1986 Rose Bowl
72nd Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
UCLA 1014714 45
Iowa 73711 28
DateJanuary 1, 1986
StadiumRose Bowl
MVPEric Ball (UCLA RB)
FavoriteIowa by 4½ points[1]
National anthemUCLA Solid Gold
Sound Band
RefereeTom Quinn (Big Ten)
Halftime showUCLA Band and
Hawkeye Marching Band
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersDick Enberg, Merlin Olsen
Nielsen ratings22.7[2]
Rose Bowl
 < 1985  1987

The 1986 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1986. It was the 72nd edition and was held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The UCLA Bruins upset the Iowa Hawkeyes 45–28. UCLA tailback Eric Ball was named the Player Of The Game.[3] He ran for a Rose Bowl record four touchdowns.[4]

Pre-game activities

On Tuesday, October 22, 1985, the Rose Queen selection ceremony took place at Tournament House in Pasadena when 17-year-old Aimee Lynn Richelieu, a senior at San Marino High School and a resident of San Marino, California, was named the 68th Rose Queen to reign over the 97th Rose Parade and the 72nd Rose Bowl Game. On Thursday, October 24, the Coronation occurred at the Wrigley Mansion, when the 1985–86 Tournament of Roses President, Frederick D. Johnson, Jr., placed the Queen's Crown on Miss Richelieu's head and a dozen roses in her arms to start her year-long reign.

The game was presided over by the 1986 Tournament of Roses Royal Court and Rose Parade Grand Marshal Erma Bombeck. Members of the court are: Princesses Shannon Guernsey, Altadena; Christine Huff, Altadena; April Lake, Arcadia; Tracey Langford, Pasadena; Julene Penner, Pasadena; and Loreen Weeks, Sierra Madre.


See also 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season

The 1986 Rose Bowl matched the winners of the Big Ten Conference and the Pacific-10 Conference. Each conference had tie-breaker rules in place should there be conference co-champions.


Main article: 1985 Iowa Hawkeyes football team

Iowa spent a number of weeks ranked number one. On October 19, 1985, they defeated the #2 Michigan Wolverines 12–10 in the thirteenth regular season matchup between a #1 and #2 team.[5] Mike Haight, Chuck Long, and Ronnie Harmon were the stars for the Hawkeyes. They eventually lost one game, on November 2 to Ohio State, 13–22.[6] Iowa came into the game with a record of 10–1.

After much consideration, Chuck Long delighted Iowa Hawkeye fans by declaring that he would return for his senior season. He became an instant Heisman Trophy candidate, and Iowa was a pre-season top five team. After three weeks in 1985, the Hawkeyes ascended to #1 in the national rankings.

In Iowa's first game at #1, the Hawkeyes played Michigan State. A seesaw game had the Spartans leading 31–28 in the waning minutes. Long drove Iowa the length of the field, and the Hawkeyes faced fourth and goal from the two-yard line with just 27 seconds remaining. Since there was no overtime rule until 1996, Iowa needed to go for the touchdown and the win. Long faked a handoff to running back Harmon and then ran to his right. His fake had fooled the Spartan defenders, and Long ran into the endzone, holding the ball high above his head as he crossed the goal line to give Iowa a 35–31 victory. He completed a school record 30 passes on 39 attempts for 380 yards and scored five touchdowns (four passing and the game winning score rushing) in the game.

Two weeks later, #1 Iowa faced #2 Michigan in Kinnick Stadium. Iowa trailed 10-9 as the Hawkeyes regained possession of the football at their own 22-yard line with just 5:27 remaining in the game. Long led Iowa on a 66-yard drive against the nation's top-ranked defense, twice converting third-and-eight situations by completing passes to tight end Mike Flagg. Long drove the Iowa team to the 12-yard line with two seconds remaining to set up kicker Rob Houghtlin's game-winning field goal as time expired. Long completed 26 of 39 passes for 297 yards in Iowa's 12–10 win.

Their only loss, at Ohio State in early November, cost Iowa the #1 ranking, but the Hawkeyes still won the Big Ten title outright for the first time in 27 years.[7] Long won many major national awards as a senior, including the 1985 Maxwell Award, given to the nation's top player and the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top quarterback. He was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a consensus first team All-American. Finally, Long was the runner-up in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy to Bo Jackson of Auburn in the closest margin to date, losing by just 45 points.


Main article: 1985 UCLA Bruins football team

UCLA defeated defending national champion BYU 27–24 in Provo to start the season, and tied eventual SEC and Sugar Bowl champion Tennessee. The Bruins opened the Pac-10 season by losing 21–14 at Washington. They later got two key wins, the first against Arizona State, the second at Arizona. For much of the season, the rushing defense was ranked second in the nation, behind Oklahoma.[8][9] They won the rest of their games leading to the 1985 USC vs UCLA game.

Needing a win against 4–5 USC, UCLA struggled. Gaston Green and Mel Farr Jr. had fumbles in the game. UCLA was leading in the fourth quarter 13–10 when Eric Ball fumbled at the USC 1 as he was about to score what would have been the clinching touchdown.[10] Freshman quarterback Rodney Peete led USC on a drive, converting a key fourth down along the way. In the last two minutes, USC again faced a fourth down, this time at UCLA's 2-yard line. USC scored to take a 17–13 lead, then intercepted UCLA quarterback David Norrie as he tried to lead a Bruin comeback. UCLA's loss opened the door for Washington to grab the Rose Bowl berth, but they were upset by Washington State the same day, 21–20. Washington lost the advantage due to their upset home loss to Oregon State. This put Arizona State in position to win the conference as they entered their rivalry game with Arizona with only one conference loss (40–17 to UCLA). But later that evening, Arizona defeated Arizona State 16–13 to cause a tie between UCLA, Arizona State, and Arizona.[11] UCLA won the tiebreaker and the Rose Bowl berth by virtue of its wins over Arizona and Arizona State.[12][13]

UCLA came into New Year's with a record of 8–2–1, and head coach Terry Donahue had been named Pac-10 Coach of the year.[14] Five Bruin players were first team All-Pac-10: defensive tackle Mark Walen, offensive tackle Mike Hartmeier, kicker John Lee, nose guard Terry Tumey, and inside linebacker Tommy Taylor. Walen was named Pac-10 defensive player of the year. UCLA finished ranked #1 in the nation in rushing defense, at 70.3 yards per game. Oklahoma was second with 89.9 yards per game.[15]

Game summary

Rose Bowl records at the Hall of Champions
Rose Bowl records at the Hall of Champions

The weather was overcast and 71 °F (22 °C). The UCLA Bruins wore white visitor jerseys, and the Iowa Hawkeyes wore their black home jerseys. Both teams wore Rose Bowl patches on their uniforms. The Iowa Hawkeye helmets bore a sticker with the letters "ANF" for "America Needs Farmers". Coach Hayden Fry had the players wear these stickers to bring attention the plight of American farmers.[16]


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter

Houghtlin tied the record for longest field goal made in the Rose Bowl.


Team Stats UCLA Iowa
First Downs 29 25
Net Yards Rushing 299 82
Net Yards Passing 189 319
Total Yards 488 401
PC–PA–Int. 16–26–1 29–38–1
Punts–Avg. 2–38.5 2–32.5
Fumbles–Lost 3–2 4–4
Penalties–Yards 6–36 5–40


Final polls

Iowa missed an outside shot at the final #1 ranking, with #2 Miami losing to Tennessee 35–7 in the Sugar Bowl and #3 Oklahoma defeating #1 Penn State 25–10 in the Orange Bowl.[20] Oklahoma had leapfrogged Iowa on December 10 in the poll. Michigan finished at #2 after their Fiesta Bowl win, the highest final poll ranking ever achieved by Michigan coach Bo Schembechler.

Television ratings

This game had a 22.7 television ratings share. Through 2007, only the 1987 Fiesta Bowl game has a higher U.S. television rating at 24.9. Only the 1988 Orange Bowl at a 20.8 and the 2006 Rose Bowl at a 21.7 have over a 20 share since the 1986 Rose Bowl.[2]

Chuck Long

Though Iowa lost in Chuck Long's final game in the 1986 Rose Bowl a 45–28 loss to UCLA, the loophole with the redshirting rule allowed Long to play in his fifth bowl game. He is believed to be the only collegiate player to participate in five bowl games. Long's Iowa teams compiled a 35-13-1 record. He graduated with 10,461 passing yards and 74 touchdowns on 782 completions. He held every passing record at the University of Iowa except one (passes attempted in a game) when he graduated. Long holds the best completion percentage of any college quarterback all-time who has attempted more than 1,000 career passes. He was also the first Big Ten player and just the second player in college football history to throw for more than 10,000 yards in a career. Chuck Long was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Ronnie Harmon

It has been implied that Harmon was actually throwing the game with the fumbles and dropped pass.[21] Coach Hayden Fry commented on the issue in his book High Porch Picnic:[22]

"Harmon took a lot of heat because he lost four fumbles, all in the first half. That was uncharacteristic of him; I think he fumbled once during the regular season. The game film reveals that every fumble he lost was caused by a UCLA defender making a hard hit. They just knocked the ball loose. They [UCLA] did a great job of tackling. UCLA made bad things happen to Iowa; Iowa didn’t self-destruct. Ronnie Harmon had a tremendous football career with the Hawkeyes, and I hated to see it end that way."

Harmon had 14 carries for a total of 55 yards.[19]

Terry Donahue

This was Donahue's third and final win in the Rose Bowl Game. It was the fourth New Year's Day win in a row for Donahue and the Bruins. It would culminate in an NCAA record seven straight bowl game wins for Donahue and the Bruins following the 1989 Cotton Bowl. Donahue coached in 13 bowl games, second only in the Pac-10 to Don James' 14 bowl games.[23] As of the 2021 season, the Bruins have not won again in the Rose Bowl game.

Future NFL players

Future NFL Players James Washington, Mike Sherrard, Mark Walen, Ken Norton, Jr., Jim Wahler, Carnell Lake, Darryl Henley, Chuck Long, Ronnie Harmon, Larry Station, Devon Mitchell, Mel Farr Jr., Mike Farr, and Mike Haight played in this game.[19]

Future head coaches

Kirk Ferentz, Bill Snyder, and Barry Alvarez were assistant coaches for Hayden Fry.


  1. ^ "The latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 1, 1986. p. 36.
  2. ^ a b Rose Bowl Game(R) National Championship Scores Championship Rating of 21.7. The 2006 Rose Bowl Game National Championship, presented by Citi was broadcast by ABC Sports and earned the highest-rated Rose Bowl Game ratings in 20 years. PRNewswire, January 6, 2006. The final national HH [household] rating of 21.7 for Wednesday night's game makes it the highest-rated Rose Bowl Game in 20 years -- since the 1986 Rose Bowl (UCLA-Iowa) which reported a HH rating of 22.7.
  3. ^ 2008 Rose Bowl Program Archived 2008-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  4. ^ "Iowa Has No Fun, but UCLA Has a Ball". Los Angeles Times. January 2, 1986. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  5. ^ No. 1 vs. No. 2 Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine. CBS Sportsline
  6. ^ University of Iowa Football 2007 Media Fact Book
  7. ^ Big Ten Football Media Guide. Note that Michigan had a 6-1-1 record in second place to Iowa's 7-1 record. Michigan also had tied with Illinois.
  8. ^ Dodds, Tracy – True Grit on Ground : Walen Anchors UCLA's Ranked Rushing Defense. Los Angeles Times, November 6, 1985
  9. ^ Dodds, Tracy – UCLA Bruins, Alias Smith and Jackson : Sophomore Outside Linebackers Have Earned the Respect of Their Coaches Los Angeles Times, November 13, 1986
  10. ^ Dodds, Tracy – Wildcats Find the Way to Lift Bruins' Spirits. Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1985
  11. ^ Oates, Bob – Strange Plays Beat Sun Devils : To UCLA's Benefit, Arizona State Was Own Worst Enemy. Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1985
  12. ^ Dodds, Tracy – Donahue Says UCLA Didn't Back In : Coach Points Out Bruins Finished With the Best Record. Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1985
  13. ^ UCLA had a record of 6–2, both ASU and Arizona were 5-2 having played one fewer conference games. The University of Arizona football M16edia Guide in the 2013 season lists the Wildcats as finishing tied for second place. The Arizona State University Media Guide in the 2013 season listed the Sun Devils as having finished in third place. The Pac-12 Media guide lists ASU and Arizona having tied for second with UCLA in sole possession of first place.
  14. ^ Donahue and Walen Win Honors in Pacific-10 Conference. Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1985
  15. ^ University of Oklahoma Football Media Guide. University of Oklahoma Athletic Department. Norman, Oklahoma: University Printing Services 1986
  16. ^ ANF History / Hayden Fry Iowa Farm Bureau 2013
  17. ^ Leading Lady : Humorist Erma Bombeck to Be Marshal of Rose Parade. Los Angeles Times, September 5, 1985
  18. ^ Historical Media Guide, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, 2009
  19. ^ a b c UCLA Football Media Guide
  20. ^ White, Gordon S. (jr.) – THE MAJOR BOWL GAMES; ON NEW YEAR'S DAY, A SCRAMBLE TO BE NO.1. New York Times, December 30, 1985. Quote: "Then there is Iowa out in the Rose Bowl. The once-beaten Hawkeyes are probably not serious contenders for No. 1, but they may get a lot of votes if they beat U.C.L.A. in the Rose Bowl and Penn State loses."
  21. ^ Ron Maly: Hawkeye Past and Hawkeye Future Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. July 25, 2002. Scout.com Abstract: Accusations by a mobster, Michael Franzese, a thug who was associated with sports agent Norby Walters, and was interviewed on HBO's Real Sports, implicated Ronnie Harmon in throwing the 1986 Rose Bowl.
  22. ^ Fry, Hayden (2001)
  23. ^ Pac-12 conference football media guide, 2013 edition


  • University of Iowa Football 2007 Media Fact Book – (PDF copy available at hawkeyesports.cstv.com/ Archived July 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine)
  • UCLA Football Media Guide (PDF Copy available at www.uclabruins.com)
  • The 1986 ROSE BOWL GAME IOWA VS. UCLA. Touchdown Publications, January 1, 1986 (Game Program)
  • Fry, Hayden; Wine, George (2001). A High Porch Picnic. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-58261-373-7.
  • 1986 Rose Bowl Telecast (Television production). Pasadena, California (USA): NBC. January 1, 1986.