1980 Rose Bowl
66th Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
USC 3707 17
Ohio State 01033 16
DateJanuary 1, 1980
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPCharles White (USC RB)
FavoriteUSC by 7½ points[1][2]
RefereeGene Calhoun (Big Ten)
(split crew: Big Ten, Pac-10)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersDick Enberg, Merlin Olsen,
and O. J. Simpson
Nielsen ratings28.6
Rose Bowl
 < 1979  1981

The 1980 Rose Bowl was It was the 66th edition of the college football bowl game, played on Tuesday, January 1, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The USC Trojans, champions of the Pacific-10 Conference, defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, champions of the Big Ten Conference, 17–16.[3][4]

USC's Heisman Trophy running back Charles White was named the Player of the Game (for a second time, having shared the previous game's award with Rick Leach), rushing for a record 247 yards, including the game-winning touchdown with little more than a minute remaining in the contest.[5]

Ohio State went into the game with an 11–0 record, and was one of two undefeated and untied teams in the nation, along with Alabama. Had the Buckeyes won the game, they would have likely won at least a share of the national championship, as they were ranked first in the AP Poll at kickoff.[1][6]

The game received a 28.6 Nielsen Rating, making it one of the highest-rated college football games of all time.[7]

USC, having suffered a shocking 21–21 tie with Stanford (a home game in which they led 21–0 at halftime) that cost them the #1 ranking in mid-October,[8] was runner-up in both final polls, behind Alabama.

This was the sixth consecutive Rose Bowl win for the Pac-10, with ten wins in the last eleven.[1]


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter


  1. ^ a b c "Ohio State hopes to snap Big Ten's Rose Bowl jinx". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 1, 1980. p. 20.
  2. ^ "Latest line: college football bowl games". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 1, 1980. p. 20.
  3. ^ "White carries USC as far as one man can". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1980. p. 1D.
  4. ^ Looney, Douglas S. (January 14, 1980). "A beautiful Rose, even for 'Bama". Sports Illustrated. p. 28.
  5. ^ "Trojans' White runs sweet as a 'Rose'". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 2, 1980. p. C1.
  6. ^ "New year starts with fight for No. 1". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. December 31, 1979. p. 4B.
  7. ^ "Fiesta Bowl Sets Record for TV". The New York Times. January 6, 1987.
  8. ^ "For Cards, a tie is a win; for USC, a loss". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. October 14, 1979. p. 3B.