|Score by Quarters
During the time of and preceding the 1920 Rose Bowl Game, in addition to being the academic powerhouse it is to this day, Harvard was also a football powerhouse. The Crimson consistently fielded powerful, quick teams decorated heartily with All-American talent.
So it was no wonder that, in 1920, the East relied on them to restore the tarnished image of the Right Coast’s recent stranglehold over the Rose Bowl Game. Except for the war years of 1918 and 1919, the West had won both Rose Bowl Games since its resurgence in 1916 – it was a ho-hum victory in 1916 over a mediocre Brown team, but the 1917 drubbing of the fourth-ranked Eastern team from Pennsylvania sent those back east, back on their heels.
Wrote Clyde Bruckman of the Los Angeles Examiner, “When the Crimson eleven goes against Oregon at 2:45 this afternoon, the East will be making a last, desperate stand against the West. Harvard will bear the burden of wiping out the blotch placed on Eastern football by the defeats handed out to Brown and Penn.”
After 60 minutes of football, both teams left without embarrassment, Harvard winning, 7-6. For Harvard, it was validation of an undefeated season and vindication for the East; and for Oregon, it was a hard-fought, close game against a special Crimson team that the Lemon Yellow missed winning by inches and outran the Crimson, 272 yards to 146.
Oregon opened the scoring with a 25-yard field goal, but it could have been six points. On the Harvard 15-yard line, Bill Steers connected on a pass at the 4-yard line. However, the field judge said the play didn’t get off before the end of the quarter, and his gun wouldn’t go off to signal time expiring. So, instead of first and goal from the 4, they had third and seven from the 15 and settled for a Steers drop-kick field goal.
Shortly thereafter, Harvard put together a stunning drive that included two completed first-down passes of 20 and 10 yards to All-American Eddie Casey to keep the drive alive. It was capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by speedy Fred Church, who made the heady play of touching the ball down in the middle of the end zone instead of the side, as, during this time, the extra point had to be kicked from a point corresponding with where the ball was touched down. This made the extra point – and ultimately the game-winning point – easy for Arnold Horween.
Helped by a 15-yard penalty, 128-pound “Skeet” Manerud, believed to be the smallest player ever to play in the Rose Bowl Game, kicked a 30-yard field goal to pull the Lemon Yellow to within one, and they’d get a chance to win it.
In the final quarter, Oregon gained the ball on the Crimson 18-yard line. A tired running game couldn’t crack a surprisingly-fresh Harvard line, and Oregon was forced to attempt a 25-yard field goal. “Skeet’s” kick was so close “that the Harvard players threw their headgear on the turf, figuring they had lost,” wrote Rose Bowl historian Maxwell Stiles. “The scorekeeper at the other end of the field put ‘9’ up on the scoreboard for Oregon.”
However, it sailed wide by a foot, and Harvard held on to win. Oregon’s Hollis Huntington, who starred in the 1918 wartime contest, put together his best day in three Rose Bowl Games – 122 yards on 29 carries.
62 and partly sunny
Ore – Steers, 25-yard drop-kick field goal
Harv – Church, 13-yard run (A. Horween kick good)
Ore – Manerud, 30-yard drop-kick field goal
Oregon: Charles “Shy” Huntington
Harvard: Bob Fisher
Oregon coach Charles “Shy” Huntington starred for Oregon when they won the 1917 Rose Bowl Game, beating Pennsylvania 14-0.
|Net Yards Rushing
|Net Yards Passing
|Fumbles - Lost
|Penalties - Yards
Ore: Huntington 29-122; Steers 15-75
Harv: A. Horween 19-75; Casey 11-49
Harv: Murray 2-2-40; Felton 3-2-19
Harv: Casey 4-59