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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1972 Rose Bowl
58th Rose Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Stanford 0 0 3 10 13
Michigan 0 3 0 9 12
Date January 1, 1972
Season 1971
Stadium Rose Bowl
Location Pasadena, California
MVP Don Bunce (Stanford QB)
Favorite Michigan by 10 1/2
United States TV coverage
Network NBC
Announcers Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis
Rose Bowl
 < 1971  1973

The 1972 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1972. It was the 58th Rose Bowl Game. The Stanford Indians defeated the Michigan Wolverines 13-12. The MVP was Stanford quarterback Don Bunce.




Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines had their first undefeated season since 1948, a #3 ranking, and were making their second appearance in the Rose Bowl under third-year coach Bo Schembechler following a 10–7 victory over archrival Ohio State.[1]

Stanford Indians

The Indians had won the previous year's Rose Bowl behind the heroics of Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett, who had graduated. Plunkett's backup Don Bunce, running back Jackie Brown, and the "Thunderchickens" defense, had led Indians to an 8–3 record and a return appearance in the Rose Bowl.[2][3]

Game summary

The game was the first Rose Bowl meeting between the two schools since the inaugural Rose Bowl in 1902, in which Michigan crushed Stanford 49–0. In the 1972 rematch, rain the previous week[4] had made the turf soggy, and at halftime, the only scoring was a Michigan field goal by Dana Coin. In the first series of the second half, Stanford held the Wolverines at their goal line, then marched down to tie the game with a Rod Garcia field goal midway through the third quarter.[1]

As the fourth quarter began, Michigan's Fritz Seyferth made a one-yard dive to put Michigan up 10–3. After Stanford got the ball back, they faced fourth and ten from their own 33, Ralston called for a fake punt, with Jackie Brown racing 33 yards for the first down, which he followed a minute later with a 24-yard touchdown run to tie the game.[5]

Late in the fourth quarter, Michigan recovered a Bunce fumble and attempted a 42-yard field goal; the kick was short, and Stanford safety Jim Ferguson caught the ball and attempted to run it out of the end zone, but was knocked back into the end zone by Ed Shuttlesworth for a safety, making the score 12–10.[1][5] Following the free kick, Stanford held on defense, getting the ball back on their own 22-yard line with 1:48 to go. Bunce then threw five consecutive completions to take Stanford to the Michigan 17 with 22 seconds left. The Indians ran two more running plays to get to the Michigan 14 with 12 seconds left and Garcia's 31-yard field goal was good to put Stanford ahead to stay, 13–12.[1][2]


First quarter


Second quarter

  • Michigan - Dana Coin 30-yard field goal, 10:15

Third quarter

  • Stanford - Rod Garcia 42-yard field goal, 5:40

Fourth quarter

  • Michigan - Fritz Seyferth 1 yard run (Coin kick), 13:01
  • Stanford - Jackie Brown 24 yard run (Garcia kick), 6:29
  • Michigan - Safety: Ed Shuttlesworth tackled Jim Ferguson, 3:18
  • Stanford - Garcia 31-yard field goal, 0:12


Bunce finished 24 of 44 for 290 yards and was named the game's MVP. He played one year of professional football in the Canadian Football League before leaving football to become a successful orthopedic surgeon, eventually serving as team doctor for Stanford's football team from 1982 to 1992.[3] The game was the last football game Stanford played as the "Indians," becoming the "Cardinals" the following year before eventually becoming the singular "Cardinal" by 1981.[6][7][8] Stanford would not return to the Rose Bowl until 2000.

Michigan fell to 6th in the AP poll. Schembechler's Wolverines returned to three consecutive Rose Bowls from 1977 to 1979, but lost all three. In 1981, the Wolverines would finally win their first bowl game under the legendary coach.


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