1968 Rose Bowl
54th Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
USC 7070 14
Indiana 0300 3
DateJanuary 1, 1968
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPO. J. Simpson (USC TB)
FavoriteUSC by 14 points[1][2]
RefereeGene Calhoun (Big Ten)
(split crew: Big Ten, AAWU)
Halftime showSpirit of Troy, Indiana University Marching Hundred
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersCurt Gowdy, Paul Christman
Rose Bowl
 < 1967  1969

The 1968 Rose Bowl was the 54th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, January 1. The USC Trojans of the Pacific-8 Conference defeated the Indiana Hoosiers of the Big Ten Conference, 14–3. USC tailback O. J. Simpson was named the Player of the Game.[3][4][5]


See also: 1967 NCAA University Division football season

Through 2022, this remains the only Rose Bowl appearance for Indiana.[6] USC was a two touchdown favorite;[1][2] this was the first Rose Bowl in fifteen years in which the West Coast team was favored. In the intervening fourteen games, the Big Ten had won ten and lost four (1960, 1961, 1963, 1966).

Being an even-numbered year for the bowl game, Indiana wore their crimson jerseys as the home team and USC wore their white shirts as the designated visitors.


See also: 1967 USC Trojans football season

The top-ranked and Pac-8 champion Trojans came into the game with a 9–1 record, losing only at Oregon State in the November mud in a close 3–0 game.[7][8] They fell to fourth in the AP poll, then reclaimed the top spot a week later after a close 21–20 win over rival and then-#1 UCLA in their heavily-anticipated conference finale,[9][10] securing another trip to the Big Ten/Pac-8 classic. Runner-up Oregon State had a conference loss (at Washington) and a tie (at UCLA),[11] and the deflated UCLA Bruins lost again the following week 32–14 at home to non-conference Syracuse.[12]

The Trojans were led by their powerful junior tailback O. J. Simpson, a junior college transfer from San Francisco.[9] Unlike the Big Ten and the old Pacific Coast Conference, the Pac-8 did not have a "no-repeat" rule; this was the second of four consecutive Rose Bowl appearances for the Trojans.


See also: 1967 Indiana Hoosiers football season

The fourth-ranked and co-Big Ten champion Hoosiers also came into the game with a 9–1 record, losing to Minnesota,[13][14] a week before defeating Purdue.[15][16] A three-way league title championship was created when all three finished with 6–1 league records, each defeating and losing to one of the other. Purdue was ineligible because of the "no-repeat" rule by the Big Ten and the "Rose Bowl or no bowl" rule enforced by both of the participating conferences (Big Ten and AAWU). Purdue had played in Pasadena the previous year, beating USC by a point, 14–13.

The conference's athletic directors voted to award the Rose Bowl bid to Indiana over Minnesota, albeit not unanimously. Indiana was considered the logical choice because they were the only Big Ten school yet to appear in the game.[17] Minnesota coach Murray Warmath argued in vain that the Gophers deserved the bid because their prior two Rose Bowl teams, after the 1960 and 1961 seasons, received at-large bids because there was no agreement between the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl at the time; thus, technically, the Gophers never had received a Rose Bowl bid pursuant to that arrangement. Ironically, if Purdue had beaten Indiana in the season finale, the Boilermakers would have had sole possession of the conference championship, but Minnesota presumably would have received the Rose Bowl bid as the second place team in lieu of the ineligible Boilers. Instead, Indiana scored a 19–14 upset over Purdue, giving Minnesota a share of the conference championship but costing them a trip to Pasadena. Quarterback Harry Gonso led the Hoosiers into their first ever bowl game.


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter

No scoring


  1. ^ a b Loomis, Tom (January 1, 1968). "McKay hopes Trojans mad enough to win". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 65.
  2. ^ a b Olan, Ben (December 31, 1967). "Top-ranked USC favored by 2 TDs". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. p. 3B.
  3. ^ Loomis, Tom (January 2, 1968). "USC defense too tough for Hoosiers". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 14.
  4. ^ Stevenson, Jack (January 2, 1968). "Simpson responsible for Indy nightmare". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. p. 1B.
  5. ^ "Trojans end fairy tale dream of Cinderella kids from Indiana". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 2, 1968. p. 14.
  6. ^ "Rose Bowl preparations had oddity". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 1, 1968. p. 3C.
  7. ^ "Beavers upset Trojans 3-0". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 12, 1967. p. 1, sports.
  8. ^ "USC beaten; Indiana wins; Purdue rolls". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. November 12, 1967. p. G1.
  9. ^ a b Jenkins, Dan (November 20, 1967). "The great one confronts O.J." Sports Illustrated. p. 32.
  10. ^ Jenkins, Dan (November 27, 1967). "All the way with O.J." Sports Illustrated. p. 16.
  11. ^ "No Rose Bowl for Beavers; UCLA, Troy eye New Year's". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. November 13, 1967. p. 6.
  12. ^ "Unsung QB leads way past UCLA". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 26, 1967. p. 1, sports.
  13. ^ Loomis, Tom (November 19, 1967). "Minnesota blasts Indiana; USC wins". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. D1.
  14. ^ "Gophers shatter Hoosiers' bid for trip to Rose Bowl". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 19, 1967. p. 4, sports.
  15. ^ Taylor, Jim (November 26, 1967). "Indiana stuns Purdue; Bucks trim UM". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. E1.
  16. ^ "Upset taken by Hoosiers". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 26, 1967. p. 4, sports.
  17. ^ "Chicago Tribune - Historical Newspapers".