Wolverines Have the Last Half, 22-14 : Hoard’s 2 Fourth-Quarter Scores Carry Bo and Michigan Over USC
OK, no more Big Ten jokes in Pasadena. The Big Ten is back. No more ridicule, farm-boy jokes. And especially, no more Bo Schembechler jokes.
His Michigan Wolverines beat USC in the 75th Rose Bowl game Monday, and it marked the first time since the 1964-65 seasons that the Big Ten has won consecutive Rose Bowls.
The final score was 22-14, and it could have been worse considering the manner that Michigan dominated the second half after trailing USC, 14-3, at halftime.
The Wolverines finally knocked USC from contention with 50 seconds left, when John Milligan intercepted Rodney Peete’s pass at the Michigan 36-yard line.
The Trojans had lost a chance to go ahead with 5:28 left and Michigan leading, 15-14, when they were halted at their 30 and Quin Rodriguez’s field goal attempt of 47 yards went wide right.
Shortly after that, Leroy Hoard, who rushed for 142 yards and 2 fourth-quarter touchdowns in 19 carries, broke loose on a 61-yard run that set up his own 1-yard scoring run for a 22-14 lead. No other player had rushed for more than 100 yards against the Trojans all season.
It was the second victory in nine tries for Schembechler, who has been haunted by his Rose Bowl record.
Some of the ghosts of Christmas past hung around Pasadena long enough to haunt the Wolverines in the first half.
Though the Trojans led by 11 at halftime, it was not without some help from friends, seen and unseen.
First, Trojan punter Chris Sperle, kicking with the line of scrimmage at his own 39-yard line, lofted a beauty that landed on the 3, immediately turned left and stopped, at the Michigan 1.
The Wolverines had a 3-0 lead at that point, achieved on Mike Gillette’s 49-yard field goal. But Sperle’s punt backed up Michigan, giving the Trojans excellent field position after they stopped the Wolverines. USC started on its own 46, marched steadily to Michigan’s 22, and then lost the ball when Aaron Emanuel fumbled near the end of a nice gain to the 15. Michigan’s Erick Anderson jumped on the fumble, and the Wolverines celebrated.
But not for long.
On the next play, Wolverine Tony Boles swung left, was hit hard by USC’s Scott Ross and fumbled. Ernest Spears recovered, giving the Trojans another shot from the 15.
This time, Peete handed the ball to Emanuel 3 times before rolling right himself for 2 yards and a 7-3 lead.
In the second period, after defensive back David Arnold intercepted a pass Peete threw toward the sideline while receiver Erik Affholter was turning upfield, Michigan drove to USC’s 33.
Then, with third and 2, Coach Bo Schembechler did some uncharacteristic gambling, first sending his quarterback Demetrius Brown back to pass on play action. Brown overthrew his receiver.
Then, on fourth and 2, despite having Gillette, who had kicked a school-record 56-yarder against Ohio State this season, Bo gambled again, going for the touchdown instead.
But Brown overthrew Chris Calloway and USC took over, beginning a 67-yard march that ended with Peete’s 4-yard scoring run on an option-left play for a 14-3 Trojan lead. The key play on that drive was Peete’s 23-yard scramble out of a passing formation that advanced the ball to Michigan’s 9.
Michigan struck back, marching all the way to USC’s 16 with 11 seconds left. But, for the second time, if Sperle’s strange-hop punt is to be included, gremlins struck. Schembechler sent Brown back to pass, the throw seemingly on target to John Kolesar at the goal line, but as Kolesar cut, he was jarred and knocked down by USC’s Chris Hale.
Despite the apparent interference, the officials left their flags in their pockets. And, adding insult to injury, Gillette missed a 34-yard field goal wide right on the last play of the half.
The Wolverines, appearing angered by some of the twists of fate that befell them in the first half, marched to a touchdown with their first possession of the second half. Michigan went 70 yards in 9 plays. They got 16 yards on a reverse play to Kolesar in which the Wolverine was barely missed by at least 2 Trojans. They they got 22 on a scramble by Brown to the 6, setting up Brown’s 6-yard slant-right scoring pass to Calloway to cut the USC lead to 14-9.
And it stayed that way when Schembechler elected to try for 2 points, and Hoard was stopped on a run up the middle.
Shortly after USC took the ensuing kickoff, Emanuel fumbled. He wasn’t hit, he just lost the handle on a sweep left.
Vada Murray recovered and this time, Michigan got to the USC 5, where the Wolverines stalled, fourth and 1. That brought Gillette in for a field goal attempt of 22 yards, but he missed the chip shot badly, to the left.
But Michigan, which dominated the third period, rushing for more than 100 yards in that quarter alone, finally edged ahead of the Trojans on the first play of the fourth period.
Brown drove his team 92 yards in 9 plays, after Sperle had once again pinned the Wolverines deep with a long punt. The final play of the drive was a 2-yard dash into the right corner of the end zone by Hoard, the workhorse fullback.
Again, Michigan went for 2 points, with its 15-14 lead intact. And again, it failed.
But when Peete fumbled on a scramble early in the fourth period at USC’s 31, and with Michigan swarming all over the Trojans, things looked very Rosy for the Wolverines as the game wound down.