The weather was overcast and 71 degrees. The UCLA Bruins wore white visitor jerseys, and the Iowa Hawkeyes wore their black home jerseys. Both teams wore Rose Bowl patches on their uniforms. The Iowa Hawkeye helmets bore a sticker with the letters “ANF” for “America Needs Farmers”. Coach Hayden Fry had the players wear these stickers to bring attention the plight of American farmers.
Humorist Erma Bombeck was the grand marshal for the 97th Tournament of Roses Parade held on January 1, 1986….with a parade theme that was “A Celebration of Laughter”……as Tournament of Roses President Lathrop K. “Lay” Leishman presided over the coin toss…..which Iowa won and deferred to UCLA.
Hayden Fry was tied with Forest Evashevski in all time wins as an Iowa head coach coming into this Rose Bowl…..asIowa would recover a fumble at the UCLA 5 yard line from a bad snap of a UCLA punt on the first series of downs. In the first play from scrimmage, Iowa quarterback Chuck Long gave the ball to Ronnie Harmon, who fumbled the ball and UCLA recovered. Iowa running back Ronnie Harmon fumbled the ball a total of 4 times…..and later dropped a pass while wide open in the end zone….as Iowa attempted a late comeback….while Harmon had only 1 fumble the entire season…..as QB Chuck Long was sacked four times by the Bruins. Iowa placekicker Rob Houghtlin tied a Rose Bowl field goal distance record with a 52-yard kick in the fourth quarter. This tied a record set by Ohio State kicker Rich Spangler the previous year in the 1985 Rose Bowl. Eric Ball, a freshman tailback for UCLA, ran for 227 yards and tied a modern Rose Bowl record by scoring four rushing touchdowns….as Sam Cunningham ran for four TD’s in the 1973 Rose Bowl….as Eric Ball was playing for the injured Gaston Green…..who started but pulled a hamstring. Matt Stevens was the UCLA quarterback for this game…..after sharing the starting quarterback job with David Norrie for the first half of the season…..he eventually lost the starter’s job after playing poorly at Washington in a loss in the Bruins’ Pac-10 opening game…..as Stevens did not find out he was starting until a few minutes before the game….when Norrie could not play due to an injury.