|1942 Rose Bowl|
|28th Rose Bowl Game|
|Date||January 1, 1942|
|Location||Durham, North Carolina|
|MVP||Donald Durdan, Oregon State|
|Favorite||Duke by 14|
The 1942 Rose Bowl was the 28th Rose Bowl game. Originally scheduled to be played in the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, it was moved to Durham, North Carolina, due to fears about an attack by the Japanese on the West Coast of the United States following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States government had ordered that large public gatherings on the West Coast of the United States were to be prohibited for the duration of the war, and the first significant canceled event was the Rose Bowl Game scheduled for New Year's Day, 1942.
The Oregon State Beavers defeated the host Duke Blue Devils 20-16 in Duke Stadium on the Duke University campus. Donald Durdan of Oregon State was named the Rose Bowl Player Of The Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively.
Oregon State College Beavers
In 1941, the Beavers football team won the Pacific Coast Conference and a berth in their first Rose Bowl. They opened with a 13-7 loss at USC. A 9-6 win over Washington set the Beavers on the path to the conference championship. The Beavers recorded the first of five shutouts against #2 Stanford in California, 10-0, snapping the Indians 13-game winning streak. They were shut out against eventual second place Washington State 7-0. But the Beavers shut out Idaho, UCLA, Cal and Montana, outscoring the four 85-0. The final game in the Civil War series with Oregon had the Rose Bowl on the line for the Beavers, and a possible 5 way tie for first place if the Oregon Ducks won. All five teams would have 3 losses. Oregon State would have the most conference wins and also the best overall record. The argument was moot as Oregon State defeated Oregon and Stanford lost at Cal, leaving the Beavers with 2 conference losses. The rest of the PCC had four teams with three losses and five teams with four conference losses. Oregon State compiled the 7-2 record despite only scoring 20 points twice, against Idaho and Montana. The Beavers' defense only gave up 33 points all year. Opponents were averaging less than four points of game against Oregon State. Oregon State's coach was Lon Stiner, only 38 years old. He became the youngest coach ever in Rose Bowl history.
Duke University Blue Devils
Pacific Coast Champion Oregon State was responsible for selecting and inviting the opposing team. Number one ranked Minnesota was the first choice, but the Western Conference, forerunner of the Big Ten Conference, did not permit their teams to play in bowl games until the 1946 agreement between the Big Ten and Pacific Coast Conference. Duke would have been a logical second choice, but Coach Wallace Wade had rubbed a lot of Californians the wrong way due to his antics following his 7-3 loss in the 1939 Rose Bowl. The Southern California media championed Missouri or Fordham. Oregon State responded by inviting Fordham, who they had beaten in their 1933 Ironmen year, but Fordham turned down the invite to play against Missouri in the Sugar Bowl. Unable to invite their three first choices, the Beavers settled on number two ranked and undefeated Duke Blue Devils, much to the chagrin of Southern California. The selection was announced on December 1, 1941. Duke's defense had not allowed more than 14 points all year. The Blue Devils were averaging a 30-point victory every time they took the field. In each game, the Blue Devils won by at least 13 points. The Blue Devils were on an 11-game winning streak, having gone 24-4, and .857 winning percentage, since their 1939 Rose Bowl defeat.
Venue change to Durham, North Carolina
With the United States' entry into World War II, on December 7, 1941, there was concern about a Japanese attack on the West Coast. Much discussion focused on the possibility of an attack where any crowds might gather. The Rose parade with a million watchers, and the Rose Bowl with 90,000 spectators were presumed to be ideal targets for the Japanese. Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, commander of the Western Defense Command, recommended that the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl festivities be canceled. Soon afterward, the government banned all large gatherings on the West Coast. This ruled out Bell Field, Oregon State's on-campus venue, as an alternative site for the game.
At the time, Duke Stadium was the second largest in the South but still could only hold 35,000 people. In order to accommodate the larger crowd expected for the Rose Bowl, bleachers were brought in from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan Stadium and North Carolina State University's Riddick Stadium to seat an additional 20,000 people. All 56,000 tickets sold out to the game in three days. Bing Crosby reportedly bought several hundred tickets. It is unclear whether Crosby attended the game. Although Duke generally reserved a small segregated block of tickets for African-Americans, Duke initially decided to not allow African-Americans to attend. After an article in Durham's African-American newspaper, the Carolina Times, claimed that Duke would sell tickets to Japanese-Americans but not African-Americans, Duke reversed its decision and, despite the game already having officially sold out, released 140 tickets to African-Americans fans.
Oregon State's Beaver Express train left Corvallis with 31 players on December 19, 1941, just three days after Duke University invited Oregon State. Standing on the platform in Corvallis was Chiaki "Jack" Yoshihara. Yoshihara had immigrated to the United States of America at the age of three on the last ship allowed into the United States before the United States put a moratorium on Japanese immigration. By executive order, no Japanese-Americans were permitted to go more than 35 miles from their homes. Multiple FBI agents informed Oregon State coach, Lon Stiner that no exception would be made for Yoshihara. Teammates, students, the Oregon State president, and campus ROTC commander protested the decision to no avail. Yoshihara, the Beavers' 32nd player was forced to watch the Beaver Express leave Corvallis from the platform.
In Omaha, Nebraska, members of the University of Nebraska's N Club gave Stiner a good luck horseshoe. On December 22, 1941, three days after leaving Corvallis, the Beaver Express arrived in Chicago, Illinois. The University of Chicago had stopped playing football in 1939, so Oregon State used Chicago's Stagg Field. The train with the Beavers' equipment and uniforms did not arrive by practice time, so Oregon State players wore maroon warmups borrowed from the University of Chicago during kicking and passing drills. The equipment and uniform train arrived just in time for Martin Chaves, Bob Dethman, Donald Durdan, and Joe Day to dress in full pads for press pictures.
Oregon State left Chicago on December 22, 1941. On the way to Durham, Oregon State stopped in Washington, D.C. for practice at Griffith Stadium, home of the Washington Redskins and Senators, and a tour of the capital. The Beaver Express finally stopped in Durham on December 24, 1941, five days after leaving Corvallis.
To simulate Oregon State, Duke was practicing against what Brian Curtis of Sports Illustrated would call "the most talented scout team in the country." It included Duke graduate George McAfee of the Chicago Bears to simulate Oregon State's Donald Durdan, as well as Duke graduate Jap Davis and North Carolina State senior Dick Watts.
On January 1, 1942, in Pasadena, the Rose Bowl Court and Queen were escorted from the Valley Hunt Club to the Rose Bowl Stadium with no one watching.
Duke was expected to win by more than two touchdowns and went off as a 3-1 favorite. Some wondered why Oregon State would even make the trip. Before the game, the NBC announcer that called the game, Bill Stern, asserted that the Blue Devils could beat the Beavers by throwing 11 helmets on the field. The comment was heard by members of the Oregon State team at the hotel. After the game, George Zellick told reporters that the team was "hopped up" to win the game based on Stern's comment. The weather, also, seemed to favor the visitors. One Duke player claimed that there was more rain than he had ever seen. The Beavers' Gene Gray, looking up at the same sky, described the weather as "misty." The temperature was a hair over 40 degrees at kickoff. The referee that was supposed to handle the opening coin flip was Lee Eisan. Eisan was the second-string quarterback for the 1929 California Golden Bears, who lost the Rose Bowl 8-7 to Georgia Tech after Roy "Wrong Way" Riegels ran 69 yards the wrong direction to set up the game-winning Georgia Tech safety. Eisan made a less often talked about blunder. In the third quarter, trailing 8-0, California ran an end around pass on fourth down. The end around sucked all of the Georgia Tech defenders in. Eisan used the misdirection to get behind the defenders and may have scored a touchdown but fell down and failed to make the catch. Eisan could not find a silver dollar in North Carolina, so he borrowed a 50-cent piece from Oregon State's Martin Chaves. The Blue Devils won the toss and elected to receive. Before kickoff, there was a moment of silence to honor those lost at Pearl Harbor 25 days before.
Oregon State's Norman Peters kicked the opening kickoff. Duke's Tommy Davis collected the ball at his own five-yard line. He was crushed by the Beavers' Lloyd Wicketts and two other Beavers and fumbled. Oregon State recovered inside the Blue Devil 30. The Duke defense would hold. The teams traded possession most of the first quarter. On third-and-six at the Blue Devil 15, Oregon State's Donald Durdan would go back to pass. With no receiver open, he pump faked and took off to his right with nothing in front of him but the end zone. In the second quarter, Duke would tie the score at seven with a four-yard run on a reverse by Steve Lach. The Beavers' ensuing drive resulted in an interception at the 46, which was returned to the Beaver 27. Duke drove inside the Oregon State 30. On third-and-nine, the Blue Devils had a wide open receiver behind the Beaver defense, but the pass was just beyond the receiver's outstretched fingertips and fell incomplete. Duke ultimately turned the ball over on downs. The Blue Devils would threaten again late in the first half after an Oregon State fumble gave Duke a first down at the Beaver 32. Two plays later, though, the Oregon State defense forced a fumble after a sack, which was recovered by the Beavers. As the half was coming to a close, Duke drove to the Oregon State 42. Two passes were dropped by Blue Devil receivers. The third was caught at the Beaver 10 and advanced to the Beaver 5. However, Duke was unable to get a subsequent play off before halftime, and the teams entered the locker rooms tied 7-7.
The head coach for Oregon State, Lon Stiner, gave an impassioned halftime speech, which was interrupted by an inebriated fan looking to urinate in the Beaver locker room.
Oregon State took the second half kickoff. After a first down, the Beavers punted. Duke drove to the Beaver 28. On first down, the Blue Devils ran a double reverse and lost 12 yards. After an incomplete pass, the Oregon State defense forced a sack, which ended the threat. The Duke punt rolled out of bounds at the 15. The Beavers drove 73 yards to the Blue Devil 12 before getting pushed back to the Duke 15. Oregon State's 33-yard field goal attempt was no good. The Beavers' defense pushed the Blue Devils back to their own nine. On third down, Duke quick kicked, and the Beavers started their next drive at their own 46. The defenses, which would play brilliantly for most of the game let down for the subsequent three-drive stretch. Oregon State retook the lead when Zellick scored on a 31-yard pass from Bob Dethman, set up by a 24-yard Gene Gray run. Duke would respond on the very next drive, getting 39 yards on a Lach reverse around left end before scoring on a one-yard run by Winston Siegfried three plays later. The Blue Devils' coach, Wallace Wade, who had won the 1926 Rose Bowl while at Alabama after a comeback against Washington, remarked to an assistant that, "It looks like 1926 all over again." 1942 would play out differently than 1926. In the following drive, Bob Dethman would find streaking reserve halfback, Gene Gray, on a 30-yard pass. The Duke safety would just miss making a play on the ball. Gray faked inside and went outside, which confused the Blue Devil cornerback so badly that he fell down. The Duke safety on the far side of the field took a good angle, but Gray was simply too fast and outran the safety the final 38 yards into the end zone. The 68-yard pass play was the longest in Rose Bowl history. The extra point would be blocked, leaving the door open for a Duke comeback. The 20 points that Oregon State scored were the most scored on the Blue Devils in more than a decade.
The 14 points that Duke scored were the most that the Oregon State's defense had given up all year. The Beaver defense seemed resolved to make sure the 20-points the offense had put up would stand up. Duke's offense would cross into Beaver territory three times in the fourth-quarter, but the Beavers would not break, intercepting two passes and shutting out the Duke offense the rest of the way. After a Duke punt went out of bounds at the Oregon State three, the Beavers opted to quick kick. However, Durden mishandled the snap. Rather than attempting the punt, Durden tried to advance the ball out of the end zone, but Mike Karmazin caught Durden before Durden was able to do so for a safety. The Blue Devils ensuing drive ended on a fumble at the Beaver 29. What appeared to be a great Oregon State return was nullified by an inadvertent whistle. Duke's last drive began on its on 26. After a 28-yard pass play gave the Blue Devils a first down at the Beaver 46, Duke hurled two passes toward the Beaver end zone both broken up by Oregon State defenders, one inside the Beaver 10. On the third-and-10 heave, the Beavers' Dethman intercepted the pass. The interception ate up the remaining time on the clock and the Beavers won 20-16.
- OSC – Donald Durdan 15-yard run (Simas kick)
- DUKE – Steve Lach 4-yard run (Gantt kick)
- OSC – George Zellick 31-yard pass from Bob Dethman (Simas kick)
- DUKE – Winston Siegfried 1-yard run (Gantt kick)
- OSC – Gene Gray 68-yard pass from Bob Dethman (kick failed)
- DUKE – Safety, Donald Durdan tackled in the end zone by Mike Karmazin
Donald Durdan, who showed his all-around skill by rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown, passing, and punting, was named the game's most valuable player. Bob Dethman also distinguished himself by throwing for two touchdowns and coming up with the interception that ended the game. The 1942 Rose Bowl remains the only Beavers' Rose Bowl victory. It also remains the only time the two programs have played each other.
Although many others argue that Columbia's 1934 victory over Stanford was bigger, Sid Feder of the Associated Press labeled it the biggest upset in the Rose Bowl's early history.
Referee Lee Eisan, who borrowed a 50-cent piece from Oregon State's Martin Chaves to conduct the coin flip, made it back to Berkeley, California with Chaves' 50-cent piece in hand, upset that he had failed to return the coin.
The East-West Shrine Game has been played after every college football season since 1925. The game started in San Francisco, California and, prior to 2006, would be played in the Bay Area every year, except for two years. The first year outside of the Bay Area was 1942. As a result of the prohibition against playing football in West Coast stadiums, the East-West Shrine Game was moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. The West's coach was Washington State's Billy Sewell. A little more than two months prior, Sewell and the Cougars had dealt the Beavers the Beavers' largest loss of the year, a 7-0 decision in Pullman, Washington. The Beaver Express left Durham and stopped in New Orleans for the game on January 3, 1942. The game ended in a 6-6 tie. Many were concerned that the East-West Shrine Game would be the last football game "in a generation." By the time the Beaver Express arrived home, the team had traveled 7,384 miles, through 24 states.
After the 1942 Allied victory in the Battle of Midway and the end of the Japanese offensives in the Pacific Theater during 1942, it was deemed that the West Coast was no longer vulnerable to attack, and the Rose Bowl game continued on in the Rose Bowl Stadium.
Most of the players would don military uniforms during 1942. Wallace Wade enlisted after the game ended and encouraged his players to follow suit. Both teams lost halfbacks in the Pacific Theater in 1942, Walter Griffith of Duke and Everett Smith of Oregon State. Al Hoover of Duke lost his life on Peleliu in 1944 after diving on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers. The Blue Devils' Bob Nanni was killed at Iwo Jima.
Chiaki Yoshihara listened to the game on NBC radio. He tried to enlist but was repeatedly denied. Once Japanese-American internment camps began popping up in the Western United States, he sold his prized 1941 Chevrolet. He would spend most of 1942 in an internment camp in Idaho.
Tommy Prothro, who would go on to coach both Oregon State and UCLA in the Rose Bowl, played quarterback for the Blue Devils.
Tommy Prothro's backup, Charlie Haynes, and Oregon State left guard, Frank Parker, were rifle platoon leaders in different companies, sailing from Africa to Italy in 1944, when the two recognized each other. In the fall, Parker found Haynes with a fist-sized wound in his chest during the Arno Valley Campaign. Haynes had been injured 17 hours before and believed that he was going to die. Parker saved Haynes' life by carrying him on his back to an abandoned farmhouse for medical attention.
In 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge, Oregon State right tackle, Sam Czech, shared some coffee and food with a fellow soldier who had not eaten in two days. Czech soon recognized the soldier as Duke coach, Wallace Wade. Czech was taken prisoner days later and interned at OFLAG XIII-B. He managed to escape but was recaptured the next day and interned at a prison deeper inside Germany. By the time he was freed, after nearly six months in captivity, Czech had lost 50 pounds.
Duke Stadium, the site of the game, would later be named Wallace Wade Stadium in honor of the Duke coach.
Oregon State's Gene Gray flew more than 30 bombing missions over Germany and continued to serve after the war. In 1948, his plane crashed after a flameout on takeoff in the jungles of Panama. He later likened his body to burnt steak. He had severe burns over most of his body and both his arms had to be amputated. Gray, whose arms hauled in the touchdown catch which proved the deciding margin, wound up with no arms at all.
- Official 2007 NCAA Division I football records book - PDF copy available at NCAA.org
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- Zimmerman, Paul - Duke to Be Oregon State's Foe in Rose Bowl. Blue Devils Accept Bid. Fordham and Missouri Believed First Choices, but Sugar Game Won. Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1941. After a long night of deliberation Oregon State College yesterday announced Duke University had been invited and accepted the bid to play the Beavers in the 27th annual Rose Bowl classic at Pasadena on New Year's Day.
- Oregon State, Duke to Play in Rose Bowl Missouri and Fordham New Orleans Opponents; Wade Team Here Before. Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1941.
- Dyer, Braven - Duke Selection Big Surprise. Scribe Recalls Wade's Last Visit to Annual New Year's Classic. Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1941.
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- Forbidding Crowds. Los Angeles Times, December 16, 1941
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- Zimmerman, Paul - Scene of Rose Bowl Shifted to Durham, N.C. Los Angeles Times, December 16, 1941. Perpetuation of the annual Rose Bowl intersectional football, classic was assured yesterday when the Tournament of Roses officials and Oregon State College accepted the hospitality of Duke University.
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- The Durham Rose Bowl University Archives, Duke University