March 28, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Dave Leggett, the Most Valuable Player in the 1955 Rose Bowl win over Southern California that clinched an Ohio State national championship, died Tuesday at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo., after a long illness.
Leggett lettered for coach Woody Hayes and the Buckeyes in 1952, 1953 and 1954. In his final game he rushed for 67 yards and completed 6 of 11 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown, a 21-yarder to Bobby Watkins to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead over the Trojans. Leggett had recovered a USC fumble to set up the score. He had staked the Buckeyes to a 7-0 lead earlier in the second quarter, scoring on a 3-yard run.
Ohio State still led, 14-7, in the fourth quarter when Leggett led a 77-yard drive for the game-winning touchdown that capped the 10-0 season and Hayes' first national championship. According to "The Official Ohio State Football Encyclopedia," Leggett was awarded MVP honors in part for "handling the ball 80 times in the rain and mud without a fumble."
Leggett engineered a legendary drive in the final game of the regular season that year as well. Tied 7-all in the fourth quarter against Michigan, Leggett directed a drive "just six inches short of 100 yards" after the Buckeyes had stopped Michigan with a memorable goal line stand. Leggett's touchdown pass to Dick Brubaker was the go-ahead score with Hopalong Cassady's touchdown in the final seconds the clincher.
After graduating from Ohio State in 1955 with a degree in business, Leggett played briefly for the Chicago Cardinals before getting called into the military (he was in ROTC at Ohio State). He spent two years in the Air Force and then played football in the Canadian Football League.
He then rejoined the Air Force for a time, and after a three-year military stint in Germany, returned to the United States and spent most of his professional life working in the investment and financial planning business.
Leggett was born in 1933 and, according to his son Scott Leggett, was 79 when he passed away.
Note: Plain Dealer reporter Doug Lesmerises interviewed Leggett in 2009 and wrote this article: Leggett.