1980sFootballNBCNCAANCAAFRose Bowl Classic

NCAA Football – 1986 – Rose Bowl Classic – Iowa Hawkeyes VS UCLA Bruins – 4th Quarter

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The 1986 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1986. It was the 72nd Rose Bowl Game. The UCLA Bruins defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 45-28. UCLA tailback Eric Ball was named the Rose Bowl Player Of The Game. He ran for a Rose Bowl record four touchdowns.   The 1986 Rose Bowl matched the winners of the Big Ten Conference and the Pacific-10 Conference.

iowa spent a number of weeks ranked number one. On October 19, 1985, they defeated the #2 Michigan Wolverines 12–10 in the thirteenth regular season matchup between a #1 and #2 team. Mike Haight, Chuck Long, and Ronnie Harmon were the stars for the Hawkeyes. They eventually lost one game on November 2, 1985, to Ohio State 13–22. Iowa came into the game with a record of 10–1.    

After much consideration, Chuck Long delighted Iowa Hawkeye fans by declaring that he would return for his senior season. He became an instant Heisman Trophy candidate, and Iowa was a pre-season top five team. After three weeks in 1985, the Hawkeyes ascended to #1 in the national rankings.    

In Iowa’s first game at #1, the Hawkeyes played Michigan State. A seesaw game had Michigan State leading, 31–28, in the waning minutes. Long drove Iowa the length of the field, and the Hawkeyes faced fourth and goal from the two-yard line with just 27 seconds remaining. Since there was no overtime rule, Iowa needed to go for the touchdown and the win. Chuck Long faked a handoff to running back Ronnie Harmon and then ran to his right. His fake had fooled the Spartan defenders, and Long ran into the endzone, holding the ball high above his head as he crossed the goal line to give Iowa a 35–31 victory. He completed a school record 30 passes on 39 attempts for 380 yards and scored five touchdowns (four passing and the game winning score rushing) in the game.   Two weeks later, #1 Iowa faced #2 Michigan in Kinnick Stadium. Iowa trailed 10-9 as the Hawkeyes regained possession of the football at their own 22-yard line with just 5:27 remaining in the game. Long led Iowa on a 66-yard drive against the nation’s top-ranked defense, twice converting third-and-eight situations by completing passes to tight end Mike Flagg. Long drove the Iowa team to the 12-yard line with two seconds remaining to set up kicker Rob Houghtlin’s game-winning field goal as time expired. Chuck Long completed 26 of 39 passes for 297 yards in Iowa’s 12–10 win.  A loss to Ohio State cost Iowa their #1 ranking, but the Hawkeyes still won the Big Ten title outright for the first time in 27 years. Chuck Long won many major national awards as a senior, including the 1985 Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s top player and the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s top quarterback. He was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a consensus first team All-American. Finally, Chuck Long was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy to Bo Jackson of Auburn in what used to be the closest margin in Heisman history, losing by just 45 points.    

UCLA defeated defending national champion BYU in Provo, 27–24 to start the season. They tied eventual SEC and Sugar Bowl champion Tennessee. The Bruins opened the Pac-10 season by losing at Washington, 21–14. They would later get two key wins, the first against Arizona State, the second at Arizona. For much of the season, the rushing defense was ranked #2 in the nation, behind Oklahoma’s.They won the rest of their games leading to the 1985 USC vs UCLA game.   Needing a win against 4–5 USC, UCLA struggled. Gaston Green and Mell Farr Jr had fumbles in the game. UCLA was leading in the fourth quarter 13–10 when Eric Ball fumbled at the USC 1 as he was about to score what would have been the clinching touchdown.  Freshman quarterback Rodney Peete led USC on a drive, converting a key fourth down along the way. In the last two minutes, USC again faced a fourth down, this time at UCLA’s 2-yard line. USC scored to take a 17–13 lead, then intercepted UCLA quarterback David Norrie as he tried to lead a Bruin comeback. UCLA’s loss opened the door for Washington to grab the Rose Bowl berth, but they were upset by Washington State the same day, 21–20. Washington lost the advantage due to the loss in the 1985 Oregon State vs. Washington football game. This put Arizona State in position to win the conference as they entered their game with Arizona with only one conference loss (40–17 to UCLA). But later that evening, Arizona defeated Arizona State 16–13 to cause a tie between UCLA, Arizona State, and Arizona. UCLA won the tiebreaker and the Rose Bowl berth by virtue of its wins over Arizona and Arizona State.   UCLA came into the 1986 Rose Bowl game with a record of 8–2–1. Coach Terry Donahue was named Pac-10 Coach of the year….and five Bruin players were named 1st team All Pac-10 including DT Mark Walen, OT Mike Hartmeier, K John Lee, NG Terry Tumey and LB Tommy Taylor….with Walen also being named defensive player of the year. UCLA finished the year ranked # 1 in defense at 70,3 yards per game….with OU finishing 2nd at 89,9 yards per game.  

There is good reason why the UCLA defense was able to hold the Iowa Hawkeyes and their great QB Chuck Long in check throughout most of this contest….as the Bruins would defeat the Hawkeyes 45 – 28.

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