Score by Quarters
Led by future NFL Coach Dick Vermeil, the UCLA Bruins beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 1976 Rose Bowl Game, 23-10, giving the Bruins their second Rose Bowl Game victory after losing their five previous attempts.
Ohio State scored the only points of the first half, taking the first drive of the game down to the 25-yard line and having to settle for a field goal. The rest of the first half was a defensive standoff.
“Imagine a team that gained only 9 yards rushing and 39 yards passing in the first 30 minutes coming back from intermission to destroy the nation’s No. 1 undefeated team with three spectacular touchdowns and a field goal,” wrote Joe Hendrickson of the Pasadena Star-News.
“We didn’t have any pep talks at halftime,” UCLA Head Coach Dick Vermeil said. “We knew that we were fortunate to be trailing only 3-0 after our weak offensive performance in the first half. But the players also knew that we could win the ball game. We spent the whole intermission period making technical adjustments.”
UCLA later got on the board with a field goal of its own on the opening drive of the second half. Ohio State’s opening drive stalled and forced the Buckeyes to punt, giving the ball back to the Bruins. The UCLA offense wasted no time capping a six-play drive for a touchdown on a pass from quarterback John Sciarra to Wally Henry. UCLA missed the extra point but earned its first lead of the day, 9-3.
“In the first half, Ohio State used a lot of man-to-man coverage, and we were too greedy in trying to complete long passes,” Vermeil said. “We changed up at halftime and settled for a lot more of the shorter patterns.”
Sciarra found Henry in the end zone later in the third quarter, giving the Bruins a 13-point lead, 16-3. The Buckeyes took their opening fourth-quarter drive to the end zone, scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run. But the Bruins didn’t settle in the fourth quarter, scoring another field goal and having Tyler scamper down the sidelines for a 54-yard touchdown run, 23-10. Ohio State was stuck playing catch-up the rest of the quarter.
Ohio State Head Coach Woody Hayes kept his post-game comments brief, telling reporters, “UCLA simply played a great game. They just beat us.”
Sciarra was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, completing 13 of 19 passes for two touchdowns. Many scouts had written Sciarra off, saying he couldn’t pass well enough to become a quarterback in professional football; his play proved otherwise.
After the game, Vermeil expressed his opinion on his team being better than Cal, who many writers thought should have earned the Rose Bowl trip.
“I thought a couple of the Northern California writers were way out of line in some of the things they said,” Vermeil said. “I don’t know their names, but I would like to now tell them to go to hell because they were the ones who said we didn’t belong here.”
Clear, slight wind; 60 degrees
OSU – Klaban, 42-yard field goal
UCLA – White, 33-yard field goal
UCLA – Henry, 16-yard pass from Sciarra (White kick failed)
UCLA – Henry, 67-yard pass from Sciarra (White kick good)
OSU – Johnson, 3-yard run (Klaban kick good)
UCLA – Tyler, 54-yard run (White kick good)
UCLA: Dick Vermeil
Ohio State: Woody Hayes
In 1976, OSU running back Archie Griffin became the only player to start in four consecutive Rose Bowl Games. The game also featured UCLA coach Dick Vermeil, who would later coach in two Super Bowls.
OSU: Griffin 17-93; Johnson 19-70; Greene 15-45
UCLA: Tyler 21-172; Ayers 12-36; Henry 1-10; Thomas 1-2; Zaby 1-1
OSU: Greene 7-18-90
UCLA: Sciarra 13-19-212
OSU: Willis 1-21; Baschnagel 3-26; A. Griffin 1-12; Johnson 1-12; Kain 1-19
UCLA: Henry 5-113; Pederson 2-26; Walker 2-24; N. Anderson 3-39; Reece 1-10
OSU: Sladany 5-236
UCLA: Sullivam 5-197