1990 Rose Bowl
76th Rose Bowl Game
1234 Total
USC 01007 17
Michigan 0370 10
DateJanuary 1, 1990
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPRicky Ervins (USC RB)
FavoriteUSC by 2 points[1]
RefereeJim Kemerling (Big Ten)
(split crew between
Big Ten and Pac-10)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersKeith Jackson, Bob Griese
Rose Bowl
 < 1989  1991

The 1990 Rose Bowl was the 76th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, January 1. The game was a rematch of the previous year, won by Michigan, 22–14. Gaining a measure of revenge, the USC Trojans upset the third-ranked Michigan Wolverines, 17–10.[2][3] USC junior running back Ricky Ervins was named the Player Of The Game.[4] This was Bo Schembechler's final game as Michigan's head coach,[5] and he finished with a 2–8 record in Rose Bowls.[6][7][8][9][10]

Pre-game activities

On Tuesday, October 24, 1989, Tournament of Roses President Don W. Fedde chose 17-year-old Yasmine Begum Delawari, a senior at La Canada High School and a resident of La Cañada Flintridge, California. She became the 72nd Rose Queen to reign over the 101st Rose Parade and the 76th Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day.

The game was presided over by the 1990 Tournament of Roses Royal Court and Rose Parade Grand Marshal John Glenn, U.S. Senator from Ohio and an original astronaut. Members of the court included princesses Kristin Gibbs, South Pasadena, Pasadena City College; Inger Miller, Altadena, John Muir High School; Marisa Stephenson, Arcadia, Arcadia High School; Joanne Ward, Arcadia, Arcadia High School; Kandace Watson, Pasadena, John Muir High School; and Peggy Ann Zazueta, Temple City, Maranatha High School.


Michigan Wolverines

Main article: 1989 Michigan Wolverines football team

The Wolverines lost their opening game, at home, to Notre Dame 24–19. The UCLA Bruins under Terry Donahue and the Michigan Wolverines under Bo Schembechler met for the only time since the 1983 Rose Bowl in a UCLA home game at the Rose Bowl on September 23, 1989. The fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines defeated #24 UCLA by a point, 24–23. This began a ten-game winning streak for Michigan, the biggest win was a 24–10 win at Illinois that ultimately gave the Big Ten title to Michigan, over the runner-up Illini.

USC Trojans

Main article: 1989 USC Trojans football team

USC lost their opener to Illinois 14–13, but won the rest with the exception of a 28–24 mid-season loss at Notre Dame and a 10–10 tie in their regular season finale with rival UCLA. They won the Pac-10 title by 2½ games over Washington, who had struggled early in the season.

It was a third-straight berth in the Rose Bowl for the Trojans, but they had lost the previous two, the only such streak in USC history (through 2022, no Pac-12 team has done so since). The previous western team to lose consecutively was California, which dropped three straight (19491951) while representing the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC).

Game summary

The game was expected to be a tight physical defensive struggle,[11] and it was. USC scored first, when quarterback Todd Marinovich ran for a touchdown and led 10–3 at halftime, but Michigan came back to tie the score in the third quarter. Midway through the fourth quarter, Michigan faced a 4th-and-2 at its own 46-yard line. The normally conservative Schembechler called for a fake punt and it worked to perfection as punter Chris Stapleton rambled 24 yards for what would have been a first down, but Michigan was called for holding. On the resultant drive, USC scored the winning touchdown with just over a minute to play.[2][3][8][9][10]

At the end of the game, Schembechler walked off the field as head coach for the last time, refusing interview requests; he remained briefly as the athletic director,[11] a post he gained concurrently in 1988. A few days later, he announced he was leaving Michigan to become the president of the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball.[12][13][14]


First quarter

None 0–0 tie

Second quarter

USC: Todd Marinovich, 1-yard run (Quin Rodriguez kick), USC 7–0
Mich: J.D. Carlson, 19-yard field goal, USC 7–3
USC: Rodriguez, 34-yard field goal, USC 10–3

Third quarter

Mich: Allen Jefferson, 2-yard run (Carlson kick), 10–10 tie

Fourth quarter

USC: Ricky Ervins, 14-yard run (Rodriguez kick), 17–10 USC


  1. ^ "The latest line: college bowl games". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 1, 1990. p. 37.
  2. ^ a b Peters, Ken (January 2, 1990). "Trojans jump on Wolverines". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. p. 4B.
  3. ^ a b Johnson, Mark (January 2, 1990). "Bo's retirement doesn't turn up Roses". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Dallas Morning News). p. B1.
  4. ^ 2008 Rose Bowl Program Archived March 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  5. ^ LaPointe, Joe (January 1, 1990). "Bye-bye, Bo". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. New York Times News Service. p. 32.
  6. ^ "In typical style, Bo says farewell". The Bulletin. (Bend, Oregon). UPI. January 2, 1990. p. D3.
  7. ^ Looney, Douglas S. (January 8, 1990). "A most appropriate exit". Sports Illustrated. p. 19.
  8. ^ a b Littwin, Mike (January 2, 1990). "Schembechler throws one last tantrum in Michigan's loss". Pittsburgh Press. p. D6.
  9. ^ a b Halvonik, Steve (January 2, 1990). "Bo leaves coaching without the roses". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 17.
  10. ^ a b Woolford, Dave (January 2, 1990). "Bo in character to the end as UM falters". Toledo Blade. p. 21.
  11. ^ a b "Gipper takes on Bo in the Rose Bowl". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 1, 1990. p. C2.
  12. ^ Atkins, Harry (January 8, 1990). "Schembechler to become Tigers' president". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. p. 23.
  13. ^ Taylor, Jim (January 9, 1990). "Bo to be an active president". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 24.
  14. ^ "Schembechler turns his talents to putting Detroit back on top". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). wire reports. January 9, 1990. p. C3.