Star running back Charles White helped lead Southern Cal to victory. By the finish, White had accrued 99 yards and a controversial touchdown. In the second quarter, USC had the ball on the Wolverines' three-yard line. White plunged into the end zone for a touchdown. Or did he? Replays would later show he didn't have the ball, which had ended up in the hands of a Michigan defender. White and Michigan quarterback Rick Leach shared player of the game honors, as Leach was almost able to lead the Big Blue back with a 44 yard touchdown strike to Roosevelt Smith in the third quarter. In the end, however, the '79 Rose Bowl proved to be a predominately defensive battle between two of college football's most storied institutions.