The 1957 college football season had witnessed "Woody Hayes Football"
at its best. In his seventh season at Ohio State, a strong OSU line
featuring Bill Jobko and All-American guard Aurealius Thomas enhanced
Hayes’ reputation for conservative football. After a shocking,
season-opening loss to TCU (18-14), Ohio State found its stride.
Sophomore fullback Bob White’s 66 yards on a clutch, 68-yard drive was
the key to a dramatic 17-13 victory over fifth-ranked Iowa. A 31-14 win
at Michigan completed a perfect conference season and sent OSU to the
Rose Bowl. OSU, which had captured the Big Ten Conference crown for the
third time in four years, had already been proclaimed national champions
entering the Rose Bowl.
In 1957 Oregon was surprisingly crowned Pacific Coast Conference
champion. A Time magazine article, dated November 4, 1957, reported on
the Oregon Ducks with a picture entitled, “Oregon’s Tourville Crossing
California, Scents of the Rose Bowl.” The article included the following
“The brief words echoed like a bomb in the strained silence of the
dressing room ‘Rose Bowl,’ muttered Oregon quarterback Jack Crabtree, as
if the very syllables were sacred. His silver-haired coach, Len
Casanova, cut him short: ‘It’s a silly thing to discuss.’ But it was too
late to button anybody’s lip. The desperately quiet Oregon Ducks had
just beaten California, 24-6. They were still unbeaten in Pacific Coast
Conference play, and their hometown of Eugene was already planning a New
Year’s visit to Pasadena."
The Ducks finished 7-3 and claimed the Conference's Rose Bowl bid. It
would be the Ducks first appearance in the Rose Bowl since meeting
Harvard in 1920. Through the 1957 game, the Big Ten’s record over the
Pacific Coast Conference in the Rose Bowl series stood at ten wins
against one loss, and football fans gave Oregon little hope and Ohio
State entered the game as a whopping 21 point favorite (video).
Ohio State started in dominating fashion, driving 79 yards on its first
possession. The Buckeyes scored when Frank Kremblas dove over center
from the one (video). Kremblas then converted the extra point. The Buckeyes’
touchdown drive was kept alive by a pair of key third down conversions.
But, Oregon responded in the second period by driving 80 yards in 10
plays. Jim Shanley capped the drive with a five yard scoring run and the
game was tied 7-7 at the half.
nation's attention was riveted on the game as the Ducks had a chance to
lead the Buckeyes in the third period with a field goal attempt. But,
Jack Morris’ three-point try from the Ohio State 24 hooked to the left
at the 5:20 mark in the third quarter. The contest remained tied through
the quarter and into the fourth. The quarter that had been so kind to
the Buckeyes all season was good once again.
On a drive that started with more than five minutes remaining in the
third period, the Buckeyes went 56 yards in 14 plays to take a 10-7 lead
on a 34 yard field goal by the sure-footed kicker, Don Sutherin, with
14:02 to go in the game. From then on, it was a defensive struggle as
the Ducks were unable to get an offensive attack going. Oregon drove to
the Ohio State 24 yard line following Crabtree’s 23 yard completion to
Ron Stover, but a Stover fumble stopped the drive. The Ducks began their
last-gasp effort against the nation’s No. 1 ranked Buckeyes from their
own 17 yard line with 4:29 to play. A pass interference call, a 17 yard
Crabtree pass to Stover and the Oregon field general’s six-yard run
advanced the ball to the Ohio State 43 before the team’s final two
attempts failed to move the ball closer to victory. Crabtree’s
fourth-down pass to Stover fell incomplete with 47 seconds remaining
to allow Ohio State to avert one of the biggest upsets in the 44 year
history of the New Year’s Day classic.
Much of the nation had rooted for the underdog Oregon and Casanova.
Oregon outgained Ohio State in total yards and first downs. Bill Leiser
of the San Francisco Chronicle Sporting Green, on January 2, 1958,
reported in part: “A kick that sailed true, 34 yards through the upright
posts, as against one that did not, won for Ohio State the finest
football game of modern Tournament of Roses history this balmy
afternoon, 10-7. Tabbed for a three touchdown licking, Casnova’s Oregon
Ducks refused to accept the odds and matched the more numerous and more
powerful athletes from the Big Ten blow for blow, yard for yard, and
touchdown for touchdown.
It wasn't easy for Hayes' men who were outgained and out-first-downed by
Oregon. "The field goal and the four breaks, two interceptions and two
recovered Oregon fumbles, were the only real edge in the game, and we
got 'em all," said Hayes. Oregon's Crabtree completed 10 to 17 passes
for 135 yards to receive player of the game honors, becoming only the
third player in the bowl’s history to earn that distinction playing for
the losing team. In addition, Stover established a Rose Bowl record for
most yards receiving by a Pacific Coast Conference participant.
It was a moral victory for the Ducks, but on the scoreboard, it was a
victory, a second Rose Bowl title and a national championship for Ohio
State. It capped a 9-1 season in which OSU outscored opponents 267-92.
Ohio State claimed the UPI crown while finishing second to Auburn in the
OSU- Kremblas 1 run (Kremblas kick)
UO- Shanley 5 run (Morris kick)
OSU- FG Sutherlin 34
OSU- White 25-93, Clark 14-82, Kremblas 13-43, Cisco 7-29
UO- Shanley 11-59, Morris 11-57
UO- Crabtree (UO) 17-10-135, West 3-3--42
OSU- Kramblas 6-2-59
UO- Stover 10-144, Tourville 2-27
OSU- Houston 2-59