North Carolina-1942 Rose Bowl-March 4


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-March 4

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.

The 103rd edition of the Rose Bowl will be played on Monday January 2, 2017 at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. The game is sometimes referred to as the “Granddaddy of All College Football Bowl Games”.

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This collegiate classic has been the occasion of many firsts. The Rose Bowl Game was the occasion of first local radio broadcast of an East-West bowl game in 1926, the first transcontinental radio broadcast of a sporting event in 1927, the first local telecast of a college football game in 1948, the first national telecast of a college football game in 1952 and the first coast-to-coast color telecast of a collegiate football game in 1962.

For many American sports fans watching this game on TV is part of many ritual in beginning a new year. The crowds are always large and the scenery around Pasadena is fabulous.

Part of the capacity crowd at 2005 Rose Bowl game between Michigan and Texas.

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In 1942, the Rose Bowl game between Oregon State and Duke was transferred from California to North Carolina in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Here’s a brief look back at one of the greatest upsets in Rose Bowl history that took place in North Carolina.

Led by tailback Don Durdan and a suffocating defense, Oregon State College won the Pacific Coast Conference title in 1941. As was the custom at the time, the Beavers got to select their opponent for the Rose Bowl game to be held on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. Oregon State invited Duke, the undefeated and untied champions of the Southern Conference, and the Blue Devils, led by legendary head coach Wallace Wade, happily accepted.

Duke’s Coach Wallace Wade

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Wallace Wade had a record of 110-36-7 in 16 seasons at Duke, where he went after leading Alabama to three national championships. Wallace Wade won National Championships at Alabama in 1925, 1926, and 1930.

Back to the 1942 Rose Bowl. The game was scheduled to be played in California just three weeks after the attack at Pearl Harbor by Japan. A week before the team was scheduled to depart, however, the military announced that it was canceling the game out of fear of another attack on the West Coast. Game organizers began looking into alternative sites. Chicago’s Soldier Field was considered, as was New York City. A third possibility was Durham, North Carolina.

Duke being an undefeated college football team was a 12-to-5 favorite when the game was first announced and the odds increased to 3.5-to-1 after the game was moved to Durham. Oregon State had suffered two losses that season.

Duke’s stadium usually only held 35,000, which was much less than the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest loaned portable bleachers to help increase the capacity to 55,000. The game would draw the largest crowd since 52,880 packed the stadium for the Duke-UNC game in 1939. Tickets, priced at $4.40 apiece, sold out in three days.

 

Wet conditions in Durham slowed Duke’s vaunted offense and the Blue Devils never led. Oregon State’s Gene Gray caught a 68-yard touchdown pass from Bob Dethman in the third quarter that proved to be the difference in the Beavers’ 20-16 win, which is still considered one of the greatest upsets in Rose Bowl history. Oregon State varied its defensive looks, from a 6-2-2-1 to 5-3-2-1 and occasionally a 7-man line, according to the game recaps. The Beavers also recovered three Duke fumbles and intercepted four passes.

North Carolina got to host the Rose Bowl because of a war. It is important to point out that four football players involved in the 1942 Rose Bowl that was played in Durham, NC died in WW II. One Oregon State player named Everett Smith and three Duke players Walter Griffith, Al Hoover, and Bob Nanni.

 

 

 

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