The “Grand Daddy” of all Bowl games is the Rose Bowl, and it has no equal when it comes to pageantry and drama that goes with playing in prestigious games. This is my top ten list of the best performances in Rose Bowl history. Let’s hope the 2017 edition will have someone make this list.
10. Terrelle Pryor – Ohio State
Great performance from Pryor in a win over Oregon. This was one of the best Rose Bowls. Pryor passed for 266 yards and ran for another 72. Great player in college, a bust in the NFL.
9. George Halas – Great Lakes Navy
Way back in 1919, Halas had a 77 yard interception that fell just short of the goal line, and he also had a 45 yard catch for a touchdown. Those two feats earned him the title of Player of the Game.
8. Danny O’Neil – Oregon
What a performance by Mr. O’Neil, with over 460 passing yards, and 41 passing attempts for the Ducks, this was a show. His performance was overshadowed by the fact they lost to Penn State. I only wish that their defense would have helped out, since a victory would have given him the game honors.
7. Neil Snow – Michigan
This was the first recorded Rose Bowl. Snow holds the record for the most touchdowns in a game with 5. No one has been able to accomplish that feat since.
6. Charlie Trippi – Georgia
Trippi logged some serious time in this game playing on offense and defense. That dual threat played for almost 60 minutes and on offense he ran the ball for a grand total of 130 yards. A pretty darn good effort!
5. Ron Vander Kelen – Wisconsin
Another offensive standout showing in this game. As a quarterback, Kelen passes for 401 yards on 48 passing attempts. He finished the game with 33 completions. For a game in the 1960’s, I am impressed.
4. Rick Neuheisel – UCLA
For a guy that wasn’t sure he would play, he sure played well. Neuheisel suffered through a bout of food poisoning with a teammate but played well enough to lead the Bruins to a rout of Illinois 45-9. He threw for 4 touchdowns and 298 passing yards.
3. Sam Cunningham – USC
Cunningham didn’t rack up a bunch of yards in this game as a fullback, but his worth came when he scored 4 touchdowns, all in the second half of play. But, those touchdowns helped his team beat up on Ohio State 42-17. By the way, those touchdowns only amassed a total of 5 yards. The fullback dive is a great play after all!
2. Bob Jeter – Iowa
To put it simply, there was never a better effort put forth by a running back. On just 9 carries from scrimmage, Jeter ran for 194 yards. That is averaging over 21 yards per carry. Incredible performance!
1. Ernie Nevers – Stanford
Nevers suffered through two broken ankles and he was placed in casts. Those casts were taken off less than two weeks before the 1925 Rose Bowl game. He ran for 114 yards on 34 carries. Stanford lost the game, though, 27-10, to Notre Dame. That guy is tough as nails. So, he gets the #1 best performance.