The temperature was in the 90s, a benign sun shone down from a cloudless sky and the field, which hadn't been rained on in six months, was fast and ready. It was altogether a remarkable day in Los Angeles for a football game. The California-UCLA contest only superficially resembled one.
The score was UCLA 47, California 0. It was such a rout that Harvey Knox, the State of California's most famous football father, announced after the game that Cal had fielded "a bunch of Rinky Dinks."
It was certainly one of the worst California teams anybody ever saw. The score was 7-0 almost before the officials had time to throw the kickoff tee off the playing field. Cal got the ball to start, but UCLA took it away from them on the very first play on a pass interception. From there UCLA virtually walked the ball into the end zone in six plays.
Ronnie Knox took over as the first quarter ended and when he was smeared on his first play, the dramatists in the press box sat up and hoped maybe Cal would be fired up enough to try to demolish at least this turncoat who had played frosh football with them before defecting to the enemy. But Knox coolly crashed for 12 yards on the next play and, before the day was over, had scored two touchdowns, completed six of 10 passes for 80 yards and run for 24 more.
November 7, 1955
"One of these days," said California Coach Lynn Waldorf afterward, "we got to get back into this conference.... UCLA and USC are so much stronger than anybody else in the league, it's pretty much a two-team show."
This year a surprising Washington managed to startle the country by walloping Minnesota 30-0 and edging Southern Cal in the mud 7-0. But Saturday the Huskies lost to Oregon State by a score of 13-7 and must still play UCLA on November 12 in Los Angeles. As Pappy Waldorf said, the conference is a two-team league and its championship will be decided November 19 between USC and UCLA.
They are both good football teams and both might be undefeated if the sun always shone elsewhere as it does in their homeland. UCLA, with Knox and Tailback Sam Brown and two outstanding fullbacks in Bob Davenport and Doug Peters, has lost only to Maryland 7-0 in the rain. USC, with more depth and more speed and one of the country's finest backs in Jon Arnett, has been erratic—and doesn't like bad weather either. After beating a very good Big Ten team, Wisconsin, 33-21 two weeks ago, the Trojans lost to a less impressive one, Minnesota, by a 25-19 score in a snowstorm which swept across Minneapolis on Saturday.
The Trojans can't play in the Rose Bowl this year, anyway, since they represented the conference there last season. So the question appears to be not whether UCLA can beat USC November 19 but whether UCLA can beat Michigan or Michigan State in the Rose Bowl January 2.
Ripping off 19 yards around right end behind the blocking of teammate Doug Peters, UCLA Tailback Sam Brown showed downtrodden California early in the first quarter one of the big reasons why the Bruins are among the nation's best—and remain top-rated on the West Coast.