Score by Quarters
In the 1998 Rose Bowl Game, Michigan entered the contest with its first national title in 51 years on the line. Although the Wolverines would win it, Washington State didn’t make it easy.
Michigan quarterback Brian Griese earned Player of the Game honors after completing 18 of 30 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. His counterpart, Ryan Leaf, racked up 331 yards passing, the fifth-highest total in Rose Bowl Game history, but the Washington State ground attack couldn’t complement the air performance, mustering just 67 yards against the nation’s top defense (partly explained by an injury to standout back Michael Black in the first quarter). Michigan won, 21-16.
“I don’t know if I believe in fate,” said an emotional Griese, who won 31 years after his dad, Bob, led Purdue to a Rose Bowl Game title. “I believe in never giving up, and I wanted to come back and be a part of this team. I guess it is destiny, but it is up to you to make it.”
It must have been destiny, as Leaf had a chance to take the national championship away from Griese and his Wolverines.
Down 21-16, Leaf took the ball on the Washington State 7-yard line with 29 seconds to play. For most quarterbacks, 93 yards in 29 seconds would seem like a tall order, but for Leaf: “…the funny thing is, we all figured Ryan Leaf was even-money to get it done,” wrote Steve Kelley in the Seattle Times.
Leaf went to work, connecting with Nian Taylor for a gain of 46 yards. Seventeen seconds left. Then, after a delay of game penalty, Leaf connected with Love Jefferson at the Michigan 25. Jefferson lateraled to Jason Clayton, who ran out of bounds at the Michigan 16 with two seconds left. However, the clock expired before Washington State could spike the ball, a controversial call that echoed in the media center afterward.
“I thought it was an official’s mistake,” said Washington State Head Coach Mike Price. “We thought about throwing the ball, but we thought we had two seconds.”
However, even though the last second of the game might have been the most highly publicized, in the other 3,599, Michigan simply made the plays, and Washington State didn’t.
Griese’s three touchdowns were on throws of 53, 58 and 23 yards, and Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson came up with a timely interception of a Leaf pass in the end zone.
In the 52nd and final year of the exclusive Big Ten-Pac 10 Rose Bowl Game agreement before the conferences and Rose Bowl Game entered the Bowl Championship Series, the Michigan victory evened the series between the leagues at 26-26.
Hazy; 75 degrees
WSU – McKenzie, 15-yard pass from Leaf (Lindell kick good)
Mich – Streets, 53-yard pass from Griese (Baker kick good)
WSU – Tims, 14-yard run (Lindell kick blocked)
Mich – Streets, 58-yard pass from Griese (Baker kick good)
Mich – Tuman, 23-yard pass from Griese (Baker kick good)
WSU – Lindell, 48-yard field goal
Washington State: Mike Price
Michigan: Lloyd Carr
In 1997, Washington State returned to the Rose Bowl Game after 67 years away.
WSU: Black 7-24; Gilmore 8-20; Tims 1-14; Leaf 10-6; Clayton 2-3
Mich: Howard 19-70; Thomas 7-20; Floyd 5-17; Griese 7-13; Woodson 2-6; Williams 1-2
WSU: Leaf 17-35-331
Mich: Griese 18-30-251
WSU: Jackson 5-89; McKenzie 5-78; McWashington 2-41; Tims 2-9; Taylor 1-46; Gilmore 1-42; Jefferson 1-8
Mich: Shaw 6-49; Streets 4-127; Tuman 2-33; Howard 2-13; Thomas 1-14; Woodson 1-7; Campbell 1-7; Williams 1-1
WSU: Banks 6-242
Mich: Vinson 5-160; Feely 1-23