Score by Quarters
In 1935, “a pesky bunch of southerners” from Alabama, the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Henry wrote, waltzed into the Rose Bowl with an aerial attack unlike anything anyone had ever seen and walloped Stanford’s “Vow Boys” for their second consecutive heartbreaking Rose Bowl Game loss, 29-13.
The “Vow Boys,” named for their vow as freshmen to never lose again to USC after a loss to the freshman team in 1932, were now juniors. They’d lost to Columbia, 7-0, the previous year in one of the biggest upsets in Rose Bowl Game history. Columbia used a trick play that year for the only score of the game.
In contrast, there was nothing truly tricky about Alabama’s game to speak of – they relied on the lethal, immortal connection of Dixie Howell and Don Hutson to pass for 214 yards and break the “Vow Boys.”
Stanford actually opened the scoring. Recovering a fumble on the Alabama 29-yard line, Stanford – carried by Bobby Grayson, who had rushed for an unprecedented 152 yards a year earlier, “Bones” Hamilton and “Buck” Van Dellen – thundered through the Alabama defense and marched straight to a 7-0 lead.
Then came the reinforcements.
In the entire calendar year of 1934 – including the 1934 Rose Bowl Game – this Stanford team had given up a total of 21 points. In the 13 minutes before halftime in the 1935 Rose Bowl Game, Alabama scored 22.
“Like arrows from Robin Hood’s trusty bow, there shot from Howell’s unerring hand a stream of passes the like of which have never been seen in football here on the Coast,” Henry wrote. “Zing. Zing. Zing. They whizzed through the air and found their mark in the massive maws of Hutson and Bryant, Bama ends.”
Alabama hadn’t even attempted a forward pass until the second quarter, at which point the Crimson Tide completed eight of nine passes for 150 yards.
First, Howell completed passes of 17 yards (to Hutson), 12 and 15 to put the ball on the Stanford 5-yard line. Howell took it in from there.
On their next drive, Howell and Hutson did it again. It started with a Howell pitch to Hutson for 25 yards, then a pass to Paul Bryant for 18, then to Hutson for 5, eventually setting up a field goal: 9-7, Alabama.
On the second play from scrimmage on their next possession, Howell took it 67 yards to the end zone: 16-7, Alabama.
Electing to rest Howell, Alabama put in Joe Riley, who did his best Howell impersonation: He hit Hutson for a 54-yard score to end the half – and figuratively, the game.
In total, Howell threw for 160 yards, ran for 79, and returned four kicks for 74 yards, equaling 313 all-purpose yards. Hutson caught passes for 164 yards (110 from Howell). Together, they combined for 367 yards, well more than the 288 put up by Stanford’s offense as a whole.
In 1951, Hutson, who went on to have one of the greatest NFL receiving careers in history with the Green Bay Packers – he’s still No. 8 on the all-time NFL list for career touchdown receptions – was chosen as a member of the Associated Press’s All-time, All-American team.
Stan – Grayson, 1-yard run (Moscrip kick good)
Ala – Howell, 5-yard run (Smith kick failed)
Ala – Smith, 27-yard field goal
Ala – Howell, 67-yard run (Smith kick good)
Ala – Hutson, 54-yard pass from Riley (Hutson kick failed)
Stan – Van Dellen, 12-yard run (Moscrip kick failed)
Ala – Hutson, 59-yard pass from Howell (Smith kick good)
Alabama: Frank Thomas
Stanford: Earl “Tiny” Thornhill
After a stellar Rose Bowl Game performance by Hutson, he continued to dominate in his 11 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He caught 889 passes in 118 games, an average of 7.53 per game, and scored 101 touchdowns, catching 17 one season.
Stan: Grayson 16-59, 1 TD; Van Dellen 14-63, 1 TD; Hamilton 13-59
Ala: Howell 16-79, 2 TDs; Angelich 7-41
Stan: Alustiza 5-23-92, 2 interceptions
Ala: Howell 9-12-160
Stan: Moscrip 5-92
Ala: Hutson 8-164, 2 TDs; Bryant 2-33; Gandy 4-9; Angelich 1-8