Score by Quarters
Call this Rose Bowl Game a story of firsts and lasts.
It was the first Rose Bowl Game – make that the first college football game – televised in living color. And, that NBC audience, along with the 100,251 in attendance, watched Minnesota quarterback Sandy Stephens become the first African-American to win the game’s MVP award.
None of them knew it at the time, but entering the 2008 season, Minnesota’s 21-3 victory over UCLA would be the first AND last Rose Bowl Game victory for the Golden Gophers, who haven’t been back to Pasadena since. The 47-year gap is the longest among Big Ten Conference teams.
In 1962, however, Minnesota was concerned with another “last” – avenging its last Rose Bowl Game appearance: a 17-7 loss to Washington in the 1961 game that brought a flurry of criticism from West Coast writers about the “overrated” Gophers.
Overrated or not, those Gophers were surprised to even get back to Pasadena. Minnesota finished second to Ohio State in the Big Ten, but the Faculty Council at Ohio State declined the Rose Bowl Game bid. The Gophers gladly took their place.
“I think last year’s Rose Bowl experience definitely helped to put our veterans at ease,” Minnesota Coach Murray Warmath said. “There’s no doubt this experience is to your advantage once you get on the playing field.”
And there’s no doubt that having a defensive tackle like All-American Bobby Bell is to your advantage. Bell, who would later play in two Super Bowls for the Kansas City Chiefs, anchored a defense that held UCLA’s Pleistocene Era single-wing offense to 34 running plays, eight pass attempts, 109 yards of total offense and eight first downs.
Stephens accounted for more than that by himself. He was an efficient 7 of 11 for 75 yards through the air and added 46 yards on 12 carries on the ground.
“Stephens was outstanding. He hurt us, but they have great balance,” UCLA Coach Bill Barnes said.
“Stephens deserved the most valuable award he won,” Warmath said. “He demonstrated that he’s a great player. His best attribute is his tremendous head – he’s the smartest quarterback I’ve ever been associated with.”
Even with Stephens’ brains and Minnesota’s balance, the Bruins struck first. They earned three of their eight first downs on the game’s opening drive, which culminated in Bob Smith’s 28-yard field goal.
It would be UCLA’s high-water mark. On their ensuing possession, the Gophers marched 66 yards on 10 plays, capping the drive with Stephens’ 1-yard plunge.
Bill Munsey added another touchdown midway through the second quarter on a drive highlighted by Stephens’ 3-yard quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1. Late in the game, Stephens guided Minnesota on a 19-play, 84-yard drive he capped with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Gophers had their Rose Bowl Game revenge. Forty-seven years and counting, it will have to suffice.
UCLA – Smith, 28-yard field goal
Minn – Stephens, 1-yard run (Loechler kick good)
Minn – Munsey, 3-yard run (Loechler kick good)
Minn – Stephens, 2-yard run (Loechler kick good)
UCLA: William F. Barnes
Minnesota: Murray Warmath
The 1962 Rose Bowl Game was the first college football game to broadcast nationally in color.
Minn: Stephens 12-46; Dickson 12-45; Munsey 10-41; Cairns 7-38; Jones 9-31
UCLA: Alexander 10-48; Thompson 6-12; B. Smith 10-8; Haffner 5-7
Minn: Stephens 7-11-75
UCLA: Singleton 2-2-18
Alexander (U) 3-26-0; Cairns (M) 2-24-0; Zeno (U) 1-14-0; Hauck (U) 1-12-0.