Monday, June 05, 2006

In 1976, Bruins Left Buckeyes in Ruins

What were the odds? Ohio State rolled into Pasadena for the 1976 Rose Bowl with an 11-0 record and No. 1 ranking. One of those victories came in the fourth game, a 41-20 thrashing of UCLA at the L.A. Coliseum, which in those days was the home turf of the Bruins. It was the fourth consecutive appearance in the Rose Bowl for Ohio State, which featured a powerhouse backfield of two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin and battering ram Pete Johnson. UCLA had rebounded from the loss to the Buckeyes to go 8-2-1, win the Pacific 8 title and secure the rematch. They teed it up and Ohio State controlled the ball for all but four minutes of the first half, yet trailed, 3-0. The Bruin offense, which gained only 48 yards in the first half, took control in the second, and UCLA stunned Ohio State, 23-10. "It was probably the biggest upset in the history of the Rose Bowl," said Dick Vermeil, left, who was in his second season at Westwood. It also was the last Rose Bowl for Buckeye coach Woody Hayes, the other guy in the photo. Two weeks after the game, Vermeil was gone, off to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. This past week, former Bruin players and coaches gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their upset of the Buckeyes. Also included is commentary from the superblog, Bruins Nation.

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