On The ’39 USC Trojans

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A pair of juniors named Second Team All-America by the United Press in December of 1938 cause the unbeaten and untied Duke Blue Devils all kinds of problems as USC first string quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL (# 78) follows the block of 218-pound left guard HARRY SMITH (# 70) during the 1939 Rose Bowl Game played in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
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Having concluded the previous campaign with the respectable record of nine wins against two losses which included the dramatic Rose Bowl victory over a powerful Duke University team who had not surrendered one single point during the regular season, it was widely expected that the traditionally strong UNIVERSITY of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TROJANS under the capable stewardship of the highly experienced HOWARD JONES would, in fact, be serious contenders for the mythical national championship title in 1939.

Although three Trojans had been taken in the annual National Football League Draft for the very first time in school history, the graduation losses really were not all that heavy in the grand scheme of things. Two players who had been named Second Team All-America by the United Press in 1938, “triple-threat” quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL and titanic left guard HARRY SMITH, spearheaded a group of six returning starters whom USC were counting upon in 1939. Additionally, because it had always been the policy of the legendary Jones to regularly rotate large numbers of players in and out of any given game, the Trojans had an abundance of returning lettermen on hand, as well.

USC were strengthened even by further by the return of accomplished quarterback AMBROSE SCHINDLER, the redshirt senior from San Diego who, two years earlier in 1937, had topped the Trojans with both 599 yards rushing (4.5 avg) and nine total touchdowns scored — this sort of production made “Amblin’ Amby” a Second Team All-Pacific Coast selection of both the Associated Press and United Press that season but a severe ankle injury forced Schindler to sit out the entire 1938 NCAA campaign.

Of course, it was the all-important quarterback position around which the offensive attack revolved in the Trojans’ version of the Single Wing formation and USC were very well stocked in the fall of 1939; for a distinct change of pace from Lansdell (6’0″ 187 lbs) and Schindler (5’9″ 186 lbs), Jones could always call upon the services of DOYLE NAVE (5’11” 180 lbs), the homegrown senior from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles who had rallied the Trojans to victory late in the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl Game against the highly regarded Blue Devils by completing four consecutive passes.

On the whole, the Trojans’ three-headed quarterback monster thrived during the 1939 NCAA season of the careful supervision of Jones, USC’s very own mad scientist, if one will :

1939 NCAA RUSHING LEADERS
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QBs – Lansdell & Schindler & Nave, USC ………… 1,337 yards
FB – John Polanski, Wake Forest ………………………. 882 yards
LHB – Tom Harmon, Michigan ………………………….. 868 yards
LHB – Kenny Washington, UCLA ………………………. 812 yards

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USC Trojans third-string quarterback DOYLE NAVE (# 40), the so-called passing specialist who had five touchdown tosses in his collegiate career before becoming the sixth overall player taken at the 1940 National Football League Draft when chosen in the first round by the Detroit Lions, dives across the goal line to complete a 12-yard touchdown run against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini in the second quarter of the inter-regional contest at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 14, 1939.
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As far as USC’s offensive system was concerned in the late 1930s, the only other positional player in the backfield aside from the quarterback to carry the football from scrimmage on a regular basis was the fullback. The Trojans made good use of the so-called “spinner” tactic, an offensive play which featured the fullback, who always lined up in the backfield next to and slightly in front of the quarterback. After taking the direct snap from center and then faking a handoff to the right halfback looping back around on a reverse around the left end while executing a 360-degree “spin” move, the fullback then embarked on a run straight up the middle.

Competition for a place at fullback on the ’39 USC squad was especially fierce in 1939 with four different players having first-string experience all vying for their share of time on the field. ANGELO PECCIANTI (5’11” 180 lbs), the redshirt senior from Alhambra High School in Martinez who had started USC’s first four games as a sophomore in 1936 and two more games as a junior in 1938, was hampered by knee injuries all throughout his collegiate career. And BILL SANGSTER, the somewhat undersized (5’9″ 170 lbs) senior from San Gabriel who led the Trojans in pass receptions as a sophomore in 1937 before starting USC’s final seven games as a junior in 1938, scored his second career touchdown on a short run against the Washington State Cougars in the Trojans’ second game of the 1939 campaign but appeared sparingly thereafter and ended the season with just 37 yards rushing on only eleven carries (3.4 avg).

JACK BANTA, the 187-pounder who later went on to play six seasons in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams, had three rushing touchdowns as a sophomore for USC in 1938, including the game-winner in the fourth quarter of the clash with the then # 3 ranked University of California Golden Bears. It was the homegrown junior from Black Foxe Academy in Los Angeles who had also scored the Trojans’ first touchdown in the landslide 42-7 win over cross-town rival UCLA the previous season, as well. Continued good form enabled Banta to maintain a stranglehold on the second-string fullback spot in 1939.

BOB PEOPLES, the 190-pounder who started two games as a sophomore for USC in 1938, was an ever-present in the Trojans first-string unit as a junior the next term. The native of Oklahoma City led the defending Rose Bowl champions in 1939 with 16 pass receptions while also finishing second on the team in total yards from scrimmage after gaining a combined 396 rushing and receiving. Interestingly enough, Peoples was named Honorable Mention All-America by both the Associated Press and United Press in 1939 — this shortly after being cited as Honorable Mention All-Pacific Coast by the Associated Press but not the United Press.

Eighty percent of the time, either Peoples (284:35) or Banta (219:50) occupied the fullback position for the Trojans in 1939.

1939 USC TROJANS RUSHING LEADERS
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742 yards … 4.8 avg … 9 td … QB – Grenville LANSDELL
390 yards … 4.5 avg … 3 td … QB – Ambrose SCHINDLER
268 yards … 4.5 avg …. 1 td … FB – Bob PEOPLES
205 yards … 3.7 avg …. 2 td … QB – Doyle NAVE
175 yards …. 4.0 avg … 0 td … FB – Jack BANTA

USC were quarterbacked by either Lansdell (281:00), Schindler (158:25) or Nave (145:05) for all but fifteen and a half minutes of the six hundred total minutes which comprised the Trojans’ ten games during the ’39 NCAA season.

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USC Trojans first-string quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL (# 78) carries the football against the University of California Golden Bears during the Pacific Coast Conference game at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on October 28, 1939; Lansdell, the two-time All-America honoree whom the New York Giants made the 10th overall player picked when choosing in the first round of the 1940 NFL Draft, threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Trojans right end Bob Winslow and also scored on a 55-yard gallop in this contest as USC whitewashed Cal 26-0.
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For the most part, the primary roles of the left and right halfback in the USC offensive system of the late 1930s were to function as blockers and pass receivers although the Trojans were known to occasionally use their right halback on a reverse run around the left end.

It was as a result of superior blocking and reliable pass catching skills, to go along with standout play at linebacker on the defensive side of the football, that the NEA Sports Syndicate selected USC left halfback BOB HOFFMAN as a First Team All-Pacific Coast choice in 1938. The 190-pound senior from Montebello was easily the Trojans’ most experienced varsity player in 1939, having started nine out of USC’s ten games as a sophomore two years earlier and nine out of the Trojans’ eleven games as a junior. It was a 45-yard pass reception by Hoffman, who had paced USC with 11 catches in 1938, late in the fourth quarter of the critical contest against the Washington Huskies on the first Saturday of December in 1939 which directly led to the winning touchdown that formally set up the de facto Pacific Coast Conference championship game opposite the rival UCLA Bruins the following week.

Often noted for durability in the contemporary press all throughout his career, it was Hoffman who also accumulated the most time on the field (388:30) out of all the Trojans’ talented backfield players in 1939.

Second-string left halfback was USC team captain JOE SHELL, the 200-pound senior from San Diego who started four games during his collegiate career for the Trojans. It was the physical Shell who provided what ultimately proved to be the winning points in USC’s dramatic 19-13 triumph over UCLA in 1937 by catching a 20-yard touchdown pass from fellow sophomore Grenny Lansdell early in the fourth quarter. It was also Shell, however, who was the Trojans’ defensive back that was badly beaten by Bruins right halfback HAL HIRSHON on the famous 73-yard touchdown pass from KENNY WASHINGTON later towards the conclusion of that heart-stopping contest.

Third-string left halfback for USC figured to be PHIL DUBOSKI (5’10” 185 lbs), the homegrown redshirt senior out of Loyola High School of Los Angeles who had started all nine of the Trojans’ games as a sophomore in 1936 before being bitten by the injury bug; also in the mix was BILL BUNDY, the 200-pound sophomore blocking back who was destined to earn three varsity letters.

Despite the fact that there were more experienced candidates on campus, it was varsity rookie BOBBY ROBERTSON who started all ten games at right halfback for USC in 1939. The speedy redshirt sophomore (5’10” 185 lbs) from Black Foxe Academy in Los Angeles carried the pigskin on the reverse around left end a total of thirty-four times but only netted 54 yards (1.6 avg) from scrimmage. Still, the defensively astute Robertson had the third-highest total of minutes on the field (385:05) out of all the Trojans and turned in what was undoubtedly the most influential play of USC’s entire season.

The understudy at right halfback would be senior JIM SLATTER (6’3″ 195 lbs), the two-year letterwinner from Los Angeles who had been teammates of Trojans quarterback Doyle Nave at Manual Arts High School. Slatter was destined to catch touchdown passes for USC in back-to-back games against Oregon State and Stanford during the 1939 NCAA campaign. Third-stringer would be senior ROY ENGLE (5’10” 177 lbs), the two-year letterwinner from San Diego who, in 1938, had scored the Trojans’ final touchdown during the runaway 42-7 victory over the intra-city adversaries.

Although USC were looking at replacing four members of its front seven from the season before, there was never any doubt that the line of scrimmage would be a place where the Trojans could excel in 1939.

As was the case with the four slots in the backfield, the Trojans were very capably staffed at the two end positions with six lettermen returning to the squad. Senior BOB WINSLOW (6’2″ 195 lbs), the two-year letterwinner from Inglewood who originally transferred in from Modesto Junior College, made a good target at right end. Second-stringer JOHN STONEBRAKER (6’2″ 219 lbs) brought considerable size and a knack for catching touchdown passes to the table; as a junior in 1938, Stonebraker scored on a 23-yard pass reception against the Washington State Cougars and also tallied on a 40-yard catch versus the Oregon Ducks.

It was, indeed, Stonebraker who would snare the late fourth quarter touchdown pass that enabled USC to edge the stubborn Washington Huskies 9-7 in early December of 1939 and ensure that the Trojans would collide with the cross-town rival UCLA Bruins in the battle for the right to appear in the lucrative 1940 Rose Bowl Game at Pasadena.

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USC first team right end BOB WINSLOW (# 73), who was named Honorable Mention All-America by the Associated Press, NEA Sports Syndicate and United Press towards the end of his senior season, is powerless to prevent the Notre Dame player from catching a pass during the high-profile inter-regional clash between the # 7 ranked Fighting Irish and the # 4 ranked Trojans in front of 50,000 passionate followers at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, on November 25, 1939 … In the background to the right is USC first team left end BILL FISK (# 50), whom the Associated Press named Second Team All-Pacific Coast as well as Honorable Mention All-America in 1939.
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Senior BILL FISK (6’0″ 187 lbs), the two-year letterwinner also out of Alhambra High School in Martinez who hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass for USC at the expense of the University of the Pacific Tigers in his first varsity contest as a sophomore in 1937, started nine of the Trojans’ eleven games at left end in 1938. Oddly enough, one of USC’s biggest weapons that season had turned out to be Fisk’s deputy. Second-stringer AL KRUEGER (6’0″ 183 lbs), the junior whose nickname derived from the Antelope Valley High School he had attended, caught no less than three touchdown passes during the 1938 NCAA campaign, including the game-winner against the Duke Blue Devils in the dying moments of the 1939 Rose Bowl Game.

It also had been “Antelope Al” who helped break the would-be one-sided UCLA vs USC contest in 1938 wide open by returning an interception 52 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Trojans their first lead of the game.

The two other letterwinners also on hand at the left end position for USC were GLEN GALVIN (5’11” 180 lbs), the redshirt senior from Huntingdon Park High School in Los Angeles who started three games at fullback for the Trojans as a sophomore in 1936, as well as SALVADOR MENA (6’0″ 190 lbs), the sturdy junior from San Diego. The one promising newcomer was right end BOB JONES (6’0″ 185 lbs), the sophomore product of Black Foxe Academy in Los Angeles who went on to average an even ten minutes per game for USC in 1939. Jones’ total time on the field was fifth-most among the Trojans’ ends behind Fisk (323:50), Winslow (293:50), Stonebraker (252:30) and Krueger (246:05).

It was true that three of the five interior linemen who started the 1939 Rose Bowl Game for USC had graduated but one of the returnees happened to be the dominant figure of the left guard Smith, the monstrous yet mobile 218-pound senior from Ontario who had been named Second Team All-America by the United Press and Third Team All-America by the NEA Sports Syndicate as a junior in 1938. The other veteran first team lineman was HOWARD STOECKER, the 215-pound senior left tackle from Mason City, Iowa, who had started the Trojans’ last five games as a sophomore in 1937 as well as nine of USC’s eleven games as a junior in 1938. Furthermore, two of the three newcomers to the interior line in 1939 had the benefit of previous starting experience.

The new first team right tackle was two-year letterwinner PHIL GASPAR, the 220-pound senior who had started two games for the Trojans as a sophomore in 1937 in addition to one other as a junior the following season. The Los Angeles High School graduate gained extensive experience as a second-stringer in 1938 while also serving as USC’s regular placekicker, as well. As a junior, Gaspar converted 10 of 16 extra point attempts (62.5%) but had a 27-yard field goal attempt blocked by the Washington State Cougars and was considerably wide on a 32-yard field goal try against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

200-pound sophomore BOB DE LAUER, yet another impactful Trojans player recruited from San Diego, immediately advanced to second string at right tackle on the depth chart. De Lauer was also a decent placekicker and, in 1939, would put together an early-season streak of at least one extra point in five consecutive games (6 of 10 on all attempts during that stretch) before going down injured. Third-string right tackle would be QUENTIN KLENK, the 208-pound junior from Long Beach who had done fairly well as a placekicker for the 1937 USC freshman football team.

The new first team right guard on the Trojans unbalanced line was BEN SOHN, the massive 225-pound junior from San Diego who started the first two games of his sophomore season in 1938, with the understudies being PETE KALINICH, the 210-pound junior from Waterloo, Iowa, and RAY HALVORSEN, the 205-pound redshirt senior from Hollywood.

USC’s new starting center was slated to be ED DEMPSEY, the 200-pound junior out of Black Foxe Academy in Los Angeles who would end up leading the entire Trojans team in 1939 with almost 410 minutes of playing time on the field. The second-string snapper would be junior CHARLES MORRILL, the 185-pounder from Piedmont who earned his first varsity letter as a sophomore in 1938 by deploying at one of the two guard positions. Providing depth was redshirt senior ALEX ATANASOFF, the 190-pounder who won his first varsity letter for USC in 1937 after transferring from Los Angeles Junior College but was forced to sit out the following season on account of injury.

Two-year letterwinner JOHN THOMASSIN, the 208-pound second team left tackle out of Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, brought a lot of experience with him off the bench having started two games for USC as a sophomore in 1937 and then another pair of contests as a junior the next term; another valuable reserve was FLOYD PHILLIPS, the 190-pound junior from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles who garnered extensive playing time for the Trojans in 1938 as the regular second team left guard.

1939 USC INTERIOR LINE – playing time (minutes)
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409:40 ……………. C – Ed DEMPSEY
352:20 ………….. RG – Ben SOHN
336:05 ………….. RT – Phil GASPAR
333:05 ………….. LG – Harry SMITH
332:50 ………….. LT – Howard STOECKER
290:15 ………….. LT – John THOMASSIN
231:00 ………….. LG – Floyd PHILLIPS
160:35 ……………. C – Charles MORRILL
157:55 ………….. RT – Bob DE LAUER
129:05 ………….. RG – Pete KALINICH

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Horrell’s UCLA Have No Secrecy

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Southern California Daily Trojan, December 6, 1939 … “FORMIDABLE TRIO – DON MACPHERSON, JIM MITCHELL and CHUCK CASCALES, left to right, three pass catching ends, are expected to play important roles in the Bruin air attack when the Westwooders meet the Trojans Saturday.” … MacPherson, the junior right end from Los Angeles who was an Honorable Mention All-Pacific Coast choice of both the Associated Press and United Press in 1939, scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 35-yard pass reception during UCLA’s 20-7 triumph over the University of California Golden Bears in early November … Mitchell, the senior right end from Fremont who earned three varsity letters for UCLA in his career, added the final points in the Bruins’ 24-7 win over the Washington State Cougars after catching a 15-yard pass from second-string left halfback Chuck Fenenbock late in the fourth quarter of the Thanksgiving evening contest at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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“HORRELL ORDERS SECRET SCRIMMAGE FOR BRUINS”

Los Angeles, December 5th (United Press) — The UCLA BRUINS, in line for a chance at the Rose Bowl (which would mark the Westwood school’s very first appearance in the annual gridiron game at Pasadena on New Year’s Day), went into heavy secret practice yesterday.

Coach BABE HORRELL was believed to have introduced several new plays centering around speedy JACKIE ROBINSON in an effort to spring him loose against the (cross-town rival USC) Trojans.

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Apparently exhausted by a stream of newspaper reports claiming that spies with binoculars were watching UCLA’s supposedly “closed” training sessions from the rooftops of houses neighboring the Westwood school’s practice facility, the Bruins’ first-year head coach Horrell decided to abandon his preference for secrecy and re-opened his drills to the public during the week leading up to the de facto Pacific Coast Conference title game in early December of 1939.

It was certainly no secret that, if UCLA wanted to play in the annual Rose Bowl Game for the very first time in school history, then the Bruins simply could not afford to post the same kind of offensive numbers against USC that it had put up against the formidable Trojans defense the season before.

Indeed, one year earlier, UCLA (6-4-1) managed just 64 yards worth of total offense while USC (8-2-0) were triumphantly marching off with the 1938 game to the merry tune of a 42-7 song. Indicative of the Trojans’ dominance at the line of scrimmage, the Bruins could only muster 36 yards rushing on 31 carries for a woeful average of 1.16 yards per attempt. UCLA fared little better through the air against USC and had almost as many passes intercepted (four) as it had pass completions (five).

Bruins star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON, the First Team All-Pacific Coast selection of both the Associated Press as well as the United Press in 1938 who had 573 yards rushing that season, was restricted to a paltry 15 yards rushing on as many carries by the rugged Trojan defenders; meanwhile, the trio of ineffective UCLA right halfbacks deployed (HAL HIRSHON, MERLE “Tex” HARRIS and DALE GILMORE) all lost ground, a combined total of 34 yards on five rushing attempts.

Clearly, the recruitment of JACKIE ROBINSON in 1939 was a game-changing event for the developing UCLA Bruins football program, particularly in relation to its cross-town rivalry with the budding arch-enemy USC Trojans. The highly touted Robinson, who had an impressive 1,093 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing the football in eleven games for Pasadena Junior College during the 1938 campaign, made a very smooth transition to the playing for UCLA at the highest collegiate level in the strong Pacific Coast Conference. At long last, the up and coming Bruins now had a second All-Pacific Coast caliber player in the offensive backfield alongside the ever-dangerous Washington who was capable of worrying defensive opponents.

In the end, Robinson’s most influential play of the entire 1939 UCLA vs USC contest came with the Bruins’ first-year speedster operating on the defensive side of the ball, but that would be another story.

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USC Prepares For UCLA, Recruits Trojan Track Stars To Football Practice

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UCLA Bruins right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON (# 28), the speedy transfer from Pasadena Junior College who was named Third Team All-Pacific Coast by the Associated Press as well as Honorable Mention All-America by both the Associated Press and NEA Sports Syndicate towards the end of his first season with the Westwood’s gridiron warriors, tries to turn the corner against the University of Washington defense during the Pacific Coast Conference game at Husky Stadium in Seattle on October 7, 1939.
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“S.C. SPRINT STARS IMITATE UCLAN BACK”

Los Angeles, December 5th (United Press) — Two of U.S.C.’s fastest dash stars, MICKEY ANDERSON and PAYTON JORDAN, reported for football practice today without a thought of getting into the season’s last game against U.C.L.A. Saturday.

Coach HOWARD JONES ordered the sprinters into moleskins in an effort to accustom his battered Trojans to the blinding speed of the Bruins’ JACKIE ROBINSON.

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In what had to be seen as a shrewd move by the experienced USC bench boss Jones, the two Trojan track stars turned out at the Bovard Field practice facility for an entire week in early December of 1939 to assist the scout team of the nation’s # 3 ranked college football team adequately simulate the sort of speed that could be expected from the backfield of the cross-town rival UCLA Bruins.

The standout USC track & field team were in the midst of an amazing nine-year run that would see the Trojans celebrate the NCAA national championship title every single season from 1935 thru 1943 while Anderson and Jordan had already comprised one-half of the Trojans relay team that had set a new world record for the 440-yard event at the annual West Coast Relays hosted by Fresno in the spring of 1938.

Jordan, who later went on to become the head coach of the United States track & field team at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, ran the 100-yard dash in the 9.7 range and was well qualified to mimic the UCLA right halfback Robinson carrying the ball on a reverse play around the left end or, perhaps, running a pass pattern downfield.

Anderson, meanwhile, needed no introduction to the rest of the USC football squad after having already earned two varsity letters playing football for the Trojans in 1937 and 1938. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder started one game at right halfback and scored two touchdowns on pass receptions as a sophomore for USC and then started one game at quarterback while adding two touchdowns rushing as a junior for the Trojans. Ironically enough, Anderson actually came out of the very same John Muir Technical High School in Pasadena that also produced the very same Jackie Robinson whom the versatile USC multi-sport athlete was now helping to imitate on the practice field.

Exactly like current USC second-string quarterback AMBROSE SCHINDLER, the Second Team All-Pacific Coast choice of both the Associated Press as well as the United Press in 1939, had done the year before, Anderson was sitting out the entire 1939 NCAA football season so that an injury might heal properly.

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USC Trojans quarterback MICKEY ANDERSON (# 25) effectively delivers a stiff arm to a would-be tackler from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the high-profile inter-regional contest played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in front of a then-West Coast record 101,000 spectators on December 3, 1938. First Team All-Pacific Coast pick Grenville Lansdell went out in the first quarter with a twisted ankle but was capably replaced by Anderson and senior Oliver Day, who tossed a second quarter touchdown pass to sure-handed sophomore left end Al Krueger. Anderson scored on a short run in the last quarter to complete USC’s stunning 13-0 victory over a Notre Dame side that had come into the game with an unblemished record (8-0-0) and the coveted # 1 ranking in the latest weekly poll from the Associated Press.

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1939 Associated Press All-Pacific Coast Team – Kenny Washington Corrals Most Votes

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UCLA star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON takes advantage of an excellent block thrown by Bruins left end WOODY STRODE (lower left) and cuts the ball upfield against the University of California Golden Bears during the Pacific Coast Conference meeting at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 4, 1939. In this contest, Washington rushed for 141 yards (6.4 avg) and one touchdown on a 35-yard dash while also throwing a pair of touchdown passes (one of which was caught by Strode) as UCLA triumphed 20-7 over its “Big Brothers To The North” from Berkeley. In the background to the left is UCLA right tackle MLADEN ZARUBICA (# 24), the homegrown three-year letterwinner from Hollywood who was named Second Team All-Pacific Coast by the Associated Press in 1938.
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Associated Press – San Francisco, December 8th, 1939
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“KENNY WASHINGTON, UCLA halfback whose phenomenal playing this season brought him the admiration of teammates and opponents alike, polled the largest number of votes to easily take first place in the Associated Press’ 15th annual All-Pacific Coast eleven.

Washington, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder, received 46 first place votes in the selection of the 1939 all-star team, a consensus of 63 of the West’s top coaches, game officials and sportswriters. He was also on the 1938 (AP All-Pacific Coast) eleven. HARRY SMITH, 211-pound Southern California guard, was second with 45 votes; he, too, was a member of the mythical 1938 squad.

The two (Washington and Smith) will meet Saturday in the U.C.L.A. – U.S.C. clash, which will probably determine the west’s Rose Bowl choice.”

1939 ASSOCIATED PRESS ALL-PACIFIC COAST
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First Team
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Center ……………………….. Johnny SCHIECHL, Santa Clara
Guard ………………………… Harry SMITH, USC
Guard ………………………… Eberle SCHULTZ, Oregon State
Tackle ……………………….. Jim STUART, Oregon
Tackle ……………………….. Lee ARTOE, California
End ……………………………. William ANAHU, Santa Clara
End ……………………………. Woody STRODE, UCLA
Quarterback ………………. Grenville LANSDELL, USC
Halfback ……………………. Kenny WASHINGTON, UCLA
Halfback ……………………. Dean MCADAMS, Washington
Fullback …………………….. Jim KISSELBURGH, Oregon State

Second Team
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Center ……………………….. Rudy MUCHA, Washington
Guard ………………………… Jack SOMMERS, UCLA
Guard ………………………… Leonard YOUNCE, Oregon State
Tackle ……………………….. Phil GASPAR, USC
Tackle ……………………….. Stan ANDERSON, Stanford
End ……………………………. Al KRUEGER, USC
End ……………………………. Bill FISK, USC
Quarterback ………………. Ambrose SCHINDLER, USC
Halfback ……………………. Jay GRAYBEAL, Oregon
Halfback ……………………. Bob HOFFMAN, USC
Fullback …………………….. Norm STANDLEE, Stanford

Third Team
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Center ……………………….. Ed DEMPSEY, USC
Guard ………………………… Ben SOHN, USC
Guard ………………………… John FRAWLEY, UCLA
Tackle ……………………….. Howard STOECKER, USC
Tackle ……………………….. Nick STUBLER, Santa Clara
End ……………………………. Jay MACDOWELL, Washington
End ……………………………. Bob WINSLOW, USC
Quarterback ………………. Ray MCCARTHY, Santa Clara
Halfback ……………………. Jim JOHNSON, Santa Clara
Halfback ……………………. Jackie ROBINSON, UCLA
Fullback …………………….. Art ZIMMERMAN, San Jose State

Honorable Mention *
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Guard ………………………… Floyd PHILLIPS, USC
Guard ………………………… Dick KYZIVAT, UCLA
Tackle ……………………….. Mladen ZARUBICA, UCLA
Tackle ……………………….. Bob DE LAUER, USC
Tackle ……………………….. John THOMASSIN, USC
End ……………………………. Don MACPHERSON, UCLA
End ……………………………. John STONEBRAKER, USC
Quarterback ………………. Ned MATTHEWS, UCLA
Quarterback ………………. Doyle NAVE, USC
Fullback …………………….. Bob PEOPLES, USC

* Note — only UCLA and USC players listed

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1939 United Press All-Pacific Coast Team – Kenny Washington Considered Outstanding Back

James A. Sullivan, United Press – San Francisco, December 5th, 1939
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“The sports editors and writers of United Press newspapers in the Far West today present their Pacific Coast all-star football team in 1939. One of the strongest teams ever chosen by the annual poll, it offers eleven players whose work this year gained not only sectional but national recognition. Six teams are represented on the first squad, with the UNIVERSITY of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, considered the strongest team on the Coast, winning three places; SANTA CLARA, king of independents, and OREGON STATE, beaten only by U.S.C. this year, getting two each; OREGON, a team that started fast and then slumped, placing two; and U.C.L.A., which plays U.S.C. for the conference title Saturday, and the UNIVERSITY of WASHINGTON getting one each.

(UCLA left halfback KENNY) WASHINGTON was considered the outstanding back and (USC guard HARRY) SMITH the best lineman. The vote for Washington at halfback, (USC’s GRENVILLE) LANSDELL, (SANTA CLARA’s JOHNNY) SCHIECHL at center and Smith for one guard post was almost unanimous. (SANTA CLARA’s WILLIAM) ANAHU was considered the leading end; (OREGON’s JIM) STUART the best tackle.”

1939 UNITED PRESS ALL-PACIFIC COAST
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First Team
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Center ……………………….. Johnny SCHIECHL, Santa Clara
Guard ………………………… Harry SMITH, USC
Guard ………………………… Eberle SCHULTZ, Oregon State
Tackle ……………………….. Jim STUART, Oregon
Tackle ……………………….. Phil GASPAR, USC
End ……………………………. William ANAHU, Santa Clara
End ……………………………. Jay MACDOWELL, Washington
Quarterback ………………. Grenville LANSDELL, USC
Halfback ……………………. Kenny WASHINGTON, UCLA
Halfback ……………………. Jay GRAYBEAL, Oregon
Fullback …………………….. Jim KISSELBURGH, Oregon State

Second Team
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Center ……………………….. Rudy MUCHA, Washington
Guard ………………………… Jack SOMMERS, UCLA
Guard ………………………… Leonard YOUNCE, Oregon State
Tackle ……………………….. Lee ARTOE, California
Tackle ……………………….. Howard STOECKER, USC
End ……………………………. Al KRUEGER, USC
End ……………………………. Vic REGINATO, Oregon
Quarterback ………………. Ambrose SCHINDLER, USC
Halfback ……………………. Dean MCADAMS, Washington
Halfback ……………………. Jim JOHNSON, Santa Clara
Fullback …………………….. Art ZIMMERMAN, San Jose State

Honorable Mention *
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Center ……………………….. Ed DEMPSEY, USC
Guard ………………………… Ben SOHN, USC
Guard ………………………… John FRAWLEY, UCLA
Tackle ……………………….. Mladen ZARUBICA, UCLA
Tackle ……………………….. Del LYMAN, UCLA
End ……………………………. Woody STRODE, UCLA
End ……………………………. Bill FISK, USC
End ……………………………. Bob WINSLOW, USC
End ……………………………. Don MACPHERSON, UCLA
Halfback ……………………. Jackie ROBINSON, UCLA
Halfback ……………………. Bob HOFFMAN, USC
Fullback …………………….. Bob PEOPLES, USC

* Note — only UCLA and USC players listed here

“For the other positions, the race for the first (& second teams) was close … Strode, Winslow and Fisk drew heavy votes for the end posts … (Oregon State’s Vic) Sears; (Stanford’s Stan) Anderson and (Santa Clara’s Nick) Stubler for tackles; (Stanford fullback Norm) Standlee, Hoffman, (Tony) Canadeo of Gonzaga and (Jackie) Robinson of U.C.L.A. for backfield posts.”

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Kenny vs Grenny Highlights Historic 1939 UCLA vs USC Clash

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(Associated Press photo – The Milwaukee Journal, December 10, 1939) …… USC Trojans star quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL (center clutching football) is tackled after a short gain by UCLA fullback / linebacker BILL OVERLIN as the Bruins’ consensus All-America left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON (# 13) arrives on the scene during the titanic Pacifc Coast Conference clash witnessed by the sellout crowd of 103,300 spectators at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on the second Saturday of December in 1939.
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During the week leading up to historic UCLA BRUINS vs USC TROJANS contest in early December of 1939, there certainly was no shortage of storylines for the contemporary sports writers to expand upon in all the various newspapers. The Trojans’ irresistible strength at the line of scrimmage would be forced reckon with the Bruins’ blinding speed in the backfield. The staying power of UCLA’s top shelf players would be severely tested by USC’s tremendous overall depth in this pre-World War II era of limited substitution.

Perhaps the most intriguing match-up of the landmark UCLA vs USC game was that of the two field generals for the respective sides, Bruins left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON and Trojans quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL, each of whom had already been named First Team All-Pacific Coast in both 1938 as well as in 1939.

Although Lansdell was always listed as a quarterback in accordance with the Trojans’ offensive terminology, the simple fact was this position, that of the team’s primary ball-handler on virtually every play, was the equivalent of the UCLA left halfback in USC’s version of the standard Carlisle Single Wing formation. Therefore, it is extremely relevant to directly compare the offensive statistics of Lansdell with those of his counterpart for the Bruins, the prolific Washington. Over the course of their respective three-year collegiate careers, both Los Angeles-based ball-handlers amassed impressive rushing and passing statistics that consistently ranked Lansdell and Washington among the best of all other backfield players in the country.

career rushing (1937-1939)
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1,915 yards … 4.2 avg … 14 tds … Kenny WASHINGTON, UCLA
1,621 yards … 4.6 avg … 18 tds … Grenville LANSDELL, USC

It is fair to point out that Lansdell carried the ball from scrimmage roughly one hundred times less than Washington during his three seasons because it was routine practice for USC head coach HOWARD JONES to regularly rotate three and sometimes four quarterbacks in any given game in order to thoroughly wear opponents down. But, by the very same token, it is also important to note that, by playing far fewer minutes per game than the “Kingfish” (and, thus, not having to expend as much energy chasing and tackling runners on defense), “Grenny” had the distinct advantage being able to carry the football with far fresher legs as a result of having chances to rest on the sidelines over the course of any given contest. Perhaps even more pertinent, as well, is the fact that, with Trojans such as two-time All-America guard HARRY SMITH and a host of other All-Pacific Coast caliber linemen constantly on hand to open holes, Lansdell clearly benefited from higher quality blocking over the course of his collegiate career than did UCLA’s Washington.

career passing (1937-1939)
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1,268 yards ….. 92/228 att-comp … 14 tds … Kenny WASHINGTON, UCLA
1,247 yards … 114/260 att-comp ….. 8 tds … Grenville LANSDELL, USC

Even before having played his first collegiate game for UCLA as a sophomore in 1937, Kenny Washington had been advertised as a rocket-armed passer and the product of Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles did not disappoint. Kingfish cemented that reputation in the last game of his sophomore campaign by throwing two long touchdown passes to right halfback HAL HIRSHON in the fourth quarter of the Bruins’ intra-city battle with USC that year. The second of those spectacular scoring strikes to Hirshon was a Herculean heave that traveled 62 yards in the air — this was thought to be the eighth-longest forward pass completion in collegiate football history up to that point in time.

As a senior in 1939, Washington connected with first-year UCLA right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON for another memorable long-distance touchdown toss in the Bruins’ fifth game of the season against the Oregon Ducks. The so-called “Miracle Eye” camera photos documented that, this time, Washington’s pass went 52 yards in the air before being hauled in by the speedy Robinson. Twenty years later, in a speech given to the Football Writers Association in Chicago just before the beginning of the 1959 NCAA campaign, United State Vice President RICHARD M. NIXON stated that this particular Washington-to-Robinson touchdown was “the best executed play I ever saw.”

Indicative of his tendency to throw the ball downfield, Washington’s favorite target all throughout his career was big WOODY STRODE, the reliable left end named honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press in both 1938 and 1939 who averaged an impressive 27.0 yards on five touchdown receptions during his three varsity seasons for UCLA.

In direct contrast to his Westwood counterpart, Grenny Lansdell was very much a short to medium range passer who often targeted one of his three backfield mates in the flat. Although Lansdell led USC in passing yards for three consecutive seasons from 1937 thru 1939, it was always teammate DOYLE NAVE who was actually considered to be the Trojans’ best throwing quarterback during this same time period. Nave, who came off the bench late in the fourth quarter of the 1939 Rose Bowl Game and produced the touchdown pass which defeated unbeaten and untied Duke University, would be the sixth overall player chosen when picked by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 1940 National Football League Draft — Lansdell was tenth player selected when tabbed by the New York Giants.

Very much a reflection of Lansdell’s passing tendencies was the fact that it was a backfield player who paced USC in receptions during each of his three seasons :

1937 … 10 rec … 125 yrd … 12.5 avg … FB – Bill SANGSTER
1938 … 11 rec … 112 yrd … 10.2 avg … HB – Bob HOFFMAN
1939 … 16 rec … 128 yrd ….. 8.0 avg … FB – Bob PEOPLES

One very positive by-product of this less dramatic passing style was that the Pasadena Junior College transfer who was a Second Team All-America selection of both the United Press and the NEA Sports Syndicate in 1938 just did not turn the football over very often. Indeed, the would-be USC Hall of Fame inductee tossed only 12 interceptions in 260 career pass attempts (4.62%) and had a noticeably lower percentage than Washington’s (10.96%). Lansdell did have two passes picked off by the Blue Devils in the 1939 Rose Bowl Game that the Trojans rallied to win 7-3 on the strength of four straight pass completions from Nave, the seldom-used junior who was the fourth different USC quarterback to be sent in against Duke.

Although a competent safety in USC’s 6-2-2-1 defensive formation, Lansdell was nowhere close to being the dominant force on the other side of the football that Washington was. The tireless Bruins star thought absolutely nothing of playing the full 60 minutes and was consistently cited by the contemporary press for being involved on a great number of tackles game in and game out. As events ultimately unfolded in the 1939 UCLA vs USC contest, Washington intercepted a long pass downfield by Lansdell on the Bruins 10-yard line to kill a Trojans threat in the first quarter.

Of course, the two seniors, Lansdell and Washington, were going head to head for third time in their respective collegiate careers when the # 3 ranked Trojans and # 9 ranked Bruins met at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to decide which of the two unbeaten teams would be appearing at the 1940 Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena. Lansdell had run for two touchdowns and passed for another when USC were barely able to fend off late-charging UCLA 19-13 in 1937. A year later, Washington connected with Strode for a touchdown to give the Bruins an early lead in the first quarter but an second quarter interception returned 52 yards for six points by second-string left end AL KRUEGER (the very same player who went on to catch the winning touchdown pass in the 1939 Rose Bowl Game) sparked the Trojans to a runaway 42-7 triumph.

Even before UCLA and USC squared off in 1939, the sportswriters who comprised the ‘national media’ and other fooball experts on who sat on the selection committees had, for the most part, made up their collective minds on the question of who had been the more influential player that season, Kenny Washington or Grenny Lansdell.

Five major organizations (the International News Service, the United Press, The Sun newspaper of New York, NEA Sports Syndicate and Collier’s magazine) had already announced their choices for their respective All-America teams. The All-America selections of two more highly respected entities (the Associated Press and Newsweek magazine) appeared in the local newspapers across the country on the same day that the Bruins collided with the Trojans. And the overall results were unmistakably clear.

The clearly underrated Washington was honored as Second Team All-America by every major organization listed above with the exception of Collier’s magazine, who traditionally named a single squad of eleven players, whereas, by comparison, Lansdell was ‘only’ cited on the Second Team of Newsweek and the Third Team of the Associated Press.

(One day after the monster UCLA – USC clash in front of a record-breaking number of spectators, Lansdell was lauded as First Team All-America by the Central Press Association in a poll of more than sixty captains of major college football teams; Washington was a Third Team nominee).

The obvious question of why UCLA’s Kenny Washington, who led the entire nation in total offense with 1,371 rushing & passing yards, was not named First Team All-America in 1939 by at least one major organization will be addressed by this blog soon enough.

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UCLA vs USC – The Battles For The Rose Bowl

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Under pressure from USC Trojans defensive tackle GARY JETER (# 79), the promising freshman from Cleveland who became a three-time All-Pac Eight selection as well as an First Team All-America choice, savvy UCLA Bruins quarterback JOHN SCIARRA (# 15), the homegrown sophomore from La Puente who developed into a consensus First Team All-America pick as a senior two years later, unloads the football fast during the annual collision of fierce intra-city foes at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 1973.
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To a youngster growing up in the 1970s, it seemed as if every year saw those two famous Los Angeles intra-city rivals, the UCLA BRUINS and USC TROJANS, battling it out in the final conference game of the season for the right to play in the prestigious Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena. In fact, for no fewer than eight straight years starting in 1972, it was, indeed, the winner of the UCLA – USC contest who would be formally crowned as conference champions. As it was, this particular stretch culminated an amazing eighteen-year span that witnessed the annual Bruins versus Trojans clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum decide which of the two schools would be that season’s Rose Bowl participant no less than a baker’s dozen times.

Altogether, there have been a total of 22 games over the years which have seen the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans settle the conference championship exclusively between themselves. The Bruins were ineligible to play in the 1955 Rose Bowl Game on account of the so-called “No Repeat Rule” but still stomped the Trojans to win the Pacific Coast Conference title that season anyway. In 1966, USC actually lost to UCLA but afterwards were still tapped to be the Rose Bowl participant by the all-powerful athletic directors representing the member schools of the Athletic Association of Western Universities, nevertheless.

More than half of these remarkable Rose Bowl battles between the Bruins and the Trojans were actually decided by a margin of seven points or less (i.e., one touchdown). Furthermore, roughly one-third of said games were actually settled by three points or fewer (i.e., a field goal). Such competitive scorelines serve not only as testament to the overall drama of these epic UCLA – USC engagements but also to the enormous quality of the two programs involved, as well.

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Considered by all knowledgeable people to be one of the most spectacular college football games ever played throughout the course of the entire 20th Century, the 1967 UCLA Bruins – USC Trojans contest featured not one but two eventual Heisman Trophy winners trotting around on the same turf. UCLA senior quarterback GARY BEBAN (# 16) was limited by badly bruised ribs but still managed to pass for 301 yards against the Trojans and would soon be accepting the coveted award given annually to the nation’s very best player. USC junior tailback O.J. SIMPSON (# 32), the 1968 Heisman Trophy recipient, rushed for 177 yards (5.9 avg) and two touchdowns against the Bruins with his game-winning 64-yard scoring jaunt in the fourth quarter still widely considered to be one of the most sensational plays from scrimmage of all time.
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As is well-known, things began to change radically when the Bowl Championship Series was created in 1998. This meant that, in certain years, Pasadena would not be hosting the Pac-10 champion automatically, as had been the case before. And then, of course, the premier West Coast conference expanded to twelve teams while simultaneously restructuring itself to include two divisions in 2011; with the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans now both in the same South Division, the possibility of another true “Battle For The Rose Bowl” featuring the two schools separated by a distance of only twelve miles is unequivocally non-existent.

And that is most unfortunate, if only in the opinion of this blog.

UCLA vs USC – “BATTLES FOR THE ROSE BOWL”
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1939 ……….. 0-0 ……….. tie
1942 ……… 14-7 ……….. UCLA Bruins
1946 ……… 13-6 ……….. UCLA Bruins
1952 ……… 14-12 ……… USC Trojans
1953 ……… 13-0 ……….. UCLA Bruins
1954 ……… 34-0 ………. UCLA Bruins … (a)
1962 ……… 10-7 ……….. UCLA Bruins
1965 ……… 20-16 ……… UCLA Bruins
1966 ……… 14-7 ……….. UCLA Bruins … (b)
1967 ……… 21-20 ……… USC Trojans
1969 ……… 14-12 ……… USC Trojans
1972 ……… 24-7 ……….. USC Trojans
1973 ……… 23-13 ……… USC Trojans
1974 ……… 34-9 ………. USC Trojans
1975 ……… 25-22 ……… UCLA Bruins
1976 ……… 24-14 ……… USC Trojans
1977 ……… 29-27 ……… USC Trojans
1978 ……… 17-10 ……… USC Trojans
1979 ……… 49-14 ……… USC Trojans
1987 ……… 17-13 ………. USC Trojans
1988 ……… 31-22 ………. USC Trojans
1993 ……… 27-21 ………. UCLA Bruins

(a) the UCLA Bruins finished with a perfect 9-0-0 record and were ranked # 2 in that nation according to the final Associated Press poll in 1954

(b) the UCLA Bruins finished with a record of 9-1-0 and were ranked # 5 in the nation according to the final Associated Press poll in 1966 but, in stunning fashion, were passed over in favor of the unranked USC Trojans, who ended their regular season with a 7-3-0 slate.

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Be it Bruins passer GARY BEBAN versus Trojans runner O.J. SIMPSON, UCLA linebacker JERRY ROBINSON & safety KENNY EASLEY against USC tailback CHARLES WHITE or, perhaps, Bruins quarterback TROY AIKMAN dueling with Trojans signal-caller RODNEY PEETE. The roll call of mouth-watering individual match-ups that were an integral component of the classic UCLA Bruins vs USC Trojans “Battles For The Rose Bowl” throughout the years is certainly as long as it is impressive. Appropriately enough, this most noteworthy tradition of genuine gridiron excellence going head-to-head on the grass at the venerable Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum began with the very first of these titanic intra-city tilts back in 1939, when UCLA star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON, the consensus All-America selection who led the entire country with 1,371 yards of total offense (812 rush, 559 pass) that year, crossed paths with talented USC quarterback GRENNY LANSDELL, the two-time All-Pacific Coast choice who finished with 1,221 yards of total offense (742 rush, 479 pass) that season and was tabbed in the first round of the 1940 National Football League Draft by the New York Giants.

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