1963 Rose Bowl
49th Rose Bowl Game
National Championship Game
1234 Total
Wisconsin 70723 37
USC 714147 42
DateJanuary 1, 1963
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPPete Beathard (USC QB)
Ron Vander Kelen (UW QB)
FavoriteWisconsin by 2 points[1][2]
National anthemUniversity of Wisconsin Marching Band
RefereeJames Cain (AAWU)
(split crew: AAWU, Big Ten)
Halftime showSpirit of Troy, University of Wisconsin Marching Band
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersMel Allen, Bill Symes
Rose Bowl
 < 1962  1964

The 1963 Rose Bowl was the 49th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on Tuesday, January 1, at the end of the 1962 season. The top-ranked USC Trojans defeated the Wisconsin Badgers, 42–37.[3][4][5] This was the first matchup between the AP Poll No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a bowl game,[6] although such matchups had occurred previously in the regular season (typically referred to as a "Game of the Century"). The game was therefore a de facto national championship game as the winner would receive the FWAA’s Grantland Rice Trophy.[7][8] The quarterbacks, Ron Vander Kelen of Wisconsin and Pete Beathard of USC, were named co-Players of the Game.[9]

Down 42–14 in the fourth quarter, Vander Kelen put together a number of drives to score 23 unanswered points and put the Badgers in position to win the game. Due to the historic #1 versus #2 bowl match-up, the number of Rose Bowl records set, and the furious fourth quarter rally by Wisconsin, this game frequently appears on lists of "greatest bowl games of all time."[10][11]

To date, this remains as Wisconsin’s only national championship game appearance.


See also: 1962 NCAA University Division football season and AP Poll § No. 1 vs. No. 2

This was the first bowl game to pair the #1 and #2 teams in the AP Poll, although there had previously been six regular season #1 versus #2 games since the inception of the poll in 1936.[12] This was the second Rose Bowl meeting between USC and Wisconsin (the first being the 1953 Rose Bowl) and the fourth meeting, overall.

Wisconsin Badgers

Main article: 1962 Wisconsin Badgers football team

Wisconsin finished the regular season 8–1, becoming the sole champion of the Big Ten Conference. The Badgers were undefeated except for a loss to conference rival Ohio State at Ohio Stadium, ranked #5 in the AP poll at the time. Notable victories were over then-#1 Northwestern during homecoming (37–6) and a comeback victory over archrival Minnesota, then ranked #5 (14–9). The Badgers earned their third trip to the Rose Bowl.

USC Trojans

Main article: 1962 USC Trojans football team

After consecutive losing seasons in 1960 and 1961, John McKay turned the Trojans around in his third season as head coach. The team opened with a defeat of #8 Duke. Consecutive wins against SMU, at Iowa, California, and at Illinois got the Trojans ranked higher in the top 10. USC's biggest game of the season was against ninth-ranked Washington; in the homecoming game on November 3, the Trojans blanked the Huskies 14–0.[13] With that win, the Trojans were ranked number two behind Northwestern. On November 17, by beating Navy and with Alabama losing to Georgia Tech 7–6, USC ascended to the number one spot in the AP poll.

In the rivalry game against UCLA, the Bruins led 3–0 until the fourth quarter, when the Trojans scored two touchdowns.[14] In the final game for Notre Dame head coach Joe Kuharich, USC shut out the 5–4 Fighting Irish at the Coliseum, breaking a five-game losing streak in the annual intersectional rivalry.[15] The Trojans finished ranked number 1 for the first time in the history of the AP poll, and were undefeated for the first time since the twice-tied 1939 team won the Rose Bowl.

Game summary

UW Marching Band during the pregame festivities
Lou Holland of the Badgers running around the end
Badgers' Ron Vander Kelen passing ball

USC tackle Marv Marinovich was ejected when he got caught elbowing Steve Underwood, the Wisconsin captain.[16] Wisconsin, under the direction of quarterback Ron Vander Kelen put together an incredible comeback attempt in the fourth quarter. Pete Beathard had completed his fourth touchdown pass with 14:54 left in the game to put USC up 42–14.

Then the Badgers, led by Vander Kelen, put together one of the greatest comebacks in the history of college football, scoring 23 unanswered points in the fourth quarter before time ran out. The final score of the game was USC-42, Wisconsin-37. For their efforts, quarterbacks Beathard and Vander Kelen were both named the Rose Bowl MVPs.


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter

Rose Bowl records set

See also: Rose Bowl Game § Game records

Statistic Total, Team Status
First downs 32, Wisconsin current
Passes attempted 48, Wisconsin[17] broken in 1995[18]
Passes intercepted 3, Wisconsin tied in 1984 – current
Passes completed 33, Wisconsin[17] broken in 1995[18]
Passing yards 401, Wisconsin[17] broken in 1995[18]
Most Plays ??, Wisconsin[18] broken in 1995[18]
Total Offense ??, Wisconsin[18] broken in 1995[18]
Combined points 79, Wisconsin & USC broken in 1991
touchdown passes 4, USC tied in 1984, 2005 – current
Combined touchdown passes 6, Wisconsin & USC ???
Penalties 12 for 93 yards, USC ???


Eleven Rose Bowl records were set and five still stand as of 2008: most intercepted passes (3 by Ron Vander Kelen), most touchdown passes (4 by USC, and six overall), most first downs by one team (32 by Wisconsin), and most penalties (USC 12 for 93 yards). The Rose Bowl record 79 total points scored in this game stood for nearly thirty years (subsequently broken in 1991, when Washington led by 25 and put in reserves early).[19] The omitted records stood for more than thirty years, until broken by Oregon quarterback Danny O'Neil in 1995.

The 1964 Cotton Bowl Classic was the next #1 versus #2 bowl game, while the second #1 versus #2 Rose Bowl came in 1969.

Both of the consensus All-America ends played in this game. Pat Richter (Wisconsin) and Hal Bedsole (USC) were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, in 1996 and 2012, respectively. This was Richter's last college game, while Bedsole was an underclassman.

Three players from this game (Beathard, Vander Kelen, and Richter) have been inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. John McKay has also been inducted as a coach.

The game is considered by many to be among the greatest games in college football history, along with the 2006 Rose Bowl, among others.

USC's next Rose Bowl was four years later, the first of four consecutive; Wisconsin did not return for 31 years.


  1. ^ "Badgers, Tide, Tigers, Ole Miss bowl choices". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). UPI. January 1, 1963. p. 6.
  2. ^ Zimmerman, Paul (January 1, 1963). "Badgers bent on bowl vengeance; Wisconsin winless in two classics". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Los Angeles Times). p. 12.
  3. ^ "Trojans snare Roses in wild battle, 42-37". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). UPI. January 2, 1963. p. 8.
  4. ^ "Spectacular Wisconsin rally falls five points short". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1963. p. 2B.
  5. ^ Myers, Bob (January 2, 1963). "USC survives Badger rally 42-37". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. 14.
  6. ^ Schmadtke, Alan. "No. 1 Vs. No. 2". Archived from the original on March 4, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2010. The two top-ranked teams in The Associated Press poll have played each other 11 times in postseason. Here is a look at one of those matchups.
  7. ^ Los Angeles Times "The national championship was at stake – USC was ranked No. 1 and Wisconsin No. 2"
  8. ^ Jenkins, Dan (September 11, 1967). "THIS YEAR THE FIGHT WILL BE IN THE OPEN". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  9. ^ 2008 Rose Bowl Program Archived 2008-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  10. ^ "The List: Greatest bowl games". Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  11. ^ "Tuesday Question – Ten Greatest Bowl Games". Archived from the original on December 11, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  12. ^ "Games Where #1 Faced #2". Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  13. ^ Zimmerman, Paul "EVERYTHING'S ROSY! TROJANS WIN, 14-0". Los Angeles Times, November 4, 1962
  14. ^ Zimmerman, Paul "TROJANS ALMOST TRIP ON WAY TO BOWL. 86,740 See Stubborn Bruins Bow in 4th Quarter, 14-3". Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1962
  15. ^ Zimmerman, Paul "PERFECT ENDING: TROJANS, 25; IRISH, 0". Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1962
  16. ^ Stiegman, Pat – 1963: The greatest Rose Bowl ever. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 23, 1993. ... the Trojans were a few quarts low in the second half, losing several players to injury and tackle Marv Marinovich (yes, father of Los Angeles Raiders QB Todd Marinovich) to ejection when he got caught elbowing Underwood in the skull AFTER a play in the third quarter. "I was walking back to the huddle and BAM, I felt this bump in the back of the head", [Steve] Underwood said. "I turned around here here's Marinovich and the ref standing right there, watching the whole thing. It was so stupid, it was unbelievable."
  17. ^ a b c Underwoord, John (September 9, 2010). "Vander Kelen". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Bonk, Thomas (January 3, 1995). "ROSE BOWL: PENN STATE 38, OREGON 20 : This Duck Just Winged It : Oregon's Danny O'Neil Shatters Rose Bowl Passing Records in Loss to Penn State". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  19. ^ "UW's Rally Falls Short vs. USC in Rose Bowl". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2010.