end Jim Colletto recovered at the UCLA 19 . Another drive came up empty when just before the half, Dick Kenney, the Spartan barefoot kicker from Hawaii, missed a field goal from the 23-yard line.
UCLA's undersized defense continued to play well in the third quarter, but the larger Spartans were beginning to wear them down and began picking up bigger and bigger chunks of yardage on the ground.
With six minutes and thirteen seconds remaining in the game, Michigan State began a drive from their own 20-yard line. Juday passed to Gene Washington for 42 yards to the UCLA 38. They finally broke through for a touchdown when their large Samoan fullback Bob Apisa took a lateral from sophomore quarterback Jimmy Raye and scored on a 38-yard run. On the point after, Michigan State faked the kick and went for a two-point conversion. Pressured by UCLA defensive end Jerry Klein, Juday's  pass failed and UCLA led 14–6. Michigan State got the ball back at the UCLA 49 after Bubba Smith partly blocked a punt by UCLA punter Larry Cox. The Spartans began to march down field in the waning moments, switching on this drive to a two-quarterback system. They alternated Juday and Raye with Daugherty sending in the plays. Three times in this final drive the Spartans went for it on fourth down and picked up the first down. A pass to fullback Eddie Cotton brought the ball to the one-yard line. With thirty-one seconds to play, Juday scored on a quarterback sneak. Trailing 14–12, Daughterty had the Spartans line up on the left hash mark for a two-point conversion attempt. On a play called "option pitch", Raye tossed the football to the sophomore Apisa who ran to the right, and as he turned the corner, it appeared he would fall into the end zone to tie the game. (This would not have resulted in overtime because in college football overtime was not used in tie games until the 1996 season) But Apisa was forced by Colletto to run parallel to the goal line. Then Apisa was slowed down by Grider. Finally, Stiles ran full speed and threw himself into Apisa. Although Apisa knocked Stiles unconscious, Stiles' sacrifice kept Apisa out of the end zone. The Spartans then tried an onside kick but UCLA recovered.
"We fell victim to the distractions," Juday later said at a 2015 reunion.
- UCLA – Gary Beban, 1-yard run. Kurt Zimmerman converts.
- UCLA – Beban, 1-yard run. Zimmerman converts.
- MSU – Bob Apisa, 38-yard run. Juday's pass failed.
- MSU – Juday, 1-yard run. Apisa run failed.
|Team Stats||UCLA||Michigan St.|
|Net Yards Rushing||65||204|
|Net Yards Passing||147||110|
Back in 1966, the final UPI Coaches' poll was taken before the bowl games so Michigan State retained its #1 ranking in the UPI. The AP would take an official post-bowl vote for the first ever following the 1965 season. Alabama, ranked #4 and led by quarterback Steve Sloan and with a record of 8–1–1, handed undefeated and #3 ranked Nebraska a 39–28 loss in the Orange Bowl; the Crimson Tide was subsequently voted #1 in the AP with Michigan State falling to #2. UCLA ended up ranked #4 AP, #5 UPI.
In a 1995 vote of the greatest moments in Los Angeles sports history, Bob Stiles' stop of Bob Apisa on the goal line ranked #26. The defeat of USC in the UCLA–USC rivalry game to get to the Rose Bowl ranked #35.
Prothro would never be able to bring the Bruins to the Rose Bowl again. In 1966, the USC Trojans were voted in ahead of the Bruins despite UCLA's 14–7 win over USC. In the 1967 USC vs. UCLA football game, a spectacular run by O.J. Simpson would give USC the bid and the National Championship. In the 1969 USC–UCLA football game, a battle of undefeated teams, USC would again prevail, 14–12.
- Future UCLA head coach Terry Donahue was a 195-pound defensive lineman for UCLA.
- Dallas Grider, who recovered the 2nd quarter onside kick that led to UCLA's second touchdown in the Rose Bowl, also recovered the onside kick in the UCLA–USC game that led to the Bruins' winning touchdown.
- Tommy Prothro became the first coach to take two different schools to the Rose Bowl, and he did it in successive seasons. Prothro guided Oregon State to the 1965 Rose Bowl. It was also Prothro's last Rose Bowl appearance. The AAWU conference voted 7–3 USC (a team 9–1 UCLA had beaten 14–7) in over the Bruins in 1966.
- Prothro was a quarterback for Duke University in the 1942 Rose Bowl.
- This was UCLA's first Rose Bowl win after five losses. It was Michigan State's first loss after two wins, both over UCLA.
- This game began a streak of West Coast dominance in the Rose Bowl as Pac-8/Pac-10 teams would win all but four of the next 22 Rose Bowls, often as the underdog.
- Both teams wore their home color uniforms, Michigan State in green jerseys, and UCLA in powder blue jerseys.
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- Zimmerman, Paul - BEBAN PULLS THE TRIGGER, AND PRESTO!... ...Prothro's in the Rose Bowl Again It's Bombs Away! Bruins Win, 20-16. Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1965. Like a badly mauled fighter getting up off the floor, UCLA's fantastic football team came from behind to defeat USC 20 to 16 before 94,085 unbelieving fans at Memorial Coliseum Saturday.
- Murray, Jim - Roses... and Thorns. Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1965 A terrible thing happened to the UCLA Bruins in the Coliseum Saturday afternoon. They won the right to go to the Rose Bowl—an invitation to bleed. Shows you what trouble a couple of simple mistakes can get you.
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- White, Lonnie – Kurt Altenberg, 61; Ex-Bruin’s Touchdown Beat USC in 1965. Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2005