A pair of former Michigan Wolverines will be getting Super Bowl rings from the Kansas City Chiefs in defensive end Frank Clark and quarterback Chad Henne, but the program’s influence was larger than that during a key sequence of the game.
The Chiefs were facing a 4th and 1 situation early in the game and offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy and dialed up a play that Michigan, led by legendary head coach Fritz Crisler, ran in the 1948 Rose Bowl victory over USC.
Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy says he got this play design from watching this old Rose Bowl game. Michigan ran it over & over in a 49-0 win over USC pic.twitter.com/0uGYxxUnST— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) February 3, 2020
Chiefs running back Damien Williams would get it down to the one-yard line before Patrick Mahomes, the Super Bowl MVP, ran it in himself to finish off the drive and give us the game’s first touchdown.
Here’s what the Bentley Historical Library has on the 1948 Rose Bowl, which led to one of Michigan’s national championships in football and the last one they would win until 1997:
Led by All-Americans Bob Chappuis and Bump Elliott, Michigan led the nation in total offense (412.7 yards/game) and passing average (173.9 yards/game). Chappuis, runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting, was the Big Ten leader in total offense for the second straight year and Elliott, the team’s only two-way player, was named Most Valuable Player for Michigan and the Big Ten after leading the league in scoring.
When the Wolverines arrived in Pasadena, they were 15-point favorites and Crisler felt it was necessary to call a team meeting to stifle over-confidence. Ten minutes into the game, on Michigan’s second possession, Jack Weisenburger spun across the line from the one to cap an 11 play, 64 yard drive and initiate the day’s scoring. In the second quarter, Weisenburger gained another one-yard touchdown, and Chappuis jump-passed to Elliott from the 11 to give the Maize and Blue a 21-0 half-time lead.
In the second half, Weisenburger collected his third touchdown of the game and the Wolverines saw three td passes from three different passers, including tosses of 18 yards from Chappuis, 45 yards from Hank Fonde, and 29 yards from Howard Yerges as Michigan rolled to a 49-0 victory. The score, stood as USC’s largest margin of defeat until 1966. In the game, Michigan shattered nine Rose Bowl records and accumulated 491 yards to the Trojans’ 133. Jim Brieske’s record of seven PATs remains unbroken.
In a special Associated Press poll following the game, Michigan replaced Notre Dame as the 1947 National Champion by a 226 to 119 margin.
Kansas City would go on to win 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers after scoring 21 points in the final 6ish minutes of play.