1979 Rose Bowl
65th Rose Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
University of Michigan 0 3 7 0 10
University of Southern California 7 10 0 0 17
Date January 1, 1979
Season 1978
Stadium Rose Bowl
Location Pasadena, California
MVP Charles White (USC RB)
Rick Leach (Michigan QB)
Attendance 105,629
United States TV coverage
Network NBC
Announcers: Curt Gowdy, John Brodie, O. J. Simpson
Rose Bowl
 < 1978  1980

The 1979 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1979. It was the 65th Rose Bowl Game. The USC Trojans, champions of the Pacific-10 Conference, defeated the Michigan Wolverines, champions of the Big Ten Conference, 17–10. USC running back Charles White and Michigan quarterback Rick Leach were named the Rose Bowl Players of the Game.

Teams[edit | edit source]

Michigan Wolverines[edit | edit source]

Michigan came into the game ranked 5th with a 10–1 record. Their only loss was to Michigan State. Michigan tied for the Big Ten title with Michigan State and earned the Rose Bowl berth based on their better overall record.

USC Trojans[edit | edit source]

USC came into the game ranked second in the Coaches' Poll and third in the AP Poll with a 11–1 record. USC defeated then #1 ranked Alabama, 24–14, in Birmingham early in the season, but subsequently suffered their lone defeat to Arizona State, 20–7, in Tempe. USC defeated UCLA, 17–10, to win the Pac-10 Conference, and then closed out the regular season by defeating defending national champion, Notre Dame, 27–25.

Charles White's "Phantom Touchdown"[edit | edit source]

From the Michigan three-yard line during the second quarter, in a dive over the middle towards the goal-line, Charles White fumbled the ball before he entered the end-zone.[1][2] The officials for this game were made up of a Pac-10/Big Ten crew. Upon White's fumble, a Pac-10 official immediately and correctly marked the ball around the one-yard line and signaled that there had been a change of possession. Then a Big Ten official came running in raising his hands signaling that White had scored a touchdown. This touchdown has become known as White's "Phantom Touchdown" as he was awarded the score after first fumbling, then entering the end-zone without the ball. This has been confirmed by White himself.

Scoring[edit | edit source]

First quarter[edit | edit source]

Second quarter[edit | edit source]

  • Michigan - Gregg Willner, 36-yard field goal
  • USC - Charles White, 3-yard run (Frank Jordan kick)
  • USC - Frank Jordan, 35-yard field goal

Third quarter[edit | edit source]

  • Michigan - Roosevelt Smith, 44-yard pass from Rick Leach (Gregg Willner kick)

Fourth quarter[edit | edit source]

  • No score

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

In the Sugar Bowl, Alabama (ranked #3 in the UPI and #2 in the AP) upset #1 Penn State, 14–7. Thus, USC vaulted into the #1 spot in the UPI poll while Alabama was #1 in the AP poll.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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