Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The East Coast Rose Bowl

Duke Stadium, Jan. 1, 1942
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 disrupted every aspect of life in the United States and the Rose Bowl was certainly no exception. In late November, Duke's undefeated and untied squad  - led by former Alabama coach Wallace Wade - had been tapped to play Oregon State in the New Year's Day contest but with the country's entry into World War II, the fate of the game was in doubt.

The destruction of the Pacific outpost was followed by concerns of a follow-up attack somewhere on the West Coast. The US government prohibited larger gatherings on the Pacific seaboard and, in response, officials at Duke University offered to host the game in Durham, North Carolina.

The capacity of Duke Stadium was expanded almost 60 percent using bleachers on loan from the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State. Despite the cold and rainy weather, more than 55,000 fans packed into the venue to watch the Oregon State Beavers  upset the Blue Devils 20-16.