Score by Quarters
The 1970 Rose Bowl Game was a defensive struggle between the USC Trojans and the Michigan Wolverines. The Trojans would prove to be the tougher team on this New Year’s Day, as they beat Michigan, 10-3, scoring the only touchdown of the game late in the third quarter.
At halftime, the score was 3-3, with both teams attempting to run the other into the ground, but their rushing attacks all but failed.
“For 55 minutes, it seemed a waste of time to blow up the football,” said legendary Los Angeles Times’ columnist Jim Murray. “They could have played the game with a stale loaf of bread. It was as atavistic as a fight in a tar pit between two woolly mammoths. Each team appeared to think it could run on the other, although anybody who thinks he could run on the Trojan line that calls itself The Wild Bunch must have been running its films backwards.”
The USC defense held the high-powered maize and blue attack to only three points – a team that had averaged close to 35 points a game, had only been held scoreless in nine quarters of its 10-game season, and had previously scored 147 points in its four previous Rose Bowl Games.
“We felt USC moved the ball better than Ohio State throughout the game,” Michigan Assistant Coach Jim Young said. “And they showed us a stronger defense than we had met before.”
With Michigan missing its head coach, Bo Schembechler, who had suffered a mild heart attack earlier in the week, the Michigan offense was unable to match USC’s one big play in the third quarter, sticking strictly to the run. With less than three minutes to play, USC quarterback Jimmy Jones threw to Bob Chandler, who scampered and outraced the Michigan secondary for a 33-yard touchdown.
“It was the biggest catch of my career,” Chandler, also the game’s MVP, said. “I just ran a straight pattern, felt an arm on my waist. Somehow the tackler slipped off.”
USC finished the year undefeated with one tie, missing being crowned national champions.
“We are the most criticized 10 game-winning team in football history without question,” said USC Head Coach John McKay. “Texas is undefeated. We never made a claim to it (the national championship); I made up a plaque and gave it to our team last week.”
Schembechler’s absence from the team sparked debate about Michigan’s play. Perhaps Schembechler would have made different adjustments than his staff or would have provided a motivating halftime speech.
“Bo Schembechler’s absence from the game was a tremendous blow to all of us,” Young said. “The team did a terrific job under the circumstances. We lost Bo as the leader and who knows how much that meant to us….
“USC played basically the same football that they played all year. But good football teams don’t have to change their style of play. Our inability to stop USC from moving the ball and our inability to score on two occasions when we had the opportunity, seemed to be the difference in the game.”
Clear; 70 degrees
USC – Ayala, 25-yard field goal
Mich – Killian, 20-yard field goal
USC – Chandler, 33-yard pass from Jones (Ayala kick good)
Michigan: Bo Schembechler
USC: John McKay
In 1970, the Trojans made their fourth consecutive Rose Bowl Game appearance, one of only two teams to accomplish that feat.
USC: Davis 15-76; Evans 6-28; Berry 23-65; Jones 7-17; Covington 2-9
Mich: Taylor 18-56; Craw 6-15; Morehead18-60; Scheffler 9-29; Gabler 2-2
USC: Jones 10-17-128
Mich: Morehead 14-32-127
USC: DeKraai 3-27; Evans 3-15; Davis 1-8; Chandler 3-78
Mich: Mandich 8-79; Oldham 2-19; Harris 1-12; Craw 1-4; B. Taylor 1-6; Hankwitz 1-7
USC: Ayala 5-203
Mich: Weaver 6-217