American Football Database
1942 Rose Bowl
28th Rose Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Duke University 0 7 7 2 16
Oregon State College 7 0 13 0 20
Date January 1, 1942
Season 1941
Stadium Duke Stadium
Location Durham, North Carolina
MVP Donald Durdan, Oregon State
Favorite Duke by 14
Attendance 56,000 (estimated)[1]
Rose Bowl
 < 1941  1943

The 1942 Rose Bowl was the 28th Rose Bowl game. Originally scheduled to be played in the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, it was moved to Durham, North Carolina, due to fears about an attack by the Japanese on the West Coast of the United States following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States government had ordered that large public gatherings on the West Coast of the United States were to be prohibited for the duration of the war, and the first significant canceled event was the Rose Bowl Game scheduled for New Year's Day, 1942.[2]

The Oregon State Beavers defeated the host Duke Blue Devils 20-16 in Duke Stadium on the Duke University campus. Donald Durdan of Oregon State was named the Rose Bowl Player Of The Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively.[3]


Oregon State College Beavers

In 1941, the Beavers football team won the Pacific Coast Conference and a berth in their first Rose Bowl. They opened with a 13-7 loss at USC. A 9-6 win over Washington set the Beavers on the path to the conference championship. The Beavers recorded the first of five shutouts against #2 Stanford in California, 10-0, snapping the Indians 13-game winning streak. They were shut out against eventual second place Washington State 7-0. But the Beavers shut out Idaho, UCLA, Cal and Montana, outscoring the four 85-0. The final game in the Civil War series with Oregon had the Rose Bowl on the line for the Beavers, and a possible 5 way tie for first place if the Oregon Ducks won.[4] All five teams would have 3 losses. Oregon State would have the most conference wins and also the best overall record. The argument was moot as Oregon State defeated Oregon and Stanford lost at Cal, leaving the Beavers with 2 conference losses. The rest of the PCC had four teams with three losses and five teams with four conference losses.[5] Oregon State compiled the 7-2 record despite only scoring 20 points twice, against Idaho and Montana.

Duke University Blue Devils

Pacific Coast Champion Oregon State was responsible for selecting and inviting the opposing team. Number one ranked Minnesota was the first choice, but the Western Conference, forerunner of the Big Ten Conference, did not permit their teams to play in bowl games until the 1946 agreement between the Big Ten and Pacific Coast Conference. Duke would have been a logical second choice, but Coach Wallace Wade had rubbed a lot of Californians the wrong way due to his antics following his 7-3 loss in the 1939 Rose Bowl. The Southern California media championed Missouri or Fordham.[6] Oregon State responded by inviting Fordham, who they had beaten in their 1933 Ironmen year, but Fordham turned down the invite to play against Missouri in the Sugar Bowl. Unable to invite their three first choices, the Beavers settled on number two ranked and undefeated Duke Blue Devils, much to the chagrin of Southern California. The selection was announced on December 1, 1941.[7][8] Duke's defense had not allowed more than 14 points all year. The Blue Devils were averaging a 30-point victory every time they took the field. In each game, the Blue Devils won by at least 13 points.

Venue change to Durham, North Carolina

With the United States' entry into World War II, on December 7, 1941, there was concern about a Japanese attack on the West Coast. Much discussion focused on the possibility of an attack where any crowds might gather. The Rose parade with a million watchers, and the Rose Bowl with 90,000 spectators were presumed to be ideal targets for the Japanese. Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt recommended that the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl festivities be canceled.[9][10][11] The Rose Bowl committee originally planned to cancel the game. On December 16, 1941, Duke University invited the game and Oregon State to Duke's home stadium in Durham, North Carolina.[12][13]

At the time, Duke’s stadium could only hold 35,000 people. In order to accommodate the larger crowd expected for the Rose Bowl, bleachers were brought in from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University to seat an additional 20,000 people.[14]

Game summary

Duke was expected to win by more than two touchdowns and went off as a 3-1 favorite.[15] Some wondered why Oregon State would even make the trip. The weather, however, seemed to favor the visitors. One Duke player claimed that there was more rain than he had ever seen. The Beavers, looking up at the same sky, described the weather as misty. Whatever the case, Duke gave up whatever psychological advantage they had by fumbling the opening kickoff. The Duke defense would hold, but Oregon State would score first on a 15-yard run by Don Durdan later in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Duke would tie the score at seven with a three-yard run by Steve Lach, which concluded the scoring in the half.

The defenses, which would play brilliantly for most of the game let down for a three-drive stretch of the third quarter. Oregon State retook the lead when George Zellick scored on a 31-yard pass from Bob Dethman. Duke would respond by scoring on a one-yard run by Winston Siegfried on the following drive. In the following drive, Bob Dethman would find streaking reserve halfback, Gene Gray, on a 40-yard pass. Gray would outrace two Duke defenders the final 28-yards into the end zone. The extra point would be no good, leaving the door open for a Duke comeback.

The 16-points that Duke scored were the most that the Oregon State's defense had given up all year. The Beaver defense seemed resolved to make sure the 20-points the offense had put up would stand up. Duke's offense would cross into Beaver territory three times in the fourth-quarter, but the Beavers would not break, intercepting two passes and shutting out the Duke offense the rest of the way. Duke's defense would tack on two when Mike Karmazin caught Don Durden in his own end zone, but neither team would muster any more points.


First Quarter

  • OSC – Don Durdan 15-yard run (Simas kick)

Second Quarter

  • DUKE – Steve Lach 3-yard run (Gantt kick)

Third Quarter

  • OSC – George Zellick 31-yard pass from Bob Dethman (Simas kick)
  • DUKE – Winston Siegfried 1-yard run (Gantt kick)
  • OSC – Gene Gray 68-yard pass from Bob Dethman (kick failed)

Fourth Quarter

  • DUKE – Safety, Don Durdan tackled in the end zone by Mike Karmazin


Donald Durdan, who showed his all-around skill by rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown, passing, and punting, was named the game's most valuable player.[12] This remains the only Beavers' Rose Bowl victory. It also remains the only time the two programs have played each other.

Although many others argue that Columbia's 1934 victory over Stanford was bigger, Sid Feder of the Associated Press labeled it the biggest upset in the Rose Bowl's early history.

After the 1942 Allied victory in the Battle of Midway and the end of the Japanese offensives in the Pacific Theater during 1942, it was deemed that the West Coast was no longer vulnerable to attack, and the Rose Bowl game continued on in the Rose Bowl Stadium.

Most of the players would don military uniforms during World War II. Wallace Wade enlisted after the game ended and encouraged his players to follow suit. Both teams lost halfbacks in the Pacific Theater in 1942, Walter Griffith of Duke and Everett Smith of Oregon State.

After war was declared, Oregon State's star freshman end, Chiaki Yoshihara, was not allowed to travel more than 35 miles from his home in Oregon, precluding him from playing in the Rose Bowl. He would spend most of 1942 in an internment camp in Idaho.

Tommy Prothro, who would go on to coach both Oregon State and UCLA in the Rose Bowl, played quarterback for the Blue Devils.

Tommy Prothro's backup, Charlie Haynes, and Oregon State tackle, Frank Parker, were rifle platoon leaders in different companies, sailing from Africa to Italy in 1944, when the two recognized each other. Later the same year, Frank Parker found Charlie Haynes with a fist-sized wound in his chest during the Arno Valley Campaign. Parker saved Haynes' life by carrying him to an abandoned farmhouse for medical attention.

In 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge, Oregon State tackle, Sam Czech, shared some coffee and food with a fellow soldier who had not eaten in two days. Czech soon recognized the soldier as Duke coach, Wallace Wade.

Duke Stadium, the site of the game, would later be named Wallace Wade Stadium in honor of the Duke coach.

Oregon State's Gene Gray flew more than 30 bombing missions over Germany and continued to serve after the war. In 1948, his plane crashed after a flameout on takeoff in the jungles of Panama. He later likened his body to burnt steak. He had severe burns over most of his body and both his arms had to be amputated. Gene Gray, whose arms hauled in the touchdown catch which proved the deciding margin, wound up with no arms at all.[16]


  1. Official 2007 NCAA Division I football records book - PDF copy available at
  2. Edmonston, George Jr. - Carry Me Back - Beaver eClips - Part 24 of 30: The World War II Years (Part 1 of 2). Oregon State University Alumni Association, November 30, 2001
  3. 2008 Rose Bowl Program, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  4. Dyer, Braven - Here's How They'll Decide Rose Bowl Team. Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1941
  5. Pacific 10 conference football media guide. All time standings for the 1941 season.
  6. Zimmerman, Paul - Duke to Be Oregon State's Foe in Rose Bowl. Blue Devils Accept Bid. Fordham and Missouri Believed First Choices, but Sugar Game Won. Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1941. After a long night of deliberation Oregon State College yesterday announced Duke University had been invited and accepted the bid to play the Beavers in the 27th annual Rose Bowl classic at Pasadena on New Year's Day.
  7. Oregon State, Duke to Play in Rose Bowl Missouri and Fordham New Orleans Opponents; Wade Team Here Before. Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1941.
  8. Dyer, Braven - Duke Selection Big Surprise. Scribe Recalls Wade's Last Visit to Annual New Year's Classic. Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1941.
  9. "ROSE BOWL GAME CALLED OFF", San Antonio Light, December 14, 1941, pB-1
  10. Forbidding Crowds. Los Angeles Times, December 16, 1941
  11. Zimmerman, Paul - Duke Likely to Play Beavers in Durham. Blue Devils Invite Foes Rose Bowl, Shrine Grid Games Halted as Other Sports Events in Balance. Los Angeles Times, December 15, 1941.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Rose Bowl Timeline". Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  13. Zimmerman, Paul - Scene of Rose Bowl Shifted to Durham, N.C. Los Angeles Times, December 16, 1941. Perpetuation of the annual Rose Bowl intersectional football, classic was assured yesterday when the Tournament of Roses officials and Oregon State College accepted the hospitality of Duke University.
  14. William E. King (1997). "The Durham Rose Bowl, 1942". If Gargoyles Could Talk: Sketches of Duke University. Carolina Academic Press. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  15. "Underdog Bites Duke". Time. January 12, 1942.,9171,773048,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  16. "Early Jet Aircraft". Retrieved 14 September 2011.

External links


  • Maxwell Stiles - The Rose Bowl: A Complete Action and Pictorial Exposition of Rose Bowl Football, Sportsmaster Publications (1946), ASIN: B0007FBNU4
  • Oregon State University Football Media guide (PDF copy available at