SI Vault
Frank Bianco
November 24, 1980
After Michigan routed Stanford 49-0 in 1902 to win the first Rose Bowl, Tournament of Roses promoters had to wait 14 years before finding another West Coast team willing to take on an Eastern opponent. There were other events during the hiatus—chariot racing, bronco-busting, egg-and-spoon racing—but no football game until unbeaten Washington State accepted the challenge in 1916.
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November 24, 1980

For Brown, The Wrong Shoe Was On The Foot In The '16 Rose Bowl Game

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"I met Walt Disney while playing in the pros," he says. "He told me he was at the game, and the sight of me jumping up and down from the bench had never left his mind. Years later he used the scene in a Mickey Mouse cartoon. It's the one in which Mickey's team plays these big lions, and Mickey keeps popping up from the bench and says, 'Put me in, please, Coach, put me in.' "

Besides being a premier runner, Pollard was one of the nation's most heralded defensive backs. For most of the game he played the right side, so as soon as he was benched, the Cougars stepped up their assault on that flank of the Brown defense. The result was a three-yard scoring run by Halfback R.R. Boone.

But even while Pollard had been playing, Washington State had been operating on the notion that the right side of the Bruin defense wasn't as strong as the left. Before the game, a member of the Brown entourage jokingly suggested to some Cougar players that 6'3", 225-pound Right Tackle Mark Farnum was the weak link of the defense. The humor was lost on the Cougars, who ran right at Farnum all day. "He took such a battering that after the game he was covered from neck to feet in blood," says Barry. "And because the blood had coagulated all over his body, he had to have his canvas uniform cut off."

Late in the fourth quarter, after State had scored again, a sympathetic locker-room man dug up an old pair of shoes fitted with rain cleats and took them out to the Brown bench. "They were way too big, but I strapped them on any which way," says Pollard. "I knew we couldn't change the outcome, but I wanted to show them what might have happened if things had been different."

On the final play of the game Purdy called a reverse with Fritz carrying. His oversized cleats spraying a wake of mud, Pollard picked up nine yards, which gave him 47 on the day, the lowest output of his college career.

Although Brown never scored—the game ended in a 14-0 Washington State victory—Pollard thinks that the reverse, along with the Bruins' determination in adversity, convinced the Tournament of Roses promoters to make the game an annual event. "The crowd loved the action," he says, "and the publicity we generated convinced the promoters there was money to be made in an annual East-West game."

The day also provided Pollard with a personal lesson. From then on, through another season of college ball and eight as a pro, he carried two pairs of cleats—one for dry turf, one for mud.

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