1989 Rose Bowl
75th Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
Michigan 30613 22
USC 01400 14
DateJanuary 2, 1989
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPLeroy Hoard (Michigan FB)
FavoriteUSC by 6½ points[1][2]
National anthemMichigan Marching Band
RefereeGordon Riese (Pac-10)
(split crew between
Pac-10 and Big Ten)
Halftime showMichigan Marching Band, Spirit of Troy
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersKeith Jackson, Bob Griese
Rose Bowl
 < 1988  1990

The 1989 Rose Bowl was the 75th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, January 2. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Tournament of Roses parade. The Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten Conference upset the fifth-ranked USC Trojans of the Pacific-10 Conference, 22–14.[3][4] Down by eleven points at halftime, the Wolverines shut out the Trojans in the second half and won by eight. Michigan fullback Leroy Hoard was named the Player of the Game.[5][6][7][8]

It marked consecutive Rose Bowl wins for the Big Ten, which had only two victories (1974, 1981) in the previous eighteen (19701987). Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler's record in the game improved to 2–7 (.222).[6][7] Under second-year head coach Larry Smith, USC lost consecutive Rose Bowls for the only time in its history, and through 2024, no Pac-12 team has done so since. The previous western team to lose consecutively was California, which lost three straight (19491951) while representing the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC).

This was the first of 22 Rose Bowls televised by ABC; it had been on NBC since the first television broadcast in January 1952. Because New Year's Day was on a Sunday in 1989, the game was played the next day. Both teams returned the following year for a rematch, with a different result.


Michigan Wolverines

Main article: 1988 Michigan Wolverines football team

Michigan opened the season with consecutive narrow losses to Notre Dame and Miami (FL) who were ranked #13 and #1 respectively at the time. But they recovered to go unbeaten the rest of the way, their only blemish being a 17–17 tie at Iowa. A 17–3 win over defending Big 10 champ Michigan State proved to be the difference as Michigan won the Big 10 by one game over Michigan State.[9]

USC Trojans

Main article: 1988 USC Trojans football team

USC opened the season with nine straight wins and rose to #2 in the rankings. They faced sixth ranked rival UCLA, who was 9–1 and had been ranked #1 for a couple of weeks earlier. The game in Pasadena was one of the notable ones in the UCLA–USC rivalry in that it was for the Pac-10 championship (Rose Bowl berth), and a possible Heisman Trophy for either starting quarterback, Troy Aikman of UCLA or Rodney Peete of USC. Peete was found to have measles in the days before the game; USC used a strong ground game and "bend but don't break" defense, in front of the largest Rose Bowl regular season crowd in history, to beat the Bruins 31–22.[10][11][12]

The win set up a rare #2 USC vs. #1 Notre Dame matchup the following week in Los Angeles, which the undefeated Irish dominated, 27–10.[13][14][15] It was the fifth straight loss for the Trojans in the annual rivalry,[16] a winless streak that continued until 1996.[17]

Game summary

Behind the passing of Heisman Trophy runner-up Rodney Peete and running of Aaron Emmanuel, USC scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and took a 14–3 to halftime. Despite their lack of early success, Michigan stuck with its pounding running attack led by a huge offensive line and running back (and game MVP) Leroy Hoard. They began to wear down the Trojans and USC's offense began to sputter. By the fourth quarter, Michigan's offensive line took over and the Wolverines took a 22–14 lead into the last two minutes. Peete tried to lead the Trojans to a touchdown and game tying two-point conversion but Michigan's defense forced an interception to effectively end the game.[3][4][5][6]

Further reading


  1. ^ "The latest line: college bowls". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 31, 1988. p. 21.
  2. ^ "Odds: college bowls". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). January 2, 1989. p. D2.
  3. ^ a b Friend, Tom (January 3, 1989). "Free-wheeling Wolverines beat USC, 22-14". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (Washington Post). p. 1D.
  4. ^ a b Buursma, Bruce (January 3, 1989). "Schembechler smells the Roses". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Chicago Tribune). p. B1.
  5. ^ a b Woolford, Dave (January 3, 1989). "Hoard, Brown top dogs for Michigan in Rose Bowl". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 19.
  6. ^ a b c "Michigan rallies past USC". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. January 3, 1989. p. 3B.
  7. ^ a b "Michigan win keeps coach healthy". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. January 3, 1989. p. B1.
  8. ^ 2008 Rose Bowl Program Archived 2008-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, 2008 Rose Bowl. Retrieved January 26, 2008.
  9. ^ Wood, Bob (1989). Big Ten Country: A Journey Through One Football Season. William Morrow & Co. ISBN 0-688-08922-4.
  10. ^ Telander, Rick (November 28, 1988). "On top in L.A." Sports Illustrated. p. 32.
  11. ^ Crowe, Jerry (November 20, 1988). "USC wins, for Peete's sake". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (Los Angeles Times). p. 1F.
  12. ^ "Peete, USC claim rose-colored win". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. November 20, 1988. p. F1.
  13. ^ Telander, Rick (December 5, 1988). "Go get 'em, men". Sports Illustrated. p. 26.
  14. ^ Fainaru, Steve (November 27, 1988). "Irish lose two, but still the one, 27-10". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (Hartford Courant). p. 1E.
  15. ^ Maisel, Ivan (November 27, 1988). "Irish knock Trojans off their horses". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Dallas Morning News). p. D1.
  16. ^ "USC seniors never beat Notre Dame". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). wire services. November 27, 1988. p. F3.
  17. ^ "Irish may stay home after loss". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. December 2, 1996. p. C3.