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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Some Rose Bowl Stories Have a Different Spin

January 01, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Undoubtedly, the most famous play in Rose Bowl history was the wrong-way run by Roy Riegels of California in the 1929 game against Georgia Tech. Now for a look at some other famous plays headed in a more conventional direction:

The play was called KF79, and it occurred in the 1934 game between Columbia and Stanford.

From the Stanford 17-yard line, Columbia quarterback Cliff Montgomery, on a spinner play, handed the ball to halfback Al Barabas midway through his spin.

Then he completed his spin and faked a handoff to another halfback. Meanwhile, Barabas ran untouched--and undetected--to a touchdown. The second-quarter score stood up as Columbia won, 7-0.

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Add Columbia: Barabas was so alone that sportswriter Maxwell Stiles was quoted in "The Tournament of Roses Book" by Joe Hendrickson as saying: "When he reached the 15-yard line, he stopped to chat with the little old lady who was selling red apples."

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Trivia time: Why was the 1933 Stanford team called the "Vow Boys?"

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Something's missing: The 1979 game produced another deceptive play. Only this time USC tailback Charles White didn't have the ball when he "scored" on a three-yard dive against Michigan in the second quarter.

Nonetheless, an official signaled a touchdown and USC went on to win, 17-10.

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History repeated: In 1982, in a final regular-season game, USC's Michael Harper emulated White's dive to score as USC beat Notre Dame, 17-13, in the closing seconds at the Coliseum. Instant replays showed, though, that the ball was left on the field, short of the goal line.

It was ruled a touchdown, prompting Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler, whose team was burned in 1979, to comment, "USC has really perfected that play."

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Another controversy: In the 1949 Rose Bowl game, it's still a source of debate whether Northwestern's Art Murakowski fumbled before he scored against California.

Without instant replay, there was no conclusive evidence. The touchdown stood and Northwestern went on to win, 20-14.

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Little big man: Bob Stiles stood only 5 feet 9 and weighed 170 pounds, but he made the play of the game in the 1966 Rose Bowl against previously unbeaten Michigan State.

After the Spartans scored to cut UCLA's lead to 14-12, All-American running back Bob Apisa, weighing 212 pounds, tried to score on an end run for a two-point conversion with 31 seconds remaining.

Stiles leaped on Apisa's shoulders and spun him back inches short of the goal line. Stiles didn't hear the cheers for him; he was knocked out cold on the play.

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Trivia answer: As freshmen, Stanford players vowed never to lose to USC--and they didn't, winning in 1933, '34 and '35.

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And finally: An anonymous sportswriter, before the 1922 Rose Bowl game: "All I know about Washington and Jefferson is that they're both dead."

He had to eat his words as underdog Washington & Jefferson played California to a scoreless tie.

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