1940 Rose Bowl
26th Rose Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
University of Southern California 0 7 0 7 14
University of Tennessee 0 0 0 0 0
Date January 1, 1940
Season 1939
Stadium Rose Bowl
Location Pasadena, California
MVP Ambrose Schindler (USC QB)
Favorite Even[1]
National anthem Spirit of Troy
Halftime show Spirit of Troy
Attendance 92,200
Rose Bowl
 < 1939  1941

The 1940 Rose Bowl, played on January 1, 1940, was an American Football bowl game. It was the 26th Rose Bowl Game. The USC Trojans defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 14-0.[2] Ambrose Schindler, the USC quarterback, was named the Rose Bowl Player Of The Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively.[3] USC ended a 23 game Tennessee winning streak and the Trojans scored the first points against the Volunteers all season.


The Rose Bowl committee had both USC and Tennessee on their list and it was likely that USC and Tennessee would play each other.[4][5] The Volunteers were offered a berth in the Sugar Bowl on November 25.[6] The Volunteers also were in the mix for the 1940 Cotton Bowl, which would have pitted them against the #1 Texas A&M Aggies.[7] But the Rose Bowl committee did not extend official invitations until December 10, 1939.[8]

University of Tennessee VolunteersEdit

Tennessee came into the game after shutting out all of their opponents. They were led by two All-American guards, Ed Molinski and Bob Suffridge, however, were forced to play without their star tailback George Cafego, who fell victim to a knee injury against The Citadel earlier in the year.[9] With a 7-0 win in the Auburn game, Tennessee officially was extended an invitation.[10]

USC TrojansEdit

The Trojans opened the season against Oregon, tying the Ducks 7-7 with 7:00 minutes remaining in the game. They scored 3 straight shutouts, becoming ranked #8 following the second, a 26-0 win over Illinois. A November 4 game featured #7 USC defeating #11 Oregon State 19-7. On November 25, at Notre Dame, #4 USC defeated the #7 Irish 20-12. A win over Washington by scoring in the last 1:15 set up the very first epic UCLA-USC rivalry matchup.

Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Jackie Robinson and Ray Bartlett starred on the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team, in which African Americans made up three of the four backfield players.[11] This was a rarity to have so many African Americans when only a few dozen at all played on college football teams.[12] The Bruins also were undefeated, and ranked #9. The was the first UCLA-USC rivalry football game with national implications. It was the first game in the rivalry with the Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. The attendance of 103,303 was the second largest college football crowd ever in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. UCLA attempted a pass on fourth down, instead of kicking a field goal. Bobby Robertson of USC knocked down Ned Matthews’ 4-yard pass in the end zone with less than 5 minutes to play to preserve the tie for USC. The Pacific Coast Conference voted to have USC, with a 7-0-2 record play in the Rose Bowl instead of UCLA with a 6-0-4 record.[8] Art Cohn, sports editor of the Oakland Tribune]] implied that race may have been a factor in the decision, since teams from the south refused to play against African Americans.[13] After the regular season, the Trojans were named National Champions.[14]

Game summaryEdit

Trojan backs Granny Lansdell and Ambrose Schindler rushed for 51 and 81 yards respectively, for a team total of 229 yards rushing. Schindler scored one touchdown and passed to Al Krueger—the hero from the 1939 Rose Bowl—for the other. Coach Howard Jones earned his fifth Rose Bowl victory, his second straight conquest.


First QuarterEdit

no score

Second QuarterEdit

  • USC - Touchdown Ambrose Schindler, PAT Jones

Third QuarterEdit

no score

Fourth QuarterEdit

  • USC - Touchdown Al Krueger, PAT Gaspar


USC coach Howard Jones died in the summer of 1941. He had a 5-0 record in the Rose Bowl. Joe Schell, the captain of the USC Trojans who became an oil company owner and a California State Assemblyman, died on April 8, 2008.[15]

USC bases its 1939 National Championship claim on winning the Dickinson System, a formula devised by a University of Illinois professor which awarded the only championship trophy between 1926 and 1940. In 1939, Dickinson was the only poll or system to rank the Trojans number one.[14] USC's stance, however, is in keeping with that of most other schools which won the Dickinson title; only Notre Dame, which won the Dickinson crown in 1938, does not claim a major national title for that year. Since at least 1969, USC had not listed 1939 as a national championship year; but in 2004, USC once again began recognizing the 1939 team as national champions after it determined that it qualified.[16][17][18]

Ambrose "Amblin' Amby" Schindler went on to be the MVP in the 1940 College All-Star Game. He was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Breitbard Hall of Fame in 1973.[19] He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.[20] He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2002.

Tennessee player William "Bill" Barnes would eventually coach the UCLA Bruins football team to the 1962 Rose Bowl.

External linksEdit


  1. Trojans Even Bet with Vols. Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1939
  2. "Tournament of Roses - Rose Bowl Game Photo Timeline". Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  3. 2008 Rose Bowl Program, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  4. TROJAN-VOL GAME LOOMS; COACH NEYLAND SCOUTS S.C. Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1939
  5. Kentucky Bars Tennessee's Path. Today Rain Likely for Big Game Wildcats Eager to Ruin Vols' Rose Bowl Hopes Because of 1938 Rout. Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1939
  6. Vols Sidetrack Sugar Bowl Bid to See What Coast Does. Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1939. Quote:Tennessee has been invited to play in the Sugar Bowl at New Orleans on New Year's Day, but would prefer accepting an invitation to the Rose Bowl, Pasadena.
  7. Homer Jacobs - The pride of Aggieland. Texas A&M University Press, 2002 ISBN 0-7607-3257-4, ISBN 978-0-7607-3257-1
  8. 8.0 8.1 Troy, Tennessee in Rose Bowl. Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1939. It will be Southern California and Tennessee in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1, 1940.
  9. "1940 Rose Bowl". Retrieved 2008-04-23.[dead link]
  10. Tennessee Beats Auburn, 7-0, to Qualify for Bowl Bid. Vols Black Out Last Dixie Foe Butler's Scoring Run Puts Neyland's Team in Line for Pasadena. Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1939
  12. "Kenny Washington" Encyclopædia Britannica
  13. Columnist was early, angry voice against sports color line Los Angeles Times, March 23, 2008. Quote: Art Cohn died 50 years ago today. From Long Beach to the Bay Area, the newsman afflicted the sports world with hard questions about racial equality long before the civil rights movement. ... Since the winner of the 1939 UCLA-USC game would face undefeated, untied Tennessee in the Rose Bowl, Cohn pointed out that Tennessee did not play integrated teams. If UCLA beat USC, would the Volunteers consent to play against Kenny Washington, Woody Strode and Jackie Robinson? Cohn was convinced that the Bruins would not bench their three stars. "Tennessee happens to be one of the colleges that does not recognize the Emancipation Proclamation. Not only does it bar Negroes from playing on its own team, but it also refuses to compete against any college having Negro players. "Below the Mason and Dixon, men feel strongly. In their blind devotion to a prejudice that makes a mockery of tolerance and justice, they gladly sacrifice everything, even $100,000 gravy-bowl games." When the UCLA-USC game ended in a scoreless tie, conference officials voted to send the Trojans to Pasadena and Tennessee had its bowl game
  14. 14.0 14.1 Dickinson System Rates Troy Eleven First in Nation Bruins Stand Tenth in List For Third Time, S.C. Gets Rockne Trophy; Tennessee Only Fifth. Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1939. Quote:Southern California, described as the best team in the best section, ranked first among the nation's football teams in the annual rating announced today by Frank G. Dickinson, associate professor of economics at the University of Illinois
  15. Weber, Dan Captain of USC's 1939 National Champs Dies. Riverside Press-Enterprise, April 8, 2008
  16. This Just In: USC Also Is a 1939 Champion . Washington Post, July 28, 2004
  17. USC 1939 National Champions. Washington Times, August 27, 2004
  18. USC Now Will Recognize Its 1939 Football Team As A National Champion. Trojan have 10 national champs in the sport. USC Trojans Athletic Department, July 24, 2004.
  19. San Diego Hall of Champions - Amby Schindler
  20. 1997 inductees for the USC Athletic Hall of Fame Announced. USC Trojans Athletic Department, November 30, 1996.
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