Bobby Robertson, Member Of USC's 1939 National Football Champs, Dies

Jan. 23, 2009

Bobby Robertson, a member of USC's 1939 national championship football team whose touchdown-saving pass deflection late in that season's UCLA game helped send the Trojans to the Rose Bowl, died on Jan. 17 in Santa Cruz, Calif., of natural causes. He was 91.

Robertson lettered 3 seasons (1939-41) as a back for USC. He led the Trojans in rushing, total offense and scoring in both 1940 and 1941, and in passing in 1941. In his career, he rushed for 100 yards in a game 3 times, including getting 179 yards against UCLA in 1940.

On defense, he set a still-standing USC season record with 9 interceptions in 1941. His 14 career interceptions are tied with Ronnie Lott for fourth on the all-time USC list.

In the 1939 USC-UCLA game, Robertson knocked down the Bruins' short fourth-down pass in the end zone with less than 5 minutes to play to preserve a 0-0 tie. That tie sent the Trojans to the Rose Bowl, where they defeated Tennessee, 14-0, scoring the only points on the Volunteers all season and ending their 23-game winning streak. Troy finished 8-0-2 that season and was chosen as the national champion.

Robertson was named All-Pacific Coast Conference first team and USC's Most Inspirational Player as a senior in 1941, and was selected to play in the College All-Star Game and East-West Shrine Game. He then was a first round draft pick of the NFL's Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942, and played that season with them.

He went in the Navy in World War II, then returned for a season of semi-pro football with the Los Angeles Bulldogs before beginning a career as an insurance executive.

He is survived by his daughter Jamie and son Jon, plus 3 grandchildren.

Funeral services for Robertson are private. The family requests that donations be made in his name to the USC Athletic Department.

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