Fans of the football teams at the major North Carolina universities may be scratching their heads in search of a connection between this state and tonight’s Rose Bowl game. Indeed, it’s been a while since a team from the Tar Heel state traveled to Pasadena: the last was Duke, who lost 7-3 to USC in the 1939 Rose Bowl. But the Blue Devils are able to claim an even more significant connection to the game. Duke had already accepted an invitation to face Oregon State in the 1942 Rose Bowl when the attacks on Pearl Harbor shook the nation. Determined to go ahead with the game, but wary of holding it on the west coast, the game’s organizers decided to relocate to Durham. The Durham Rose Bowl was held on January 1, 1942. Despite the home field advantage, Duke lost to the visiting Beavers by a score of 20-16.
The Duke University Archives has the story of the Durham Rose Bowl, with game photographs, on its website.