Michigan's Bowl Game History
1902 Rose Bowl

1902 rose bowl program 1902 commeoratrive program

Michigan vs. Stanford
January 1, 1902
Pasadena, California
Attendance: 8,000

Scoring by Halves
Michigan1732 - 49
Stanford00 - 0


A polo match as the sporting highlight of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena had been satisfactory, but something more dramatic was needed in 1902. "Why not a football game?" offered one member of the committee, and immediately Tournament President James Wagner started a series of correspondence with the "best team in the West"--Fielding H. Yost's Michigan team.

1901 team photo
1901 Wolverines in Pasadena
Michigan was invited to play on January 1, 1902, against Stanford, champion of the "Pacific Coast Universities." The Wolverines left Ann Arbor on December 17 with temperatures below freezing and six inches of snow on the ground. Eight days later, Michigan arrived in Los Angeles and was greeted by 80-plus degrees and newspaper reports listing several reasons why Stanford should win.

1901 team on wagon New Year's morning found the Michigan team, outfitted in new uniforms, waving colorful Michigan banners, and riding a large carriage in the Rose Parade. Thousands jammed the parade route, and following the parade Pasadena experienced its largest traffic snarl ever as fans headed for the football grounds. The city was a riot of color--mostly blue and gold, for by a strange coincidence, blue and gold were adopted as the year's official colors of the Tournament. Thus, blue and gold pennants were everywhere. The color combination so closely resembled Michigan's colors that some of the Stanford faithful, a bit miffed by what they thought was a show of support for their opponents, began to tear down the banners and streamers.

The crowd of 8,000 stormed Tournament Park, and the first 2,500 who arrived ran for the highest priced reserved seats. The rest, even those holding tickets to the reserved section, were forced to stand on the dusty sidelines throughout the contest.

Rose Bowl game panaorama

The game opened with a blistering sun moving the temperatures into the mid-80's. The teams lined up at 2:57 p.m., and with Michigan defending the south goal, the Wolverines' Everett Sweeley kicked off to open the first bowl game.

Stanford appeared every bit as capable as the papers reported, turning back the powerful Michigan offense, time and again, early in the contest. In fact, the game's first score did not come until 23 minutes into the first half. After a series of short gains moved the ball to the Stanford 30, halfback Willie Heston broke loose on a naked bootleg and picked up 21 yards on the first "big" play in Rose Bowl history. Three plays later, fullback Neil Snow bulled through the tiring Stanford line from the six. Bruce Shorts added the PAT to give Michigan a 6-0 lead.

Soon after Sweeley booted a 20-yard field goal, Michigan's Curtis Redden returned a weak Stanford punt 25 yards for a td, giving the Wolverines a 17-0 half-time lead.

Under the sheer power of the Michigan eleven, Stanford's valiant defense began to crumble in the second half. The Wolverines proved relentless, scoring on nearly every possession.

With eight minutes remaining in the game, Stanford captain Ralph Fisher approached the Wolverine bench and offered to concede; Michigan consented.

The 49-0 victory capped one of the most unbelievable seasons in college football history, Michigan had outscored its opponents, 550-0, winning 11 straight games. Willie Heston, too, made believers out of his West Coast critics. He gained 170 yards in 18 carries as the Wolverines recorded 527 yards on the ground.

The tournament association, though realizing a profit of $3,161.86, thought the wide difference in the score would make an annual game unappealing to spectators. The following year they replaced the football game with a chariot race, and it would be 16 years before the Rose Bowl would again feature a post-parade football game.

The Lineups
Redden LE Clark
White (C) LT Traeger
McGugin LG Roosevelt
Gregory C Lee
Wilson RG Thompson
Shorts RT McFadden
Sweeley RE Cooper
Weeks QB Tarpey
Heston LH Slaker
Herrnstein RH Fisher (C)
Snow FB McGilvray
First Half
M Snow, 6-yard run (Shorts kick)
M Sweeley, 20-yard field goal
M Redden, 52-yard punt return (Shorts kick)
Second Half
M Snow, 2-yard run (kick failed)
M Redden, 25-yard fumble return (Shorts kick)
M Snow, 8-yard run (kick failed)
M Snow, 17-yard run (kick failed)
M Snow, 4-yard run (Shorts kick)
M Herrnstein, 21-yard run (kick failed)


Game Statistics
Wolverines Indians
27First Downs 5
527Net Yards Rushing 67
90Rushing Attempts 24
21/38.9 Punts/Avg.16/34.9

Leading Rushers: Heston (M) 18-170; Snow (M) 107 yards; Herrnstein (M) 97 yards.
Leading Punters: Sweeley (M) 21-819; Fisher (S) -160; McFadden (S) 4-119.
Substitutions: Michigan--none.  Stanford-- Preston, left end; Sefton, rignt end; Hauverman, tackle; Van Syckle, left guard; Allen, fullback