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The Rose Bowl and me: Part two
2006-12-27 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

Part one

January 2, 1984 - UCLA vs. Illinois - With New Year's Day falling on a Sunday, the Rose Bowl, as was its long-standing custom, took place on a Monday. The reason for this was actually because the Rose Parade made church attendance in Pasadena too difficult. This policy dates back to 1893. It actually would have been in place for the 2006 game except it was played on January 4 because it was the BCS championship game. The 2006 parade was on January 2 and it took place in a rainstorm. If you're Catholic, you might know that January 1 is a holy day of obligation anyway and you're supposed to go to church, but Pasadena Catholic churches generally tell you to only come to Mass if you can make it easily. However in 2007, you don't have to go regardless of where you live. I'm sure you were all glad to know that.

But in 1984, it was another picture perfect day. Over 101,000 made their way into the Rose Bowl that day to see an apparent mismatch between a 10-1 Illinois team and a 6-4-1 UCLA squad. The Illini were making their first appearance in Pasadena since 1964. They had won their three previous Rose Bowls, including a 45-14 rout of UCLA in 1947, the first year of the Pac-10 (then called the Pacific Coast Conference) vs. Big 10 (then called the Big 9) contract.

Illinois, coached by Mike White, had lost its season opener at Missouri and then rolled off 10 straight wins. The Illini were led by quarterback Jack Trudeau, who directed an offense that put up some gaudy point totals. Illinois had not won 10 games in a season since 1902, when they had a Milwaukee high school and the Kirksville Osteopathic school on the schedule.

UCLA had started the season 0-3-1, but rallied to win six of its last seven games and got into the Rose Bowl again by beating USC in the last regular season game while Washington was upset by Washington State in the Apple Cup.

The rare appearance of Illinois in Pasadena seemed to bring out every Illinois alum in a 3000 mile radius of the Rose Bowl. Well, except people 3000 miles west of Pasadena because it's really hard to drive across the Pacific Ocean. The cars parked on Brookside Golf Course all seemed to be sporting the blue and orange flags of Illinois. The UCLA fans were, for the lack of a better term, just there. I can't even say they were happy to be there.

Illinois got off to a bad start when Don Rogers intercepted a Trudeau pass on the third play of the game. UCLA quarterback Rick Neuheisel (whom I hear is really good at filling out NCAA tournament brackets) drove the Bruins down to the Illinois 26 to set up a field goal attempt.

The normally reliable John Lee had his kick blocked. But an Illini player tried to pick it up and run with it, only to be hit and fumble and UCLA recovered and got a fresh set of downs. Neuheisel threw his first of four touchdown passes on the day, a 3-yard toss to tight end Paul Bergmann to put UCLA up 7-0.

Illinois managed a field goal on its next drive, but then were soon buried by the Bruins. Kevin Nelson ran 28 yards for a score.

On the next drive, Rogers intercepted Trudeau again and that set up a TD pass from Neuheisel to Karl Dorrell. UCLA scored again on its next drive, this time on a 53-yard pass from Neuheisel to Michael Young. It was 28-3 UCLA at halftime and the Illini fans seemed to be in an emotional state that transcended being stunned.

I sat in the UCLA student section with my mom, one of my brothers and his roommate. Either my brother or his roommate left to go to the bathroom at halftime (an expedition that often requires a compass and two Sherpas for guidance) and that left an empty seat. However, we were in the card stunt section. My mother felt duty bound to perform not only her assignments, but also the assignment for the empty seat. I figured that she would never be able to handle this, but much to my amazement, she pulled it off. In recent years, I have been seated on the opposite side of the Rose Bowl and can watch the card stunts. And I can say with some degree of certainty, that they invariably look like crap. They never resemble anything. I keep thinking that they are really just some giant Rorschach test.

"Is that a bear?"
"No, it's a basketball."
"No, I think it's a man and woman sharing an ice cream sundae."
"Yes, very much like a whale."

The second half didn't get much better for Illinois. Neuheisel threw another touchdown pass to Dorrell, tying the Rose Bowl record for TD passes in a game. Neuheisel completed 22 of 31 passes for 298 yards. The Bruins outgained Illinois by a margin of 511 to 205 and the Illini ended up with zero yards rushing.

The real highlight in the second half came with about about nine minutes left in the game when a dedicated band of Caltech students changed the scoreboard to show Caltech beating MIT 38-9. Later, a beaver (Caltech's mascot) appeared on the message board portion of the scoreboard. Rose Bowl officials couldn't correct the problem, so they just turned off the scoreboard for the last few minutes of the game. It was likely that the Illinois fans didn't mind.

Illinois has not been back to the Rose Bowl since. The Illini did win the Big 10 in 2001, but because of BCS obligations, the Rose Bowl had to match up Miami and Nebraska in a dreary affair and Illinois went off to the Sugar Bowl.

The next year UCLA went to the Fiesta Bowl. And then UCLA made the Rose Bowl again in 1986. For some reason, I decided that the increased ticket price (I believe it was up to $45 from $30) was too much to pay. And I figured that UCLA would go to the Rose Bowl again soon enough.

Oh, I was so foolish then. So foolish. So full of hubris. In my senior of college, I got to enjoy the Bruins against BYU in the Freedom Bowl at Anaheim Stadium. They did win 31-10, but it wasn't Pasadena on New Year's Day. I actually went to the Freedom Bowl TWICE and also saw Larry Smith's swan song as USC coach in a 1993 Trojan loss to Fresno State. I wouldn't be back to the Arroyo Seco on New Year's Day for ten years.

Coming up next: Maniacally friendly dairy product aficionados descend on Pasadena.

Comments (75)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-27 16:58:11
1.   trainwreck
"And I figured that UCLA would go again to the Rose Bowl again soon enough."


Pac Bell (or whatever they call it now) looks odd as a football stadium.

2006-12-27 17:02:06
2.   Andrew Shimmin
Yeah; I didn't realize they ever used it for football. Have they done this before?
2006-12-27 17:02:17
3.   trainwreck
Teams on same side of field is too weird for me.
2006-12-27 17:02:33
4.   trainwreck
I believe the XFL.
2006-12-27 17:09:34
5.   Andrew Shimmin
As I live and breathe, the man's name really is De'Cody Fagg. I bet the whole Brokeback Mountain thing was very pleasant for him.
2006-12-27 17:11:53
6.   trainwreck
I have already heard my fair share of SF bowl jokes with him.
2006-12-27 17:15:36
7.   trainwreck
How long till I can start asking for Olson?
2006-12-27 17:21:03
8.   trainwreck
Did Brock go to the game?
2006-12-27 17:24:27
9.   Bob Timmermann
He never goes to games. He just likes to complain from afar.
2006-12-27 17:26:50
10.   Bob Timmermann
Florida State punted from the UCLA 31-yard line?
2006-12-27 17:27:54
11.   Bob Timmermann
So is Florida State's goal to win 2-0?
2006-12-27 17:28:32
12.   Bob Timmermann
Apparently not.
2006-12-27 17:29:39
13.   trainwreck
That was a costly mistake. Maybe we can get three field goals.
2006-12-27 17:30:52
14.   Greg Brock
9 I heard that.
2006-12-27 17:32:05
15.   Greg Brock
I couldn't go to any games this year, but I do go to games. Unfortunately, my attendance usually coincides with defeats.
2006-12-27 17:33:02
16.   Bob Timmermann
All my work to track down the Kirksville Osteopathic school's website will go for naught.
2006-12-27 17:33:13
17.   El Lay Dave
I've already heard references to the Bruin's "grittiness" - is UCLA the David Eckstein of NCAA football?
2006-12-27 17:33:35
18.   Ken Arneson
I'm not watching the game, but I can verify that the lights at AT&T Park are currently on.
2006-12-27 17:33:43
19.   trainwreck
Well that was unexpected.

Let's do some more of that.

2006-12-27 17:33:59
20.   El Lay Dave
17 Uh - no! Eck can't hit 'em long like that!
2006-12-27 17:34:17
21.   Bob Timmermann
There's the UCLA big play offense!

I didn't know UCLA had one.

2006-12-27 17:35:25
22.   trainwreck
No, we are more like Cesar Izturis.
2006-12-27 17:35:42
23.   Bob Timmermann
Well, that will be it for me tonight.

If anyone can tell me what the former name of the Catholic holy day on January 1 was, you will earn a prize.

2006-12-27 17:43:44
24.   trainwreck
Why did we wait so long in the season to try some deeper passes?
2006-12-27 17:43:49
25.   El Lay Dave
23 It was both a solemnity for the Virgin Mary and a worldwide day of peace.
2006-12-27 17:45:32
26.   El Lay Dave
Well, ten points would have been enough to beat southern cal. Can it be enough tonight?

24 Because the QBs aren't very good?

2006-12-27 17:51:06
27.   Sam DC
23: Hmmmm . . . does it involve the Gomko Clamp?
2006-12-27 17:53:51
28.   trainwreck
They both have arms capable of throwing long passes. KD and Svoboda just like calling "safe" plays.
2006-12-27 17:54:28
29.   El Lay Dave
25 Thus setting the stage for innumerable, insufferable guitar-mass renderings of "Let There Be Peace On Earth".
2006-12-27 17:56:42
30.   El Lay Dave
28 Sometimes coaches stick to the safe plays when they don't believe they have the player talent necessary for more.
2006-12-27 17:57:28
31.   trainwreck
KD always sticks to the safe plays.
2006-12-27 18:11:44
32.   trainwreck
Nice catch in traffic by Taylor.
2006-12-27 18:13:13
33.   Bob Timmermann
January 1 is still the Solemnity of Mary and a Worldwide Day of Peace.

I was looking for a different answer.

2006-12-27 18:13:17
34.   El Lay Dave
The offense has shown up. I hope they sustain some production for the whole game.
2006-12-27 18:27:55
35.   El Lay Dave
UCLA needed to call time out to run THAT play? An example to bolster 31
2006-12-27 18:32:32
36.   trainwreck
KD also likes to sit on leads.
2006-12-27 18:42:14
37.   trainwreck
Heaven forbid we try to do something before the half on a nice kickoff return.
2006-12-27 19:17:02
38.   trainwreck
2006-12-27 19:30:03
39.   trainwreck
Alright, took the lead back.
2006-12-27 19:45:16
40.   El Lay Dave
Had to DVR it for awhile, now caught up.

37 Amen. 40 yard line and two timeouts. Should have taken a shot.

This should be a 27-9 game! Blocked punt for TD, turnover deep leading to the other FSU TD.

2006-12-27 19:46:12
41.   El Lay Dave
Good defensive stop here. And a personal foul on FSU to boot!
2006-12-27 19:49:33
42.   trainwreck
Come on, get a TD.
2006-12-27 20:11:32
43.   trainwreck
This is looking too much like Notre Dame game.
2006-12-27 20:11:46
44.   trainwreck
And the dream I had last night.
2006-12-27 20:17:00
45.   El Lay Dave
What the heck is he touching that kickoff for?
2006-12-27 20:17:17
46.   Xeifrank
1984 Rose Parade, it was the only Rose Parade I have ever been to and luckily the last. When I met my wife one of the first questions I asked her was if she had ever been to the Rose Parade and if she liked it. Luckily, she had already been and didn't have the desire to go again. A match made in heaven!
I remember sitting about 8 rows back trying to watch the parade. Some Illinois fans walked by us (parents and kids). Some UCLA fans made an annoying UCLA cheer to them and the Illini kids whipped out a gizmo that said "Suck Eggs!". I will remember that for the rest of my life.
vr, Xei
2006-12-27 20:17:32
47.   trainwreck
Well that was incredibly stupid.
2006-12-27 20:21:50
48.   El Lay Dave
Bruins beating themselves. Again.

Need a stop here.

Ding on ESPN for not having any replay of the FSU touchdown - did the WR pull down the DB or not?

2006-12-27 20:23:31
49.   trainwreck
Hard to tell from what they showed.
2006-12-27 20:23:42
50.   El Lay Dave
46 Lived in L.A. all my life, attended Eagle Rock HS, as close to Fair Oaks and Colorado as you can get in L.A., and I have never attended the Rose Parade. Strange.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-27 20:24:23
51.   El Lay Dave
oh heck. The antithesis of a defensive stop.
2006-12-27 20:25:22
52.   trainwreck
This is what happens when you play not to lose. You lose to good teams.
2006-12-27 20:25:34
53.   El Lay Dave
47 Beyond belief, really. Totally boneheaded.

49 I played it all back on DVR - never is the WR on-screen except after the DB is on the ground.

2006-12-27 20:25:42
54.   trainwreck
And FSU is not even that good.
2006-12-27 20:26:34
55.   El Lay Dave
52 You lose to mediocre teams.

It could be all over.

2006-12-27 20:28:00
56.   trainwreck
Wow, that was insane.
2006-12-27 20:28:02
57.   El Lay Dave
Needed that good kickoff return.
2006-12-27 20:28:26
58.   El Lay Dave
Left-handed! Holy cow!
2006-12-27 20:29:21
59.   El Lay Dave
I was about to blast Cowan to not be good enough to get the two scores in six minutes and he pulls out that play!
2006-12-27 20:30:07
60.   trainwreck
You could see that coming a mile away. He was way to slow on that throw.
2006-12-27 20:30:07
61.   El Lay Dave
59 Ooooooops. And I would be right. Ouch.
2006-12-27 20:31:53
62.   trainwreck
Well he pretty much did everything wrong possible on that throw. Took forever to throw it, was so deliberate with where he was going with the ball, and he threw it too far inside.
2006-12-27 20:32:13
63.   Greg Brock
Ben Olson never even got a chance to play. So disgusted.

Total self-destruction.

2006-12-27 20:33:58
64.   trainwreck
I am a Raider and Bruin fan.

This football season cannot end soon enough.

2006-12-27 20:34:26
65.   El Lay Dave
I agree with Fouts - didn't look like Cowan and Taylor were on the same page.
2006-12-27 20:35:11
66.   El Lay Dave
63 Olson did not impress me at all this season.
2006-12-27 20:36:47
67.   Greg Brock
Well considering he was 4-1 as a starter and has a better arm and accuracy than Cowan, it doesn't really matter. He's a better quarterback. Period.
2006-12-27 20:36:56
68.   El Lay Dave
Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers.
2006-12-27 20:38:34
69.   El Lay Dave
67 Better than Cowan is faint praise. Olson seems slow-footed to me. But you are right, Olson is better.
2006-12-27 20:41:30
70.   El Lay Dave
Another collapse. A somehow fittingly disgusting end to this season.
2006-12-27 20:46:14
71.   trainwreck
2006-12-27 20:49:10
72.   trainwreck
There was one good moment this whole year. To some that may be good enough, but not for me.
2006-12-27 20:49:26
73.   El Lay Dave
Pac-10 in bowls so far: 0-3
Combined scores: 123-59
2006-12-27 20:51:51
74.   El Lay Dave
72 Not enough - but, oh, what a moment. But this game does leave a bad aftertaste for the season.
2006-12-27 21:51:04
75.   Linkmeister
73 Hmm. Given the size of the loss UCLA took this afternoon, and the size of the whupping UH put on ASU in the Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve (41-24), I wonder what the margin would have been had UCLA traveled out here. There were nearly 41,000 in the seats; I also wonder how much bigger the crowd might have been had the opponent been UCLA.

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