AT PASADENA, CALIFORNIA...
This is an article from the Dec. 26, 1955 issue
RED SANDERS, coach of the year in 1954, has been at the business for 27 seasons, the last seven at UCLA. His Bruins have won three straight Pacific Coast Conference championships while piling up a 51-14-1 record.
SAM BROWN, BOB DAVENPORT, JIM BROWN (see opposite page).
BOB BERGDAHL (44), qb: Calls signals unless Knox is in game. Very good blocker, strong and aggressive, leads plays well. Outstanding linebacker.
JIM DECKER (30), rhb: UCLA's most underrated player. A good wingback, great blocker and receiver, tremendous on defense.
RONNIE KNOX (18), lhb: Forget Harvey; this boy is a great football player. Really outstanding passer and punter. Smart signal caller, does bang-up job on defense.
STEVE PALMER (53), c: One of country's best centers; big, strong, mean and a terrific linebacker. He has to be good to keep Jim Matheny (51) on bench.
HARDIMAN CURETON (60), lg: Made some All-Americas. Great on defense, hard charger. Pulls and leads plays on offense, a standout blocker but has only fair speed.
ROGER WHITE (78), lt: Quick and agile but not big for a tackle. Fair offensively and defensively, may be UCLA's weak spot.
GIL MORENO (71), rt: Roughest man in the lineup, he's big (226), fast and strong. Blocks hard, makes a lot of tackles.
JOHN HERMANN (83), le: Only average otherwise but a tremendous pass receiver. Very fast, tricky and can catch the ball.
ROMMIE LOUDD (82), re: No defensive giant, either, and may loaf at times, but a whale of an offensive end. Aggressive blocker, great receiver with speed.
DUFFY DAUGHERTY surprised even himself by ending up in a bowl game his second year as head coach. In 1954 Michigan State had a 3-6 record; this season the former Biggie Munn assistant lost only a single game.
EARL MORRALL, WALT KOWALCZYK, NORMAN MASTERS (see opposite page).
GERALD PLANUTIS (45), fb: Small (175) for a fullback but a solid, all-round football player. Sharp runner, good tackier.
CLARENCE PEAKS (26), lhb: Very fine offensive back; runs with speed and is an outstanding pass receiver. Only average blocker, sub par on defense.
GARY LOWE (20), fb: Bigger than Planutis at 190 and a good, versatile back. Also subs at half with Jerry Musetti (47).
JOE BADACZEWSKI (56), c: Shares job with John Matsko (49) and two are rated about equal. Both strong, Badaczewski better on offense, Matsko on defense.
DAN CURRIE (55), lg: Was considered best second stringer in Big Ten until star Embry Robinson (77) hurt; now a starter. Hits hard, good blocker, strong on defense.
CARL NYSTROM (68), rg: All-conference guard, fiery competitor, team captain and sparkplug. Quick and tough.
PAT BURKE (71), rt: Sophomore and a fine prospect but does only average job now. This may be weak spot with no adequate reserves available.
JOHN LEWIS (87), le: Above-average end; reasonably good on defense and very good on offense. Packs real speed and is favorite pass receiver. Stands 6 feet 4 inches.
DAVE KAISER (89), re: Soph, won starting job away from veteran Jim Hinesly (90). Good blocker and tackier, fair pass receiver. But Hinesly is very good receiver and may take over if State begins to throw.
Not ranked among the nation's leaders in any particular phase of play, the Bruins' strong point is their great balance: speed and power on the ground, a tremendous passing threat when Knox is in the game, a strong, quick-reacting defense. Like all Sanders teams, this is strictly a single-wingback outfit with emphasis on power into the line, an occasional sweep around end and little deception. Sam Brown, Davenport, Peters, Decker and subs Gerry McDougall (16), Doug Bradley (12) and Chuck Hollaway (31) are all very fine runners. If Knox's broken leg is ready, no one can ease up against the Uclan pass threat; he can throw and he has outstanding receivers. UCLA's only loss was by a touchdown to unbeaten Maryland and with Michigan State's great backfield on the same field, this may be the most exciting of the bowls; certainly all the ingredients for heavy fireworks are there. UCLA's defense has several weak spots (left tackle, both ends) but the others are outstanding and the linebacking is very good. A shortage of line reserves may hurt—a major factor in the loss to Maryland.
Like the battle in the Orange Bowl, the Rose Bowl shapes up as a game between two teams with strangely similar appearances. Both UCLA and the Spartans have versatile, well-balanced attacks and quick, sharp defenses without too much reserve strength in the line but above-average backfield depth. But there the resemblance ends: where both Oklahoma and Maryland stick to the split-T, UCLA is strictly a single-wing team and Duffy Daugherty's Spartans present the multiple offense—an effective mixture of straight T, winged T and single wing, each run with an unbalanced line. Michigan State has exceptional team speed; its backs are good runners, Morrall can throw and runs the team well. On defense they prefer the 5-4-2 but use the 6-3-2 as an alternate, always reacting quickly and pursuing strongly. The most amazing thing about this ball club is the way it has improved throughout the year: from mediocre preseason expectations it blossomed out against Notre Dame and just kept getting better. In the only loss, 14-7 to Michigan, State appeared to have much the better ball club.
NUMBERS TO WATCH
SAM BROWN, LHB
A great runner with speed, lots of deception, marvelous balance. Passes fair, good punter, kicks off deep. Good pass defender but does not like to tackle.
BOB DAVENPORT, FB
Runs like a bull and fights for every inch; only gang tackling will stop him. Tackles viciously, a great blocker. Sub Doug Peters (26) almost in the same class.
JIM BROWN, RG
Probably best of a great UCLA line. So consistently good, he never appears spectacular. Has speed, leads plays, blocks hard. Charges hard, great on defense.
EARL MORRALL, QB
All-America and the hub of State's sharp offense. Brilliant ball handler and signal caller, better than average passer, superior punter and can quick-kick from the T.
WALT KOWALCZYK, RHB
Only a soph, he's one of the best running backs in the country. Big (200) and fast, he packs tremendous power and a lethal stiff-arm. Ran at 6.7 average for season.
NORMAN MASTERS, LT
All-America, State's best lineman. Weighs 230 and hits fast, has tremendous power. Very aggressive and above average on offense, stands out even more defensively.