1972 Rose Bowl
|1972 Rose Bowl|
|58th Rose Bowl Game|
|Date||January 1, 1972|
|MVP||Don Bunce (Stanford QB)|
|Favorite||Michigan by 10½|
|Referee||Jerry Markbreit (Big Ten)
(split crew between Big 10 and Pac-8)
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis|
The 1972 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on Saturday, January 1, 1972, in Pasadena, California. It was the 58th Rose Bowl Game, and the Stanford Indians defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 13–12. The MVP was Stanford quarterback Don Bunce.
Michigan started their season with a 21-6 win over #20 Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois. They rose to #3 by winning their next 8 games by a combined score of 358-40, including three straight shutouts over Virginia, UCLA, and Navy. But the Wolverines were almost caught looking ahead to their showdown with Ohio State, and escaped with a 20-17 win at Purdue. They then beat the Buckeyes 10-7 to finish as undefeated Big 10 champions. It was the Wolverines' first undefeated regular season since 1948, and they were making their second appearance in the Rose Bowl under third-year coach Bo Schembechler.
The Indians had won the previous year's Rose Bowl behind the heroics of Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, who had graduated. Plunkett's backup Don Bunce, running back Jackie Brown, and the "Thunderchickens" defense, led Indians to an 8–3 record and a return appearance in the Rose Bowl. Stanford's key wins came against Dan Fouts and Oregon (38–17), at USC (33–18), and at 11th-ranked Washington (17–6). However, they were caught looking ahead to the Rose Bowl decider vs. rival California, and were upset by San Jose State 13–12, in a game that saw their kicker Rod Garcia miss all five kicks; four field goal attempts and an extra point try. They rebounded and ended the regular season with a 14–0 shutout over archrival California. This was also the last football game that Stanford would play as the "Indians." The following season, Stanford changed their nickname from "Indians" to "Cardinals" (later the "Cardinal" in 1981), referring to the school's primary color.
Michigan came into the game ranked third, but had little hope of winning the national championship as #1 Nebraska was facing #2 Alabama in the Orange Bowl (eventually won by Nebraska, 38-6). The game was the first Rose Bowl meeting between the two schools since the inaugural Rose Bowl in 1902, in which Michigan crushed Stanford, 49–0. In the 1972 rematch, Michigan was favored by 10½ points. The game started slowly as rain the previous week had made the turf soggy and both teams showed stout defense. In the first quarter, Stanford placekicker Rod Garcia attempted field goals from 52 and 55 yards, but missed both. Michigan kicker Dana Coin made a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter for the only score in the first half. In the first series of the second half, Stanford stopped the Wolverines on 4th and 1 at Stanford's 4-yard line, then marched down to tie the game on Garcia's 42-yard field goal.
As the fourth quarter began, Michigan's Fritz Seyferth scored on a one-yard dive to put Michigan up 10–3. After Stanford got the ball back, they faced fourth and ten from their own 33. Coach Ralston called for a fake punt, with Jim Kehl receiving the snap and handing the ball forward to Jackie Brown through Brown's legs. Brown ran 33 yards for a first down, and followed up a minute later with a 24-yard touchdown run to tie the game.
Late in the fourth quarter, Michigan recovered a Stanford fumble near midfield. Facing fourth down with time running down, the Wolverines attempted a 46-yard field goal. The kick was short and right, and Stanford safety Jim Ferguson caught the ball and attempted to run it out of the end zone. He advanced to the seven but cut to the center and retreated; he was knocked back into the end zone by Ed Shuttlesworth for a controversial Michigan safety, as replays seemed to show that Ferguson's forward progress was to the 3-yard line. The official that made the call was back judge William Quimby of the Big Ten. This made the score 12–10 with just over three minutes to play, and Michigan due to get the ball on a free kick.
Following the free kick from the twenty, Michigan started from their own 45; they kept the ball on the ground but the Indians held for a three-and-out, and Stanford called a timeout prior to the punt. They got the ball back on their own 22-yard line with 1:48 to go. Bunce then threw five consecutive completions to take Stanford to the Michigan 17 with 22 seconds left. The Indians ran two more running plays followed by timeouts to get to the 14-yard-line with 16 seconds left, and Garcia successfully kicked a 31-yard field goal to give Stanford a 13–12 upset.
- Michigan – Dana Coin 30-yard field goal, 10:15
- Stanford – Rod Garcia 42-yard field goal, 5:40
- Michigan – Fritz Seyferth 1-yard run (Coin kick), 13:01
- Stanford – Jackie Brown 24-yard run (Garcia kick), 6:29
- Michigan – Safety: Ed Shuttlesworth tackled Jim Ferguson, 3:18
- Stanford – Garcia 31-yard field goal, 0:12
This was the final Rose Bowl contested under the Big Ten's "no-repeat" policy, which prohibited conference teams from appearing in the game in back-to-back seasons. The no-repeat rule was repealed December 9, 1971.
Bunce finished 24 of 44 for 290 yards and was named the game's MVP. He played one year of professional football in the Canadian Football League before leaving football to become a successful orthopedic surgeon, eventually serving as team doctor for Stanford's football team from 1982 to 1992. The game was the last football game Stanford played as the "Indians", becoming the "Cardinals" the following year before eventually becoming the singular "Cardinal" (the color) by 1981. Stanford would not return to the Rose Bowl until 2000 and did not win another Rose Bowl until 2013.
Two Indians were top 10 selections in the 1972 NFL Draft. Offensive tackle Greg Sampson went sixth overall to the Houston Oilers, and linebacker Jeff Siemon went 10th to the Minnesota Vikings. Siemon was the Vikings' starting middle linebacker in three Super Bowl losses (VIII, IX and XI) and played 11 seasons for the club. Sampson played seven seasons in Houston and had a role in the 1974 film The Longest Yard.
Ralston departed Palo Alto shortly after the Rose Bowl to accept the head coaching position of the National Football League's Denver Broncos. The Broncos did not make the playoffs during any of Ralston's five seasons (1972–1976), but he acquired many of the players who formed the nucleus of Denver's legendary "Orange Crush" defense which led the franchise to Super Bowl XII under rookie coach Red Miller in 1977. Under Ralston, the Broncos experienced their first winning season, a 7–5–2 campaign in 1973.
Michigan fell to sixth in the AP poll, trailing three schools from the Big Eight Conference (Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado), Alabama, and Penn State. The Wolverines did not play in a bowl game in 1972, 1973, or 1974, despite a regular season record of 30–2–1 in that period. Michigan was done in (a) by an 0–2–1 record vs. Ohio State, with the losses, both in Columbus, by a combined five points, and (b) the Big Ten's "Rose Bowl or No Bowl" policy, also observed by the Pac-8, which was rescinded before the 1975 season. This allowed an 8–1–2 Michigan team (which again lost to Ohio State) the opportunity to play in the Orange Bowl. The Wolverines and Buckeyes tied 10-10 in 1973, but Ohio State received the Rose Bowl berth on a 6–4 vote of Big Ten athletic directors.
Schembechler's Wolverines returned to three consecutive Rose Bowls from 1977 to 1979, but lost all three (by 8, 7, and 7 points). In 1981, the Wolverines finally won their first bowl game under the legendary coach. Fittingly, Schembechler's 21-year career at Michigan ended with a loss in the 1990 Rose Bowl, leaving him 2-8 in the "Grandaddy Of Them All".
Referee Jerry Markbreit would later become the only man to serve as referee in four Super Bowls (XVII, XXI, XXVI and XXIX) during his 23-year NFL officiating career (1976–98), but this was his only bowl game as a college official.
- You Tube – 1972 Rose Bowl – NBC Sports telecast
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