Rose Bowl

1984

 

UCLA 45

Illinois 9

 

 

UCLA Fight Song

 

PASADENA, Jan. 2- This Rose Bowl was supposed to be different. Twenty years had passed since Illinois represented the Big Ten Conference here at the start of a new year.

With a coach and passing combination imported from California and with the ability to beat the Pacific-10 Conference at its own wide-open game, an element that Big Ten teams traditionally lacked, all those cold winters back home could be forgotten.

But for the llini, the 70th Rose Bowl turned out to be nothing but one embarrassing shock after another. They lost to U.C.L.A today, 45-9, before a crowd of 103,217 to equal the most one-sided defeat a Big Ten team had suffered here since the two conferences began the relationship in 1947. The Bruins, who did not win the Pac-10 championship until the final weekend of the season when they defeated Southern California and Washington lost to Washington State, took a 28-3 lead by halftime. At the end of the game, when the scoreboards had stopped working- because, it was suspected, of a prank by California Institute of Technology students- the outcome was no longer in doubt.

"The only highlight of the game for me was when the scoreboard went out," said Mike White, the Illinois coach. "It eased the pain a little."

The Illini (10-2), who had been ranked as high as fourth in the nation and who were confident of a spot in the Rose Bowl after having defeated Michigan in late October, gained a net rushing total of zero yards. "We were getting into situations where we had to throw,” said Jack Trudeau, the sophomore Illini quarterback, who had three passes intercepted, tying a Rose Bowl record. "We didn't execute. We didn't block. We didn’t tackle. We didn’t throw.”

"I really couldn't tell you what happened," said Mark Butkus, the defensive tackle whose uncle, Dick, played on the Illini team that beat Washington here in 1964.

"Maybe I can wear a mask around campus," said Don Thorp, the all-America defensive tackle. "It's not that I’m ashamed. We should have done a better job.”

Rick Neuheisel, The UCLA quarterback whose college career began without a scholarship, passed for 4 touchdowns to tie a Rose Bowl and school record. He completed 31 passes for 288 yards. He ran an offense that controlled the powerful Illinois defensive line and humiliated its secondary. He was named the most valuable player of the game.

And what made Neuheisel's day even more remarkable was the way that he felt when it started.

He felt lousy.

He awoke in a hotel room at 4 A.M. queasy and sweating hours before his first Rose Bowl as a starter. "I thought it was nerves," he recalled.

But Neuheisel had been in important games earlier in this season, and he had never felt anything like this. By the time the game started, the quarterback had vomited four times.

The problem, apparently, was food poisoning, not nerves. Several other players were affected, three of them- the starting defensive tackle, David Randle, the punter, Kevin Buenafe and the reserve defensive lineman Tory Pankopf- badly enough so that they could not play. The quarterback said that once the game started, he felt better. "Except when I sat on the bench,” he said, "and my head felt kind of light.”

The mounting score was making all the Bruins giddy. Defensively, U.C.L.A. disguised its defensive coverages to force Trudeau into several damaging mistakes. Offensively, the Bruins challenged Thorp and Butkus, the strength of the Illini defense, with frequent substitutions. Mark Mannon, who was moved from center to guard, rotated with Mike Hartmeier against Butkus and Jim McCullough and Chris Yelich were alternated against Thorp.

Thorp made 13 tackles and Butkus made 9, but most importantly, each made just a single tackle for a loss. The rotation seemed to be a factor. “It shouldn’t have been,” Butkus said, “They might have been a little fresher. There’s no excuse. We didn’t play the game we should have.”

Mistakes repeatedly led to UCLA scores. Craig Swoope’s fumble after Illinois blocked a field goal gave the Bruins the ball at the Illini 14 and led to a 3-yard touchdown pass from Neuheisel to Paul Bergmann for a 7-0 lead.

After Chris White’s field goal cut the lead to 7-3, Kevin Nelson, the U.C.L.A. tailback went through the middle of the Illini defense for a 28 yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

Don Rogers’s second interception, which tied a Rose Bowl record, led to Neuheisel's 16 yard pass to Karl Dorrell and a 21-3 lead. Keith Taylor, the Illinois freshman cornerback from Pennsauken, N.J., who won a job in the fifth game of the season, was beaten by Dorrell and then was beaten by Mike Young on a 53-yard touchdown that gave the Bruins a 28-3 lead.

Much later, as Taylor returned to the Illinois huddle, Swoope, whose fumble followed the blocked field goal attempt early in the game, gave Taylor a pat on the helmet. Swoope could understand what Taylor was feeling.

By that time, Neuheisel was feeling much better. In your wildest dreams, he was asked, did you imagine anything like this? “This was my wildest dream," he said.

And at the end of the day that Neuheisel began by feeling so sick, it was the Illini that left with the bad taste in their mouths. "I feel miserable, right now." Mark Butkus said.

 

Frank Cephous carries for the Bruins.

 

Illinois Quarterback Jack Trudeau.

 

Neuheisel unleashes a pass.

 

Attendance- 103,217

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
UCLA- Bergmann 3 pass from Neuheisel (Lee kick)

Second Quarter
UI- FG White 41
UCLA- Nelson 28 run (Lee kick)
UCLA- Dorrell 16 pass from Neuheisel (Lee kick)
UCLA- Young 53 pass from Neuheisel (Lee kick)

Third Quarter
UCLA- Dorrell 15 pass from Neuheisel (Lee kick)
UCLA- FG Lee 29

Fourth Quarter
UI- Rooks 5 pass fro Trudeau (pass failed)
UCLA- Wiley 8 run (Lee kick)

Individual Statistics

Rushing
UI- Beverley 4-22, Rooks 8-22
UCLA- Cephous 12-86, Nelson 18-69, Wiley 6-26

Passing
UI- Trudeau 23-39-178, Cruz 2-8-37
UCLA- Neuheisel 22-31-298

Receiving
UI- Williams 10-88, Rooks 6-35, Brewster 5-60
UCLA- Young 5-129, Dorrell 5-61, Bergmann 4-54, Sherrard 4-25

 

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