1975 Rose Bowl
61st Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
Ohio State 07010 17
USC 30015 18
DateJanuary 1, 1975
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPPat Haden   (USC QB)
J. K. McKay (USC SE)
FavoriteOhio State by 6 points [1][2]
RefereeCharles Moffett (Pac-8)
(split crew: Pac-8, Big Ten)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersCurt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis
Rose Bowl
 < 1974  1976

The 1975 Rose Bowl was the 61st edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Wednesday, January 1. The fifth-ranked USC Trojans of the Pacific-8 Conference defeated #3 Ohio State Buckeyes of the Big Ten Conference, 18–17 in one of the most exciting games in the history of the Rose Bowl.[3][4][5][6][7]

After a touchdown pass with two minutes remaining to draw within a point, USC quarterback Pat Haden passed to Shelton Diggs for a two-point conversion to take the lead.[3][4][5][6] It gave the Trojans the Rose Bowl victory and the UPI coaches poll national title.

This was the third consecutive year for these teams in the Rose Bowl: USC won in 1973, Ohio State in 1974.


Ohio State Buckeyes

See also: 1974 Ohio State Buckeyes football team

The defending Rose Bowl champs were the nation's top-ranked team for much of the season, until they were upset by Michigan State 16–13 at East Lansing on November 9. Two weeks later, the Buckeyes earned the Rose Bowl berth with a 12–10 victory over Michigan, when kicker Mike Lantry's last-second field goal attempt sailed just wide.[8][9]

Ohio State was favored to win the Rose Bowl by six points.[1][2]

USC Trojans

See also: 1974 USC Trojans football team

USC was upset by Arkansas 22–7 in Little Rock in the season opener, then reeled off five straight wins before a 15–15 tie at home against California. They won their final four games, the most dramatic being a season-ending 55–24 win over #5 Notre Dame in which the Trojans trailed 24–0.[10][11]

Scoring summary

First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter


Undefeated Oklahoma was the #1 team in the AP poll, but were on probation and ineligible for a bowl game. The UPI poll excluded teams on probation, and after the regular season, the UPI had Alabama first, followed by Ohio State, Michigan, USC, and Auburn. The Trojans' dramatic Rose Bowl win over Ohio State enabled them to leapfrog idle Michigan, and when Notre Dame upset Alabama in the Orange Bowl, 13–11, USC was voted #1 in the UPI poll. This game marked USC head coach John McKay's eighth and last appearance in the Rose Bowl and his fifth win.

This was the last season in which the Big Ten and Pac-8 conferences allowed just one bowl team each, to the Rose Bowl. Michigan and twelfth-ranked Michigan State did not participate in this bowl season; USC was the only Pac-8 team in the top twenty of either final poll. Michigan missed the postseason for three straight seasons, despite ten wins each year and an overall record of 30–2–1 (.924).[13]

Game notes


  1. ^ a b Taylor, Jim (January 1, 1975). "Bucks 6-point pick in Rose Bowl today". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 49.
  2. ^ a b Daytona Beach Morning Journal (January 1, 1975). "Southern Cal seeks Revenge on two counts". (Florida). Associated Press. p. 4C.
  3. ^ a b Underwood, John; Jares, Joe (January 13, 1975). "Top of the ladder, with a boost". Sports Illustrated. p. 24.
  4. ^ a b Dodds, Tracy (January 2, 1975). "Trojans disdain tie in 18-17 victory". Milwaukee Journal. p. 11, part 2.
  5. ^ a b Cour, Jim (January 2, 1975). "Number one son no gamble for McKay". Beaver County Times. (Pennsylvania). UPI. p. D4.
  6. ^ a b "Trojans grab Roses, 18-17". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. January 2, 1975. p. 1B.
  7. ^ Rose Bowl Timeline
  8. ^ "Kick, kick, kick kick: 12-10, OSU". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. (Florida). Associated Press. November 24, 1974. p. 1B.
  9. ^ Kennedy, Ray (December 2, 1974). "Still alive and kicking". Sports Illustrated. p. 22.
  10. ^ "Davis haunts Irish with 4 TD's 55-24". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. (Florida). UPI. December 1, 1974. p. 1C.
  11. ^ Jares, Joe (December 9, 1974). "That California earthquake". Sports Illustrated. p. 30.
  12. ^ "USC Football 1975" media guide
  13. ^ "Schembechler expresses mixed feeling over poll". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 4, 1975. p. 16.