1948 Rose Bowl
34th Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
USC 0000 0
Michigan 714721 49
DateJanuary 1, 1948
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPBob Chappuis (Michigan HB)
FavoriteMichigan by 15
National anthemSpirit of Troy
Halftime showMichigan Marching Band Spirit of Troy
Attendance93,000 (estimated)[1]
Rose Bowl
 < 1947  1949

The 1948 Rose Bowl was the 34th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on Thursday, January 1. The second-ranked and undefeated Michigan Wolverines of the Big Nine Conference routed the #8 USC Trojans, champions of the Pacific Coast Conference, 49–0.[2][3][4]

It was the second year of the initial five-year agreement between the conferences to match their champions each New Year's Day in Pasadena. Michigan halfback Bob Chappuis was named the Player of the Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively.[5]

Michigan tied the record for the most points scored by a team in the Rose Bowl, first set by the 1901 Wolverines in the first Rose Bowl and later matched by USC in 2008. Oregon supplanted the record in 2015. Michigan also tied the game's record for largest margin of victory also set by the 1901 Michigan team that defeated Stanford by an identical 49–0 score. The record of seven PATs converted by Michigan kicker Jim Brieske remains unbroken, but was tied in 2008 by USC's David Buehler.

The game was aired by local station KTLA in the first telecast of a bowl game in the Greater Los Angeles Area.[6] It was also the first time a U.S. motion picture newsreel was taken in color.[7] In a special unofficial AP Poll five days after the game, Michigan replaced Notre Dame as the 1947 national champion by a vote of 226 to 119.[8]


USC Trojans

Main article: 1947 USC Trojans football team

In October, USC tied Rice 7–7 and defeated #4 California 39–14 in Berkeley. The Trojans' rivalry matchup with defending PCC champion UCLA saw USC win 6–0. The game against Notre Dame had 104,953 on hand, the highest attendance for a football game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,[9] to see 7–0–1 Rose Bowl-bound USC fall to the 8–0 Fighting Irish, 38–7. USC dropped from third to eighth in the final AP Poll in early December, and Notre Dame did not play in a bowl.

Michigan Wolverines

Main article: 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team

The 1947 Wolverines, known as the "Mad Magicians," won the Big Nine title on the strength of strong offense and defense. They shut out four opponents, including Ohio State, 21–0. Their close game was a 14–7 win at #11 Illinois, the reigning Big Nine and Rose Bowl champion.[10]

Game summary

Bob Chappuis and Bump Elliott were the stars for the Wolverines. Jack Weisenburger scored three touchdowns. Nine Rose Bowl records were set.


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter


The final regular season AP Poll, taken before the bowls, had Notre Dame #1 (107 first place votes) and Michigan #2 (25 first place votes). Notre Dame did not play in a bowl game. After urging from Detroit Free Press sports editor Lyall Smith, the Associated Press conducted its first ever post-bowl poll; Michigan won that unofficial final poll, 266–119.[11]

The Wolverines continued their winning streak through the next season, winning all nine games. Because of the no-repeat rule for the Rose Bowl, runner-up Northwestern represented the Big Nine in the 1949 Rose Bowl. Michigan's 1,788 passing yards in 1947 was a school record that stood for 32 years, until 1979.


In Super Bowl LIV, the Kansas City Chiefs offense lined up for a 4th & 1 conversion attempt during the first quarter. The offense attempted a running back direct snap, converting the run for a first down. After the game, Chiefs' offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy told the media he discovered the trick play from watching Michigan run the play on the goal line in the 1948 Rose Bowl, adding it to the team's repertoire. Kansas City went on to win the game. The play was even named shift right to Rose Bowl parade.[12]


  1. ^ Official 2007 NCAA Division I football records book - PDF copy available at NCAA.org
  2. ^ "Michigan is no flash in the pan; the win another Rose Bowl game, 49-0". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 2, 1948. p. 9.
  3. ^ French, Bob (January 2, 1948). "Michigan accomplishes greatest rout in Trojan history". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 30.
  4. ^ "After 49-0 loss to Michigan, USC coach says Irish are best". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. January 2, 1948. p. 46.
  5. ^ 2008 Rose Bowl Program Archived 2008-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  6. ^ Rose Bowl Game History - KTLA Archived 2008-03-08 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Kane, Joseph Nathan; Steven Anzovin; Janet Podell (1997). Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History. Lecture Notes in Mathematics 1358. H. W. Wilson Company; 5th edition. ISBN 0-8242-0930-3. Warner Brothers-Pathe started showing this first color newsreel to theater audiences on 5 Jan 1948. It was made using the Cinecolor process.
  8. ^ "Sports writers choose Michigan almost 2 to 1". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 7, 1948. p. 16.
  9. ^ 2002 NCAA Records book - Attendance Records Archived April 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine page 494 (PDF)
  10. ^ Louis M. Guenin - The Perfect Season Archived 2007-09-10 at the Wayback Machine. Michigan Today Volume 30, Number 3, Fall 1998.
  11. ^ Kyrk, John. Natural Enemies. pp. 142–7. ISBN 1-58979-090-1.
  12. ^ Schuster, Blake. "Chiefs' Trick Play in Super Bowl Inspired by 1948 Rose Bowl, Says Eric Bieniemy". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 3, 2020.