1974 Rose Bowl

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1974 Rose Bowl
60th Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
Ohio State 771315 42
USC 31170 21
Date January 1, 1974
Season 1973
Stadium Rose Bowl
Location Pasadena, California
MVP Cornelius Greene
(Ohio State QB)
Favorite Ohio State by 2 points[1]
Attendance 105,267
United States TV coverage
Network NBC
Announcers Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis
Rose Bowl
 < 1973  1975

The 1974 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1974. It was the 60th Rose Bowl Game. The Ohio State Buckeyes of the Big Ten Conference defeated the USC Trojans of the Pacific-8 Conference, 42–21.[2][3][4]


Ohio State Buckeyes[edit]

The Ohio State Buckeyes began the 1973 season ranked third and went undefeated, with a tie. They were led by tailback Archie Griffin on offense and a defense that held its opponents to less than 100 yards per game of total offense. Going into the showdown at #4 Michigan, they had risen to #1 by outscoring their first nine opponents 361–33, including three straight shutouts of Northwestern, Illinois, and Michigan State.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines then battled to a 10–10 tie, making it uncertain who would win the vote among Big Ten athletic directors to determine the league's Rose Bowl representative. Although the Big Ten had done away with its "no repeat" rule a year earlier, many projected that Michigan would win the vote since Ohio State had gone to Pasadena the prior year. But Michigan starting quarterback Dennis Franklin had broken his collarbone late in the Ohio State game; perhaps influenced by the injury, the athletic directors voted 6–4 to send Ohio State to the Rose Bowl. Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler called it a gross injustice.

USC Trojans[edit]

USC was the defending national champion and began the season ranked first. But a 7–7 tie vs. Oklahoma and a 23–14 loss to Notre Dame dropped the Trojans to #9. They then needed a miracle comeback to beat Stanford 27–26, getting a touchdown and field goal sandwiched around an onside kick in the last minute of the game. They went into the Rose Bowl decider as a slight underdog against #8 UCLA, but forced six turnovers and knocked off the Bruins 23–13.

Scoring summary[edit]

First quarter[edit]

  • USC – Chris Limahelu, 47-yard field goal
  • OSU - Pete Johnson, 1-yard run (Blair Conway kick good)

Second quarter[edit]

  • USC - Limahelu, 42-yard field goal
  • USC - Mckay, 10-yard pass from Davis (Haden pass to Mckay 2-point conversion)
  • OSU – Johnson, 1-yard run (Blair Conway kick good)

Third quarter[edit]

  • USC - Davis, 1-yard run (Limahelu kick good)
  • OSU - Johnson 4-yard run (kick blocked)
  • OSU - Greene, 1-yard run (Blair Conway kick good)

Fourth quarter[edit]

  • OSU - Elia, 2-yard run, (Greene 2-point conversion)
  • OSU - Griffin, 47-yard run (Blair Conway kick good)


Game notes[edit]

Similar to the previous year, the game was tied at halftime, then dominated by the victor in the second half. USC regined the lead briefly in the third quarter, then Ohio State scored four unanswered touchdowns to win 42–21.[2][3]

Kicker Chris Limahelu's 47-yard field goal was the longest ever by a Trojan, breaking a 64-year-old record. Limahelu, 59, died of prostate cancer on April 7, 2010. This would be the last time Ohio State defeated USC until 2017, when they won that season's Cotton Bowl. USC won the next 7 meeting from 1974-2009, including 3 Rose Bowl victories.

This was the second of three consecutive Rose Bowls involving these two teams; USC won the other two. This Big Ten win stopped a four-game streak by the Pac-8 (later Pac-10), which won the next six for eleven in twelve years.


  1. ^ "Rose". Lakeland Ledger. (Florida). Associated Press. January 1, 1974. p. 1B. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ohio State gets Rose Bowl revenge". Lakeland Ledger. (Florida). Associated Press. January 2, 1974. p. 1B. 
  3. ^ a b "Buckeyes get barrel of revenge". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. January 2, 1974. p. 36. 
  4. ^ Rose Bowl 1955 Archived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine., from RoseBowlHistory.com.