1948 Rose Bowl

The 1948 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1948. It was the 34th Rose Bowl Game, and the second since the Big Nine Conference and the Pacific Coast Conference reached an exclusive agreement to match their champions in the game each year. In the game, the Michigan Wolverines defeated the USC Trojans; 49–0. Michigan halfback Bob Chappuis was named the Rose Bowl Player of The Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively.[2]

Michigan tied the record for the most points scored by a team in the Rose Bowl, first set by the 1901 Michigan Wolverines in the first Rose Bowl and later matched by USC in 2008. Oregon supplanted the record in 2015. Michigan also tied the game's record for largest margin of victory also set by the 1901 Michigan team that defeated Stanford by an identical 49–0 score. The record of seven PATs converted by Michigan kicker Jim Brieske remains unbroken, but was tied in 2008 by USC's David Buehler.

The game was aired by local station KTLA in the first telecast of a bowl game in the Greater Los Angeles Area.[3] It was also the first time a U.S. motion picture newsreel was taken in color.[4] In a special AP Poll following the game, Michigan replaced Notre Dame as the 1947 national champion by a vote of 226 to 119.

1948 Rose Bowl
34th Rose Bowl Game
USC Trojans Michigan Wolverines
(7–1–1) (9–0)
PCC Big Ten
0 49
Head coach: 
Jeff Cravath
Head coach: 
Fritz Crisler
1234 Total
USC 0000 0
Michigan 714721 49
DateJanuary 1, 1948
StadiumRose Bowl
LocationPasadena, California
MVPBob Chappuis (Michigan HB)
FavoriteMichigan by 15
National anthemSpirit of Troy
Halftime showMichigan Marching Band Spirit of Troy
Attendance93,000 (estimated)[1]


USC Trojans

USC had tied with Rice, 7-&7. They defeated #4 Cal in October. USC's matchup with the defending conference champion UCLA Bruins saw USC win, 6–0. The 1947 Notre Dame-USC game had 104,953 on hand, the highest attendance for a football game in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,[5] to see 7–0–1 Rose Bowl bound USC lose to 8–0 Notre Dame, 38–7. USC dropped from #3 to #8 in the final AP Poll before the Rose Bowl.

Michigan Wolverines

The 1947 Michigan Wolverines, known as the "Mad Magicians," won the Big Nine title on the strength of strong offense and defense. They shut out four opponents, including Ohio State, 21–0. Their close game was a 14–7 win at #11 Illinois, the reigning Big Nine and 1947 Rose Bowl champion.[6]

Game summary

Bob Chappuis and Bump Elliott were the stars for the Wolverines. Jack Weisenburger scored three touchdowns. Nine Rose Bowl records were set.

Scoring summary

First quarter

  • Michigan - Jack Weisenburger, 1-yard run (Jim Brieske kick)

Second quarter

  • Michigan - Jack Weisenburger, 1-yard run (Jim Brieske kick)
  • Michigan - Bump Elliott, 11-yard pass from Bob Chappuis (Jim Brieske kick)

Third quarter

  • Michigan - Yerges, 18-yard pass from Bob Chappuis (Jim Brieske kick)

Fourth quarter

  • Michigan - Jack Weisenburger, 1-yard run (Jim Brieske kick)
  • Michigan - Gene Derricotte, 45-yard pass from Hank Fonde (Jim Brieske kick)
  • Michigan - Dick Rifenberg, 29-yard pass from Howard Yerges (Jim Brieske kick)


The final regular season AP Poll, taken before the bowls, had Notre Dame #1 (107 first place votes) and Michigan #2 (25 first place votes). Notre Dame did not play in a bowl game. After urging from Detroit Free Press sports editor Lyall Smith, the Associated Press conducted its first ever post-bowl poll. Michigan won that poll 266–119.[7]

The Wolverines continued their winning streak through the 1948 football season, going 9–0. Because of the no-repeat rule for the Rose Bowl, Northwestern represented the Big Nine as the conference's second place team in the 1949 Rose Bowl. The 1947 Wolverines's season total of 1,788 passing yards was a school record that stood until 1979.


  1. ^ Official 2007 NCAA Division I football records book - PDF copy available at NCAA.org
  2. ^ 2008 Rose Bowl Program Archived 2008-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, 2008 Rose Bowl. Accessed January 26, 2008.
  3. ^ Rose Bowl Game History - KTLA Archived 2008-03-08 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Kane, Joseph Nathan; Steven Anzovin; Janet Podell (1997). Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History. Lecture Notes in Mathematics 1358. H. W. Wilson Company; 5th edition. ISBN 0-8242-0930-3. Warner Brothers-Pathe started showing this first color newsreel to theater audiences on 5 Jan 1948. It was made using the Cinecolor process.
  5. ^ 2002 NCAA Records book - Attendance Records Archived April 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine page 494 (PDF)
  6. ^ Louis M. Guenin - The Perfect Season Archived 2007-09-10 at the Wayback Machine. Michigan Today Volume 30, Number 3, Fall 1998.
  7. ^ Kyrk, John. Natural Enemies. pp. 142–7. ISBN 1-58979-090-1.

External links

1947 Big Nine Conference football season

The 1947 Big Nine Conference football season was the 52nd season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Nine Conference (also known as the Western Conference and the Big Ten Conference) and was a part of the 1947 college football season.

The 1947 Big Ten champion was Michigan. The Wolverines compiled a perfect 10–0 record, outscored its opponents by a combined total of 394 to 53, and defeated the USC Trojans by a score of 49 to 0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl game.

Michigan halfback Bob Chappuis led the conference with 1,395 yards of total offense, which was also the fourth best in the country. Chappuis also finished second in the voting for the 1947 Heisman Trophy, trailing Johnny Lujack by a tally of 742 votes to 555 votes, with both finishing ahead of Doak Walker and Bobby Layne.Wisconsin finished in second place in the conference, led by sophomore halfback Jug Girard. Girard, a triple-threat man who also returned two punts for touchdowns, was the first conference player selected in the 1948 NFL Draft, being chosen by the Green Bay Packers with the seventh pick in the first round.

1947 Michigan Wolverines football team

The 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1947 Big Nine Conference football season. In its tenth year under head coach Fritz Crisler, Michigan compiled a perfect 10–0 record, won the Big Ten Conference championship, and defeated the USC Trojans by a score of 49–0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl game. Although ranked second in the AP Poll at the end of the regular season, the Wolverines were selected as the nation's No. 1 team by a 226–119 margin over Notre Dame in an unprecedented (and unofficial) AP Poll taken after the bowl games. The 1947 team outscored its opponents, 394–53, and has been selected as the best team in the history of Michigan football.The 1947 Michigan Wolverines included five players who have been inducted into the College or Pro Football Halls of Fame: left halfback Bob Chappuis (who finished second in the 1947 Heisman Trophy voting), right halfback Bump Elliott (who received the Chicago Tribune trophy as the Big Ten MVP), defensive quarterback Pete Elliott, defensive end Len Ford, and tackle Al Wistert. Offensive tackle Bruce Hilkene was the team captain, and quarterback Howard Yerges was the field general who became known as "Crisler's 'second brain.'" Jack Weisenburger was the "spinning fullback" and the 1947 Big Ten rushing leader.

The 1947 Wolverines were the first team fully to embrace the concept of defensive and offensive specialization. Previously, most players had played their positions on both offense and defense. In 1947, Fritz Crisler established separate offensive and defensive squads. Only Bump Elliott and Jack Weisenberger played on both squads. In November 1947, Time magazine ran a feature article about the 1947 Wolverines focusing on the new era of specialization marked by Crisler's decision to field separate offensive and defensive units. The Time article noted: "Michigan's sleight-of-hand repertory is a baffling assortment of double reverses, buck-reverse laterals, crisscrosses, quick-hits and spins from seven different formations. Sometimes, watching from the side lines, even Coach Crisler isn't sure which Michigan man has the ball. Michigan plays one team on offense, one on defense...Whenever Michigan's defensive team regains the ball, Crisler orders: 'Offense unit, up and out,' and nine men pour onto the field at once." Crisler's single-wing formation in action was "so dazzling in its deception" that the media nicknamed the 1947 team the "Mad Magicians".

1947 USC Trojans football team

The 1947 USC Trojans football team was an American football team that represented the University of Southern California (USC) as a member of the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) during the 1947 college football season. In its sixth year under head coach Jeff Cravath, the team compiled a 7–2–1 record (6–0 against conference opponents), won the PCC championship, was ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll, and outscored opponents by a total of 193 to 114. The team lost to Notre Dame in the final game of the regular season and to Michigan in the 1948 Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.Four USC players received first-team honors on the 1947 All-Pacific Coast football teams selected by the PCC coaches, the Associated Press (AP), and the United Press (UP): end Paul Cleary (Coaches-1, AP-1, UP-1); tackle John Ferraro (Coaches-1, AP-1, UP-1); halfback Don Doll (Coaches-1, AP-1, UP-1); and tackle Bob Hendren (AP-1). Cleary and Ferraro were later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The team played its home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

1953 Orange Bowl

The 1953 Orange Bowl, part of the 1952 bowl game season, took place on January 1, 1953, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The competing teams were the Alabama Crimson Tide, representing the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Syracuse Orangemen, competing as a football independent. Alabama won the game by a record margin of 61–6. The 55-point margin of victory remained the largest for a bowl game until the 2008 GMAC Bowl, and still stands as the largest margin of victory for an Alabama football team in a bowl game.

1965 Rose Bowl

The 1965 Rose Bowl, played on January 1, 1965, was the 51st Rose Bowl Game. The

Michigan Wolverines defeated the Oregon State Beavers by a score of 34–7. Michigan fullback Mel Anthony was named the Rose Bowl Player Of The Game.

Bill Pritula

William "Bill" Pritula (March 10, 1922 – January 24, 2006) was an American football player. He played college football as the starting right tackle for Fritz Crisler's Michigan Wolverines football teams in 1942, 1946, and 1947. He was one of Michigan's "Seven Oak Posts" line in 1942, made famous for their durability and two-way playing, and was also a key blocker for the 1947 offensive unit known as the "Mad Magicians."

Pritula was born in 1922 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but moved with his parents to Detroit as a child. His father, Ivan Prytula, immigrated from Austria in 1911. Pritula attended Chadsey High School in Detroit. He enrolled at the University of Michigan and played at the right tackle position for the Michigan Wolverines football team from 1941–1942 and 1946–1947. After serving as a backup center in 1941, Pritula started all ten games at right tackle for the 1942 team. With the roster depleted due to the war, Pritula was one of several 60-minute men on the 1942 team who played all ten games with little or no substitution. Michigan's 1942 line, which included Pritula, Julius Franks, Elmer Madar, Merv Pregulman, Albert Wistert, and Robert Kolesar, became known as the "Seven Oak Posts.Pritula missed three years at Michigan while serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps engineers in the Philippines during World War II. He returned to Michigan in 1946 and resumed his position as the Wolverines starting right tackle. As a senior, he started nine of ten games at right tackle for the undefeated 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team. His final game for Michigan was the 1948 Rose Bowl in which Michigan defeated the USC Trojans, 49-0. During his three years as a starter at Michigan, the team compiled a record of 23-5-1 and were ranked No. 9, No. 6 and No. 1 in the AP Polls. He was selected by the Associated Press as a second-team All-Big Nine Conference player in 1947. He was also invited to play in the 1948 Chicago College All-Star Game against the Chicago Cardinals. Pritula was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Tau Beta Pi national engineering society at Michigan.In June 1948, Pritula was hired as the line coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. After retiring from football, Pritula worked for many years as an engineer for General Motors. He received a master of arts degree from Michigan in 1967. He died in January 2006.

Bob Chappuis

Robert Richard "Bob" Chappuis ( CHAP-ee-əs; February 24, 1923 – June 14, 2012) was an American football player who played halfback and quarterback for the University of Michigan Wolverines in 1942, 1946, and 1947. His college years were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Chappuis flew 21 missions as a radio operator and aerial gunner on B-25 bombers in the European Theater. His aircraft was shot down in February 1945 in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. Chappuis parachuted from the plane before it crashed, and Italian partisans rescued him by hiding Chappuis and two other crew members for the final three months of the war.

After the war, Chappuis returned to Michigan where he broke the Big Nine Conference record for total offense in 1946 and then broke his own record in 1947. He led the 1947 Michigan team known as the "Mad Magicians" to an undefeated season and a 49–0 win over the USC Trojans in the 1948 Rose Bowl game. Chappuis was a unanimous All-American selection in 1947 and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1948 Rose Bowl. His picture appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1947 in connection with a feature article about Chappuis and the 1947 Wolverines. He placed second in the 1947 Heisman Trophy balloting.

During his career he established many football records that lasted for over a generation and became an All-American. He continues to hold the Big Ten Conference single-season passer rating record and the Michigan Wolverines single-season yards/completion records. He was one of the early passing specialists in an era where football players were just beginning to either play on offense or defense instead of both.

Chappuis played professional football in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) as a quarterback for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Hornets in 1948 and 1949. He led the Dodgers in total offense in 1948 with 1,402 yards passing and 310 yards rushing. When both clubs and the AAFC folded, Chappuis retired from football in 1950. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

Bruce Hilkene

Bruce L. Hilkene (November 4, 1925 – April 26, 1990) was the captain and starting left tackle of the undefeated 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team. The team defeated the USC Trojans 49-0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl and has been selected as the greatest Michigan football team of all time. Hilkene was named captain of the 1945 team but missed the season due to wartime service in the U.S. Navy. In 1947 he returned as captain. Hilkene later served for many years as an executive at General Motors. He was posthumously inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1992.

Bump Elliott

Chalmers William "Bump" Elliott (born January 30, 1925) is a former American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He played halfback at Purdue University (1943–1944) and the University of Michigan (1946–1947). Elliott grew up in Bloomington, Illinois, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a senior in high school and was assigned to the V-12 Navy College Training Program at Purdue University. He received varsity letters in football, baseball, and basketball at Purdue, before being called into active duty in late 1944, serving with the Marines in China.

After being discharged from the military, he enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1946 and joined the football team for whom his brother Pete Elliott played quarterback. In 1947, he played for an undefeated and untied Michigan football team known as the "Mad Magicians", led the Big Nine Conference in scoring, won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the Conference, and was selected as an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association.

After graduating from Michigan in 1948, Elliott spent ten years as an assistant football coach at Oregon State, Iowa, and Michigan. He was appointed as Michigan's head football coach in 1959 and held that position until 1968, leading the team to a Big Ten Conference championship and Rose Bowl victory in the 1964 season. For a period of 21 years, from 1970 to 1991, he was the athletic director at the University of Iowa. During his tenure as athletic director, he hired coaches Dan Gable, Hayden Fry, Lute Olson, C. Vivian Stringer, and Dr. Tom Davis, and the Iowa Hawkeyes won 41 Big Ten Conference championships and 11 NCAA titles. In 1989, Elliott was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Crisler Center

Crisler Center (formerly known as Crisler Arena) is an indoor arena located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is the home arena for the University of Michigan's men's and women's basketball teams as well as its women's gymnastics team. Constructed in 1967, the arena seats 12,707 spectators. It is named for Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler, head football coach at Michigan from 1938 to 1947 and athletic director thereafter until his retirement in 1968. Crisler Center was designed by Dan Dworsky, a member of the 1948 Rose Bowl team. Among other structures that he has designed is the Federal Reserve Bank of Los Angeles.

The arena is often called "The House that Cazzie Built", a reference to player Cazzie Russell, who starred on Michigan teams that won three consecutive Big Ten Conference titles from 1964 to 1966. Russell's popularity caused the team's fan base to outgrow Yost Fieldhouse (now Yost Ice Arena) and prompted the construction of the current facility.

At Michigan men's basketball games, the bleacher seats behind the benches are home to the Maize Rage student section.

Dan Dworsky

Daniel Leonard Dworsky (born October 4, 1927) is an American architect. He is a longstanding member of the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. Among other works, Dworsky designed Crisler Arena, the basketball arena at the University of Michigan named for Dworsky's former football coach, Fritz Crisler. Other professional highlights include designing Drake Stadium at UCLA, the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles and the Block M seating arrangement at Michigan Stadium. He is also known for a controversy with Frank Gehry over the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Previously, Dworsky was an American football linebacker, fullback and center who played professional football for the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference in 1949, and college football for the Michigan Wolverines from 1945 to 1948. He was an All-American on Michigan's undefeated national championship teams in 1947 and 1948.

Dick Rifenburg

Richard Gale "Dick" Rifenburg (August 21, 1926 – December 5, 1994) was an American football player and a pioneering television broadcaster for the forerunner to WIVB-TV in Buffalo. He played college football for the University of Michigan Wolverines in 1944 and from 1946 to 1948. He was a consensus selection at end on the 1948 College Football All-America Team. Rifenburg played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) with the Detroit Lions for one season in 1950. After retiring from football he settled in Buffalo and became a sports broadcaster. He worked as a color commentator and as a play-by-play announcer for the Buffalo Bulls. He hosted various television and radio sports shows and was eventually inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

In college, he led the Big Ten Conference in single season receptions during his senior year and set Michigan Wolverines receptions records for both career touchdown and single-season touchdowns. He had also been a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) state champion in both basketball and track and field. His college career was interrupted by World War II service, and his high school career was also affected by the war due to the MHSAA's cancellation of state championships in all sports in 1943.

Dominic Tomasi

Dominic Tomasi (February 11, 1928 - December 1, 1986) was an American football player who played guard for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He was a four-year starter and was selected as both the captain and Most Valuable Player of the National Champion 1948 Michigan Wolverines football team.

Fritz Crisler

Herbert Orin "Fritz" Crisler (; January 12, 1899 – August 19, 1982) was an American college football coach who is best known as "the father of two-platoon football," an innovation in which separate units of players were used for offense and defense. Crisler developed two-platoon football while serving as head coach at the University of Michigan from 1938 to 1947. He also coached at the University of Minnesota (1930–1931) and Princeton University (1932–1937). Before coaching, he played football at the University of Chicago under Amos Alonzo Stagg, who nicknamed him Fritz after violinist Fritz Kreisler.

During his 18-year career as a head football coach, Crisler's teams won 116 games, lost 32, and tied 9. At Michigan, Crisler won 71 games, lost 16, and tied 3 for a winning percentage of .806. Crisler introduced the distinctive winged football helmet to the Michigan Wolverines in 1938. The Michigan football team has worn a version of the design ever since. Crisler had first introduced the winged helmet design at Princeton in 1935. He was also the head basketball coach at Princeton for two seasons from 1932 to 1934, tallying a mark of 32–11.

Crisler's 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team, dubbed the "Mad Magicians," had an undefeated campaign, ending with a 49–0 triumph over the USC Trojans in the 1948 Rose Bowl. Afterwards, the team was selected the national champion by the Associated Press in an unprecedented post-bowl vote. Crisler retired from coaching after the 1947 season and served as the University of Michigan's athletic director from 1941 to 1968. Crisler was also a member of the NCAA football rules committee for 41 years and its chairman for nine years.

Crisler Center, home of the Michigan men's and women's basketball teams, was renamed in honor of Crisler in 1970. In addition, one "extra" seat in Michigan Stadium was added to honor Crisler for his special place in the history of Michigan football. However, its location is unknown.

Gene Derricotte

Eugene Derricotte (born June 14, 1926) is a former American football player who played with the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1944 to 1948. He was one of the University's first African-American athletes in the era when college football was beginning to integrate. Derricotte established school records that still stand as a punt returner for the Michigan Wolverines football team. He also established several short-lived school interceptions records. Derricotte also served as a Tuskegee Airman and later had a successful career in dentistry while continuing to serve in the military.

Henry Fonde

Henry Fonde (January 13, 1924 – May 3, 2009) was an American football player and coach. He played for the University of Michigan from 1945 to 1947 under head coach Fritz Crisler. In ten years as the head football coach at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School (1949–1958), he compiled a record of 69–6–4. He subsequently served as an assistant football coach at the University of Michigan under head coach Bump Elliott from 1959–1968.

History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Crisler years

The History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Crisler years covers the history of the University of Michigan Wolverines football program during the period from the hiring of Fritz Crisler as head coach in 1938 through his retirement as head coach after winning the 1948 Rose Bowl. Michigan was a member of the Big Ten Conference during the Crisler years and played its home games at Michigan Stadium.

During the 10 years in which Crisler served as head football coach, Michigan compiled a record of 71–16–3 (.806). Tom Harmon played for the Wolverines from 1938 to 1940 and in 1940 became the first Michigan player to win the Heisman Trophy. 1947 Michigan team, sometimes known as the "Mad Magicians", compiled a perfect 10–0 record, outscored its opponents 394–53, defeated the USC Trojans 49–0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl game, and were selected as the nation's No. 1 team by a 226–119 margin over Notre Dame in an unprecedented AP Poll taken after the bowl games. Bob Chappuis finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1947.

Ten players from the Crisler years have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. They are Chappuis, Bump Elliott, Pete Elliott, Harmon, Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, David M. Nelson (inducted as coach), Tubby Raymond (inducted as coach), and Bob Westfall, Albert "Ox" Wistert, and Alvin "Moose" Wistert. Two have also been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame—Hirsch and Len Ford. Three members of the coaching staff have also been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. They are Crisler, Clarence "Biggie" Munn, and Bennie Oosterbaan (inducted as player).

Howard Yerges

Howard Frederick Yerges, Jr. (April 5, 1925 - December 1, 2000) was an American football player who played quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team in 1943 and the University of Michigan Wolverines football teams from 1944 to 1947. He was the starting quarterback of the 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team that went undefeated, beat USC 49-0 in the Rose Bowl and is considered by some to be the greatest Michigan football team of all time. As of 2009, Yerges was one of three players (along with Justin Boren and J. T. White) to play on both sides of the Michigan – Ohio State football rivalry.

Jim Brieske

James F. Brieske (May 4, 1923 – November 29, 1968) was an American football placekicker. He played college football for the University of Michigan in 1942, 1946 and 1947. He set Michigan, Rose Bowl, Big Ten Conference, and national collegiate placekicking records and was the second leading scorer on Michigan's undefeated 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team. For more than two decades, he held the Michigan records for most successful point after touchdown ("PAT") conversions in a career (107), season (52), and game (9). Brieske's college football career was interrupted by service in the United States Navy during the 1944 and 1945 football seasons. His kicking foot was amputated in 1967 due to cancer. He died the following year at age 45 following surgery to remove growths from his lungs.

History & conference tie-ins

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