Former USC wide receiver Sam Dickerson, whose 32- yard touchdown catch at the 1969 UCLA game sent the Trojans to their fourth consecutive Rose Bowl, died of cancer at the age of 66, the university announced Tuesday.
The northwest corner of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum end zone where Dickerson made his historic catch with 1:32 on the game clock, giving the Trojans a 14-12 victory over their crosstown rivals, became known as “Sam’s Corner.”
On the play before his game-winning catch, a pass interference penalty was called against the Bruin defender guarding Dickerson on a fourth down pass from quarterback Jimmy Jones.
The Trojans went on to finish the season with a 10-3 win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl, and Dickerson ended his junior season with 24 catches for 473 yards and six touchdowns.
Dickerson died on Dec. 23 in Modesto, according to Tim Tessalone, a spokesman for USC’s sports information office. A celebration of his life will be held at noon on Jan. 5 at the Grand Ballroom at Wine and Roses in Lodi.
Dickerson was a star athlete at Franklin High School in Stockton before attending USC, and was a third round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1971 NFL draft.
He had a brief career in the NFL and the World Football League, then became a parks and recreation supervisor in Modesto for 32 years.
He was inducted into the African American Athletes Hall of Fame of Stockton in 1990 and the Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Dickerson is survived by his mother, Charlie Mae Dickerson; his sister, Robbie Sue Dickerson; a brother, Charles Dickerson; his daughters TaMiya Dickerson Stallworth and Ta Neesha Dickerson; and eight grandchildren.
—Staff and wire reports