Rose Bowl

1956

 

Michigan State 17

UCLA 14

 

Michigan State Fight Song

 

By Dick Zehms
Long Beach Press-Telegram

Rose Bowl, Pasadena- Move over Roy (Wrong Way) Riegels, and make room for the UCLA Bruins in the Rose Bowl archives of colossal blunders. For want of intelligence, a ball game was lost.

Ninety-four seconds before the end of the 42nd annual R. B. game played Monday before 100,807 sundrenched spectators, UCLA had a 14-14 deadlock with Michigan State University's Spartans for delivery into history book of the famous Arroyo Seco classic- a moral victory in view of the Spartans' supremacy afield.

Then came a flood of "boneheads" which led to the climactic 41-yard field goal by end Dave Kaiser when the red lights on the south scoreboard blinked but seven seconds left in this memorable struggle. As the pigskin arched majestically through the uprights of the north goal line, the champions of the Pacific Coast Conference went down to defeat before another Big Ten giant, 17-14.

Bizarre indeed is the word to describe the last minute and 34 seconds of the game, for seldom have the Bruins, known the width and breadth of the land for astute conduct on the field, ever put together three "skulls' so damaging to Westwood dreams and hopes.

In some circles, these errors will be indelicately viewed as unbecoming the conduct of a Henry (Red) Sanders product. In others, they will-be hailed as the stepping stones-which led to the triumph of the disciples of Hugh (Duffy) Daugherty whose Spartans should have had the game sealed away in their possession long before the last 1:34 rolled-around.

Consider this amazing sequence of events building up to Kaiser's kayo punch with his right foot from the Bruin 31- a field goal which will live forever on the East Lansing, Mich. campus as the coup de grace to end all knockout blows.

The red lights on the south scoreboard blink to the world that there is a minute and 34 seconds left in the game. The score is tied 14-14.

Fullback Jerry Planutis has tried and failed to kick a field goal from the Bruin 29. It's short- way short- and wide. Now the ball comes to the Bruins on their own 20.

Anybody- and particularly the high and mighty champions of the PCC- can run out-a minute and 34 seconds for a tie!

But somebody from the Bruin bench, said to be line-coach Jim Myers, has signalled to Ronnie Knox, who has stepped back from the Bruin huddle, to pass. Officials detect the "coaching from the sidelines." A 15-yard penalty is reeled off, moving the ball back ton the Uclan five.

Next, Knox toe dances around in the end zone trying to find a target for a pass. Green-clad Spartan forms converge on him. In desperation, he threw a hasty pass, an illegible receiver was downfield and UCLA was penalized back to its one.

After a time out, the Bruins line up to punt, Knox deep in his own end zone. He boots. The ball is downed on the Bruin 29, but a Uclan has been detected trying to clobber the Spartan safety man before the ball comes down. The official marches off 15 yards to the Bruin 19 from the point of the foul. Instead of the ball resting on the 29, it's on the 19.

Now the Spartans scent victory. The clock shows 75 seconds to play. On the first play, the Spartans are penalized 15 yards for holding to the Bruin 30 from the point of the foul. Reserve halfback Don Zysk fails to gain. Earl Morrall then passes to Zysk for 10 yards, after which the Spartans are penalized five yards for delay of the game as a sub comes in bearing a kicking tee. Now the clock shows 14:53.

Enter now Kaiser, who is the Spartans' long field goal booter although he hasn't kicked one in a game all year. Morrall calmly sets the ball down, Kaiser connects, and the stadium rocks with delirious Michiganders. Kaiser is there upon mobbed by his own team mates. White-clad Bruins are so low they could chin themselves on the concrete curbing around the track which circles
the field. All is lost. A valiant battle has slipped from their grasp... their own doing!

The game was only 3:12 old when UCLA was in front, 7-0, because a Spartan miscue set up the first touchdown of the afternoon, so perhaps luck was only balancing the scales 56 minutes and 41 seconds later, when Kaiser kicked his magnificent field goal.

Morrall on the first scrimmage play of the day elected to pass from his own five when Jim Decker bobbed up with an interception on the Spartan 16. In four, plays, the Bruins bulled over, Bob Davenport smashing the final three yards, after which Decker converted.

Michigan State responded with a long march from its own 28 to the Uclan 24 where Hardiman Cureton threw Clarence Peaks for a loss on a fourth down and the Bruins took over on downs.

UCLA mounted a long sustained drive at the start of the second period. It didn't stop until Decker failed to hit a field goal from the Spartan 28. It was long enough, but wide to the west, so the Spartans took control on their 20. What followed squared matters at 7-7.

In 11 plays, well conceived by Morrall, the Spartans covered the required distance. The clincher was a perfect 13-yard pass, Morrall to Peaks at 9:08 of the second quarter. Little Planutis, an amazing fullback for his lack of size, matched Decker's seventh point.

Still, the Bruins were hanging on. They fought back magnificently until Sara Brown, kept reasonably well in check, punted over the Spartan goal.

Planutis, tacked on an 11-yard gain for a first down, after which Morrall called the "long one." He lateralled to Peaks, who drifted out, saw end John Lewis winging downfield, and let loose. Lewis never broke stride as he took the ball and raced goalward along the sidelines. As he reached the Bruin 10, Brown made a dive- in vain.

Planutis converted and MSU was in front, 14-7, at 49 seconds of the final period after this three-play, 80-yard strike.

There were seven minutes and 49 seconds left in the old ball game when the Bruins, being guided by Knox, caught afire. In five play's he-guided them 56 yards to the equalizer, Doug Peters diving over from the one for the touchdown at 8:53. Decker again matched Planutis in the conversion department.

The Bruins, had a "long one" of their own to unveil in this series, Knox firing to Decker for 47 yards, to put them in position for the tying splurge.

Aroused, MSU came back from its own 17 in a long ground drive to the Bruin 22 as the clock showed 2:22 left. Then came Planutis' poor field goal try to set the stage for the Bruin comedy of errors.

 

Michigan State's Clearance Peaks catches a 15 yard touchdown pass from Earl Morrall.

 

UCLA's Sam Brown (15) carries for 6 yards.

 

UCLAs Ronnie Knox. UCLA's Doug Peters (26) tries the State defense.

 

Jim Decker dives through the Michigan State defense.

 

 

Attendance- 100,807

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
UCLA- Davenport 2 run (Decker kick)

Second Quarter
MSU- Peaks 13 yard pass from Morrall (Planutis kick)

Fourth Quarter
MSU- Lewis 67 yard pass from Peaks (Planutis kick)
UCLA- Peters 1 run (Decker kick)
MSU- FG Kaiser 41

Individual Statistics

Rushing
UCLA- Brown 14-63, Davenport 10-26, Peters 6-20, Knox 6-12, Hollaway 1-10
MSU- Kowalczyk 13-88, Planutis 12-66, Peaks 11-56, Morrall 10-28

Passing
UCLA- Knox 8-2-61
MSU- Peaks 2-1-67, Morrall 15-4-38, Kowalczyk 1-1-25

Receiving
UCLA- Decker 1-47, Loudd 1-14
MSU- Peaks 3-40, Lewis 1-67, Hinesly 1-13, Zysk 1-10

 

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