• U.S.

Sport: The Mighty Felled

2 minute read

The first week in November, a large part of the U. S. population comes down with Rose Bowl fever. At Los Angeles last week the epidemic was most pronounced. Over 95,000 football fans, snuggled in University of Southern California’s Memorial Coliseum, suffered chills up & down their spines as they watched the two top-ranking teams in the Pacific Coast Conference match wits and strength in a struggle to determine the West Coast’s representative* in the annual Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day.

One was undefeated California, last year’s Rose Bowl winner, which had gained 1,920 yards from scrimmage and rolled up 173 points (to 31 for its opponents) in seven games (three outside the conference) this season. The other was Southern California, making a dramatic comeback (with four straight conference victories and One over Ohio State) after losing its opening game to Alabama.

For 54 minutes Howard Jones’s U. S. C. boys, led by Quarterback Grenville Landsdell, outsmarted their visitors, smartly scored two touchdowns while preventing the famed ground-gainers from getting even one first down. Then California decided to try an air route to the goal line. It worked. But it was too late. Two minutes later it was all over, 13-to-7. And the statistics told an extraordinary tale: U. S. C. had gained 378 yards to California’s 68; 20 first downs to California’s two. Snipping California’s string of 18 consecutive victories, Southern California, after five humiliating years as an also-ran, was coming back.

If the Pacific Coast Conference titans had experienced any nightmares at the thought of inviting Pitt’s famed “dream team” to the Rose Bowl, it was relieved at what happened in Pittsburgh last week. In an upset far more shocking than that in California, a well coordinated Carnegie Tech machine that had been lying in ambush for a 25th-anniversary meeting with its mighty neighbor, overpowered the Pitt powerhouse, 20-to-10, toppled it from the pedestal where it was basking in a record of 22 games without defeat. Thus the two outstanding power teams of the U. S. tumbled on the same day.

*Actually not determined until next week. Each team has two more conference games to play, but few considered their opponents stumbling blocks.

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