Will UCLA score?
Dec. 9, 1939: USC football head coach Howard Jones stands during game’s pivotal goal line stand by his defense. USC and UCLA were playing before 103,000 spectators at the Coliseum. Both teams were undefeated and the Rose Bowl bid was on the line.
Fifty-five minutes into the game, USC and UCLA were scoreless. Then starting at their own 20-yard line, a 13-play Bruin drive placed them first and goal at the USC three. Three running plays were stopped by the Trojans. The Bruins were now on the Troy five-yard line.
Los Angeles Times writer Paul Zimmerman the next day reported:
“It was the fourth down now, with 5 yards needed. The Bruins went into closed caucus and took a vote. Five said:
‘Let’s go for a place kick and three.’
Five others voted for a touchdown try and again it was up to this 175-pound junior (quarterback Ned Matthews), who was calling the signals.
And Ned called for a pass, although the ball rested squarely in front of the goal posts.
(Mathews called a play having halfback Kenny Washington passing the ball.)
Kenny fired a quick one at fast-traveling End Bob Macpherson in the end zone. But equally swift Bobby Robertson moved in to cover and slapped the ball into the sod with much vigor.
Ned had guessed wrong and that was the ball game.”
The game ended in a 0-0 tie.
This image by Los Angeles Times staff photographer Maurice Terrell won first place in Sports pictures in the California State News Photo Contest sponsored by the Associated Press. In announcing the winners, a Sept. 28, 1940, Los Angeles Times story reported:
“Terrell’s picture of Jones was snapped the instant the wrought up coach leaped to his feet to better see what had happened at the S.C. goal line, where the Bruins had just taken their fourth and final punch at the so-near, but yet so-far white chalk line….
….Terrell, assigned to make ‘sideline art,’ lay on the grass in front of the Trojan bench and focused on Coach Jones. At the moment the Bruins drove forward on the fourth down, only to lose their chance to humble the Trojans from across town, Terrell tripped the shutter.”
On the day following the USC-UCLA game, this photo was lead art on the Times Sports lead page.
USC received the 1940 Rose Bowl bid and beat Tennessee 14-0.
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