Score by Quarters
In their two previous Rose Bowl Games, Wallace Wade and the Alabama Crimson Tide had come from behind, edging Washington, 20-19, in 1926, in one of the greatest Rose Bowl Games ever played, and earning an unlikely 7-7 tie with Stanford off a fourth-quarter blocked punt in 1927.
However, in the Tide’s third trip, in 1931, there was no suspense or come-from-behind heroics; it was just a shellacking.
“The game marked Alabama’s third appearance in Pasadena’s yearly classic,” wrote Paul Lowry, sports editor of the Los Angeles Times, “and like the old nursery jingle, ‘first the best, second the same, third the best of all the game,’ so the Crimson Tide’s latest performance was the greatest.”
The Crimson Tide rushed for 21 points in the second quarter – much like its 20-point third quarter in 1926 that spelled defeat for a stunned Washington team – and another field goal in the third to win, 24-0.
“Probably only one thing could have saved the Cougars,” wrote the legendary Braven Dyer in the Los Angeles Times, “and that might have been a heavy rainfall. But the Tide came instead and reached its high-water mark … suddenly in the second quarter.”
The second-quarter drive chart looks like a see-saw that an elephant plopped down on at Washington State’s end.
Alabama used an unpredictable offense, mixing up the air and ground attacks to confuse an ever-backpedaling Cougar defense.
“The Tide took the ball, hid it in Davey Jones’ locker so that the Cougars couldn’t discover it and then caused it to reappear behind the goal line,” Dyer wrote. “There was deception and sleight-of-hand hokus-pokus going on that mystified the Cougars…. It would have taken an argus-eyed Cougar to keep track of that pigskin yesterday.”
It was a six-minute, 21-point cloud of dust. First, with the ball on the Alabama 39-yard line, Jimmy Moore “spun a 43-yard trail of skywriting with a smoking hot pass to ‘Flash’ Suther,” wrote Rose Bowl historian Maxwell Stiles, and Suther took it the other 18 yards for the score.
Then, after an interception, Alabama struck again. This time, on the Washington State 41-yard line, Moore whizzed a ball to Ben Smith, who grabbed it away from three Cougar defenders at the 1-yard line. “Monk” Campbell took it in for the score, 14-0.
Finally, after receiving the ensuing kickoff, Washington State almost immediately punted, and Campbell returned the ball 9 yards back into Cougar territory. On the second play, “Monk” broke through for 43 yards and the third touchdown: 21-0, Crimson Tide.
It was a sound, all-around defeat. Alabama ran for 232 yards and passed for 101 for a total of 333. Washington State only mustered 204 total yards, most of which were in harmless areas of the field. Overall, Washington State was thoroughly unable to answer the Crimson Tide, fumbling its only real scoring chance on the Alabama 1-yard line.
Ala – Suther, 61-yard pass from Moore (Campbell kick good)
Ala – Campbell, 1-yard run (Campbell kick good)
Ala – Campbell, 43-yard run (Campbell kick good)
Ala – Whitworth, 30-yard field goal
Alabama: Wade Wallace
Washington State: Babe Hollingbery
The Washington State Cougars, in a psychological stunt, came out on the field dressed completely in red from head to toe. Their helmets, jerseys, pants, socks and shoes were red.
Ala: Campbell 13-114
WSU: Lainhart 7-68; Schwartz 11-44
Ala: Moore 2-8-101 yards
WSU: Jones 6-17-3 64 yards
Ala: Suther 2-101 yards, 1 TD
WSU: Sander 3-51; Shaw 1-13