Score by Quarters
Dick Butkus. Even nearly a half-century removed from his one and only Rose Bowl Game appearance, the mention of that name conjures up an image of a snarling, near-demonic beast in helmet and shoulder pads, coiled to separate a ball carrier from his senses.
“If every college football team had a linebacker like Dick Butkus, all fullbacks would soon be three feet tall and sing soprano,” wrote Dan Jenkins in Sports Illustrated. “Dick Butkus is a special kind of brute whose particular talent is mashing runners into curious shapes.... Butkus not only hits, he crushes and squeezes opponents with thick arms that also are extremely long. At any starting point on his build, he is big, well-proportioned, and getting bigger.”
Butkus was the marquee attraction in the 1964 Rose Bowl Game that pitted his Illinois Fighting Illini against a University of Washington team making its third Rose Bowl Game appearance in five years. And behind the Butkus-led defense, Illinois held off the Huskies, 17-7.
Butkus was putting the finishing touches on a season in which he made 145 tackles, caused 10 fumbles and was named the Big Ten Conference’s MVP and an All-American. And he would make a game-clinching interception to preserve Illinois’ victory. But it was the play of fullback Jim Grabowski, who ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, that brought the Fighting Illini their last Rose Bowl Game victory to date.
“Grabowski certainly had himself an outstanding day running and deserved the Player of the Game award,” Illinois Coach Pete Elliott said.
The tone of the game changed not on the play of Butkus, nor Grabowski’s bulldozing runs off-tackle, but on the first drive of the game, when Washington quarterback Bill Douglas was knocked from the game with a dislocated knee. To that point, Douglas had driven the Huskies to the Illinois 26.
His backup, Bill Siler, drove Washington to the Illinois 6, but end Al Libke fumbled and the drive stalled.
“Douglas’ loss was not the difference, but was a determining factor,” Washington Coach Jim Owens said.
“I think it was a great misfortune for Washington to lose Douglas,” Elliott said. “We knew he was a very fine and inspirational player and he gave us a lot of trouble before his injury forced him out.”
Despite that and a broken leg that sidelined fullback Mike Kuklenski, Washington scored the game’s first points on Dave Kopay’s second-quarter 7-yard run. Siler had the Huskies on the move again late in the quarter, but his fumble on Washington’s next possession led to Jim Plankenhorn’s 32-yard field goal as the first half ended.
That would be the Huskies’ high-water mark, as Butkus and the Illini held Washington to 130 yards of total offense. Touchdown runs by Jim Warren (two yards in the third quarter) and Grabowski (one yard in the fourth) would seal matters for Illinois.
Wash – Kopay, 10-yard run (Medved kick good)
Ill – Plankenhorn, 32-yard field goal
Ill – Warren, 2-yard run (Plankenhorn kick good)
Ill – Grabowski, 1-yard run (Plankenhorn kick good)
Illinois: Pete Elliott
Washington: Jim Owens
Former President of the United States General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Tournament Grand Marshal in 1964.
Ill: Grabowski 23-125; Price 10-55; Acks 4-37; Wheatland 8-21; Warren 4-19
Wash: Kopay 4-29; Bramwell 5-22; Coffee 4-21; Medved 4-17; Douglas 3-14
Ill: Custardo 4-7-43; Taliaferro 2-8-16
Wash: Siler 6-17-46; Douglas 2-2-23
Ill: Fearn 3-24; Callaghan 1-8; Paulson 1-9; Schumacher 1-18
Wash: Libke 3-19; Mancusco 1-18; Stroud 1-19; Kopay 1-15
Ill: Taliaferro 4-156
Wash: Redman 3-129