Last week we revisited the 1917 Rose Bowl victory for Oregon and this week we’ll look at the 1920 Rose Bowl. Unfortunately the outcome wasn’t quite as positive for the Oregon Ducks. In fact the Rose Bowl appearances for the Ducks have been disappointing. Despite disappointments, the fact that the Ducks made the game is a positive plug for the Oregon program no matter what the outcome is. The Rose Bowl is the Rose Bowl. So onto the game…
So instead of focusing on the defeat we will focus on the uniforms – I’m really only kidding a little. With any team it’s hard to remember the defeats. Not so hard to remember it happened, but really, who wants to relive that? On the other hand, learning history is about the good and the bad so here we go. Back then the Ducks were known as the Webfoots and even though the students had already voted for green and yellow as the official school colors, the team opted to wear blue and yellow. It wouldn’t be until 1925 when the student body voted that the Ducks football team must wear green and yellow.
Okay, back to the game…Charlie Chaplin was in attendance among 30,400 others and this would be Harvard football’s only bowl game appearance. Shy Hollis (featured in last week’s Duckstory lesson) was Oregon’s coach. Harvard did make the most of their Pasadena appearance and finished the game with a 7 to 6 victory over Oregon. This Rose Bowl was a ground game with only five passes thrown by Harvard and only two by Oregon. It was a far cry from the high-powered offense that Oregon shows today. It was all about field goals for Oregon; their only two scores came from two field goal attempts. Two other attempts had been blocked by the Harvard defense. Harvard, on the other hand, gained their points from the minimal passing and ended the game on the one-foot line.
During the first, third and fourth quarter neither team scored. It was a struggle offensively; so it all came in the second quarter…
During the second quarter Oregon scored both of their field goals. Bill Steers scored on a 25 yard drop kick and Skeet Manerud scored on a 30 yard drop kick. Harvard’s offense was the only team that scored a touchdown coming off of an Oregon punt and two passes, finally to culminate in a 13 yard run from Fred Church. Player of the game would be Harvard’s Eddie Casey.
So next week our focus will be on 1949 Cotton Bowl Classic.