Wednesday Duckstory (on Thursday): 1995 Rose Bowl


This week Duckstory is a day late – but rather than miss out on a week I’m forging ahead.  This time we’ll take a look at the Ducks’ 1995 Rose Bowl journey.  The 1994 season had some ups and downs; they started the season off with a non-conference win against Portland State, but then dropped their next two non-conference games.  Once Pac-10 play started up the Ducks pulled off a huge victory against #19 USC and set the tone for the rest of their Pac-10 schedule.  They dropped one more to Washington State that season and then won out, gaining them a trip to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl against Penn State.  The Ducks would be playing to the largest crowd to every watch Oregon play football.

Meanwhile Penn State had gone through their entire schedule undefeated and coming into the Rose Bowl ranked #2.  Neither team had made the trip to Pasadena for quite a long time; the Ducks’ last game there was in 1958 and the Nittany Lions’ in 1923.  Let’s take a look at how it all went down…

First Quarter:

It would be the Ducks’ “Gang Green” defense playing against the best offensive team in the nation.  Penn State played up to their name early on in the game with Ki-Jana Carter’s 83 yard TD run up the middle of the field.  It was the third longest TD run in Rose Bowl history and set the tone for the Nittany Lion’s offense.  The Ducks answered back quickly as Danny O’Neil led the Ducks to their first TD in less than a minute after Penn State’s strike.  The first quarter ended with a 7 – 7 tie.

Second Quarter:

The “Gang Green” defense was giving Penn State trouble and had virtually shut down their running game, so the Nittany Lions took to the air and came up with another 7 during the second quarter.  They went up 14 – 7 against the Ducks.  Oregon managed to get within field goal range late in the second quarter but opted to go for another pass rather than take the 3 point attempt.  With 11 seconds on the clock O’Neil got the ball to Cristin McLemore.  McLemore was stopped short of the end zone and failed to get out of bounds to stop the clock.  So the Ducks went into halftime with a 7 point deficit against the Nittany Lions.

Third Quarter:

McLemore made up for his failed run after he caught O’Neil’s pass in the end zone adding six more to the score.  This score followed linebacker Reggie Jordan’s interception during the previous Penn State offensive drive.  The game was tied again 14 – 14.  Unfortunately the Penn State offense wouldn’t go away and Carter came up with two more TD’s during the third quarter putting the Ducks down by 14 going into the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter:

During the fourth quarter the Nittany Lions’ offense put another 10 on the board.  A FG by Brett Conway and then another TD from Jon Witman with under five minutes to play gave Penn State a 38 – 14 lead.  The Ducks managed to get one more in when Ricky Whittle ran into the end zone late in the fourth.  Whittle’s TD would be the last score of the game leaving the Ducks coming up short 38 – 20.

The Ducks’ “Gang Green” defense was able to hold Penn State’s offense under their 520 yard average to 430 yards of total offense.  Danny O’Neil was name one of the Rose Bowl Players of the Game along with Ki-Jana Carter.  During the game Danny O’Neil set Rose Bowl records for attempts, completions, and yards with his 41-of-61 performance and 456 yards.

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PS…….Ki-Jana Carter 83 run (Brett Conway kick), 10:50, 1st
UO…….Josh Wilcox 1 pass from Danny O’Neil (Matt Belden kick), 10:05, 1st
PS…….Brian Milne 1 run (Conway kick), 1:26, 2nd
UO…….Cristin McLemore 17 pass from O’Neil (Belden kick), 4:54, 3rd
PS…….Carter 17 run (Conway kick), 3:53, 3rd
PS…….Carter 3 run (Conway kick), 2:01, 3rd
PS…….Conway 43 FG, 5:43, 4th
PS…….Jon Witman 9 run (Michael Barninger kick), 4:24, 4th
UO…….Ricky Whittle 3 run (pass failed), 2:44, 4th

Next week we’ll look at the 1996 Cotton Bowl.