Score by Quarters
USC Trojans tailback Charles White proved he was the best college football player of the year when his team relied on the Heisman Trophy winner for its fourth quarter comeback in the 1980 Rose Bowl Game, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run. The final drive was all White with the star gaining 71 yards on the 83-yard winning drive.
Trailing 16-10 in the final quarter, USC was in a do-or-die position, having to score a touchdown to tie and convert the extra point for the win. Ohio State was unable to run the clock out with its running game being stopped by the men of Troy defense.
The Buckeyes, like the flu White was battling, could not stop him; he scorched the Ohio State defense with runs of 32 and 28 yards. White would get the ball six times on the eight-play drive, diving into the end zone from the 1-yard line to tie the game. The extra point attempt by Eric Hipp was good.
With 1:32 left in the game, Ohio State abandoned its run-oriented offense and chose to pass. Quarterback Art Schlichter tried to find split end Gary Williams but was picked off by Ronnie Lott to crush the Buckeyes’ hopes of a comeback and a Rose Bowl Game victory.
“Charlie White is the greatest football player I’ve ever seen,” USC Head Coach John Robinson said. “If there is any doubt left in anybody’s mind, then let them look at the fourth quarter. His dominance on that touchdown drive was amazing. It would have been crazy to give the ball to anyone else.”
Heading into halftime, the score was tied 10-10, with both teams scoring field goals and both quarterbacks – Ohio State’s Schlichter and USC’s Paul McDonald – both throwing for touchdown passes. USC stopped the Buckeyes in the second quarter when Lott prevented Schlichter from entering the end zone on a fourth-down run around the right end. Ohio State’s gamble had failed.
“If I had gone for a field goal there, it might have been the difference,” Ohio State Head Coach Earle Bruce said. “But I thought we had scored the touchdown twice. I thought we went for too many field goals and not enough touchdowns overall, but if I had to do it all over again, I’d sure as hell kick a field goal in that situation.”
Ohio State took an early third-quarter lead, adding another field goal and scoring another three points in its first fourth-quarter possession. The Trojans began to run out of time, going for it on fourth down with McDonald overthrowing his receiver in the corner of the end zone. Luckily, the Trojan defense prevented Ohio State from running the clock out.
After the game Robinson made his claim for USC’s bid for the national championship.
“Obviously, we deserve consideration for the national championship now. So does Alabama. We played a great football team that was ranked No. 1 going into the game in dramatic fashion. We have not been defeated this year and we played a difficult schedule.”
USC – Hipp, 41-yard field goal
USC – K. Williams, 53-yard pass from McDonald (Hipp kick good)
OSU – Janakievski, 35-yard field goal
OSU – Murray, 67-yard pass from Schlichter (Janakievski kick good)
OSU – Janakievski, 37-yard field goal
OSU – Janakievski, 24-yard field goal
USC – White, 1-yard run (Hipp kick good)
Ohio State: Charles White
USC: John Robinson
In the 1980 Rose Bowl Game, USC running back and Heisman Trophy winner Charles White set a Rose Bowl Game record for most yards gained (247 yards), behind the blocking of future NFL Hall of Fame lineman Anthony Munoz. White gained 70 of the 83 yards for USC on the final drive of the game to give the Trojans the victory.
OSU: Volley 2-6; Campbell 5-12; Murray 18-73; Spencer 4-15; Hicks 2-15
USC: C. White 39-247; Hayes 3-8; Allen 9-43
OSU: Schlichter 11-21-297
USC: P. McDonald 11-24-234
OSU: Murray 2-31; Williams 3-131; Donley 4-110; Volley 1-4; Hicks 1-21
USC: K. Williams 2-70; C White 2-7; Garcia 2-57; Allen 2-41; Butler 2-45; Brenner 1-14
OSU: Orosz 3-130
USC: Pryor 1-52