QB Pete Beathard (1961-1963)
USC may have one of the largest number of national titles in their trophy case, but the fact still remains that there have been a limited number of national title-winning quarterbacks in Trojan history. Pete Beathard achieved that status in 1962, but he never quite managed to get on the All-American radar.
Beathard’s career is interesting in that he split time with another quarterback, Bill Nelsen. Even so, he was voted to the all-conference team as a part-time starter in 1961. He was also the star passer on the Trojan’s national title winning team in 1962. He led the Trojans with 948 yards that season, tossing 10 interceptions with just one interception.
USC was undefeated as John McKay won his first ever national title and Beathard certainly did his part to ensure the trophy came to Troy. He completed four touchdowns in USC’s thrilling 42-37 victory over Wisconsin in the 1963 Rose Bowl. That record would earn him Player of the Game honors and a place in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
The trouble for Beathard in 1962, besides some injury problems which limited his production, was the presence of Oregon State Heisman winner Terry Baker, who pretty much ran away with All-American voting.
He would go on to lead USC in passing in 1963, but his output of five touchdowns and seven interceptions was a step back.
Beathard still ranks 25th on USC’s career total offense chart and was added to the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.