As part of an ongoing series throughout the fall, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame posts This Week in College Football History, which takes a look back at some of college football’s landmark moments over the last 146 years. RoadTripSports and College Football America is proud to present this year’s release in its entirety, courtesy of the National Football Foundation.
Sept. 21, 1968
No. 4 Texas tied No. 11 Houston, 20-20
College Football Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal and his Texas Longhorns debuted the Wishbone offense in a 20-20 draw with Hall of Fame coach Bill Yeoman’s Houston Cougars. Cougars fullback Paul Gipson scored three touchdowns, but the Houston offense botched two opportunities late in the game. Kicker Jerry Leiwecke missed a chip shot field goal with 10 minutes remaining, and the Cougars failed to score after making it to the Texas one-yard line with 3:34 left. Longhorns’ Hall of Fame tailback Chris Gilbert matched Gipson’s impressive rushing performance with touchdown runs of 57 and eight yards. Texas also missed an opportunity to win the game when the winning PAT was missed after Ted Koy’s fourth-quarter touchdown. Houston would finish 18th with a record of 6-2-2. The Wishbone helped Texas average an impressive 37.4 points per game and finish the season third in the final AP poll with a 9-1-1 record after beating Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl. The offensive formation would be key in the Longhorns’ three-year, 30-game win streak and back-to-back national championships in 1969 and 1970.
OTHER NOTABLE MOMENTS
Sept. 15, 1973
No. 11 Oklahoma def. Baylor, 42-14
College Football Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer began his legendary career at Oklahoma with a 42-14 win over fellow Hall of Fame coach Grant Teaff’s Baylor Bears. Hall of Fame tailback Joe Washington rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns, leading a Sooners offense that gained 480 yards on the ground and scored five touchdowns in the first half. Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns of his own to help put the Bears away. Oklahoma’s defense forced five turnovers behind the leadership of Hall of Fame defensive tackle and 1975 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Lee Roy Selmon and his brothers Dewey and Lucious. Oklahoma would finish the season third in the AP poll with a 10-0-1 record, setting up back-to-back national-title seasons in 1974 and 1975.
Sept. 16, 1967
No. 8 UCLA def. No. 9 Tennessee, 20-16
In a matchup of College Football Hall of Fame coaches, Tommy Prothro’s No. 8 UCLA Bruins beat Doug Dickey’s No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers, 20-16, behind the fourth quarter heroics of College Football Hall of Famer and 1967 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Gary Beban. Tennessee got off to an early 7-0 lead after recovering a UCLA fumble on the opening kickoff that resulted in a touchdown run by Vol tailback Charles Fulton. With the Bruins pinned at their own 11-yard line in the third quarter, Tennessee linebacker and future Hall of Fame inductee Steve Kiner forced another fumble with a big hit on UCLA fullback Rick Purdy, which led to a touchdown to give the Vols a 13-3 lead. Down 16-13 late in the fourth quarter, UCLA faced a vital fourth-and-two in Tennessee territory when Beban, the winner of the 1967 Heisman Trophy, pulled off another great play, rolling right and breaking through tackles for a game-winning 27-yard touchdown run. UCLA would finish the season 7-2-1, while Tennessee would finish 9-2 after losing to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Sept. 17, 1955
No. 10 Georgia Tech def. No. 9 Miami (Fla.), 14-6
In the first color football telecast by NBC, College Football Hall of Fame coach Bobby Dodd’s Yellow Jackets held off fellow Hall of Famer Andy Gustafson’s Hurricanes in a meeting of top 10 teams. The most memorable play came early in the game on a punt when Miami’s Joe Kohut hit Georgia Tech fullback Ken Owen even though Owen called for a fair catch. The Hurricanes stopped play as penalty flags were thrown, but Yellow Jacket halfback Paul Rotenberry grabbed the loose ball and ran it back 48 yards for a touchdown, becoming one of the few players to ever score on a fair catch. A touchdown by Hall of Fame fullback Don Bosseler pulled Miami within 7-6 in the third quarter, but Georgia Tech sealed its win when linebacker Jimmy Morris returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown in the game’s final minutes. Georgia Tech would finish the season 9-1-1 after defeating Pittsburgh in the Sugar Bowl, while Miami would finish 6-3.
Sept. 18, 1965
Georgia def. No. 5 Alabama, 18-17
College Football Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley, in just his second season as a head coach at Georgia, pulled off a stunning upset of defending national champion Alabama in 1965. The highlight of the first half was Georgia defensive tackle George Patton’s return of an interception for a 55-yard touchdown, giving the Bulldogs an early 10-0 lead. Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant’s favored Crimson Tide came back in the third quarter with a fumble recovery, which led to a touchdown. On the next possession, quarterback Steve Sloan ran in a touchdown to give Alabama a 17-10 edge going into the fourth quarter. On the Bulldogs’ next possession, quarterback Kirby Moore pitched it to end Pat Hodgson (whose knees were shown on the ground in postgame photos), who then lateraled to half back Bob Taylor for an untouched 73-yard touchdown run. Georgia’s two-point conversion wrapped up the shocking win. Despite the loss, Alabama would finish the season 9-1-1 and be crowned national champion by the AP, while Georgia would finish 6-4.
Sept. 19, 1992
No. 2 Washington def. No. 12 Nebraska, 29-14
Nebraska was looking for revenge after blowing a lead in the previous year’s meeting, but College Football Hall of Fame coach Don James and the defending national champion No. 2 Washington Huskies proved to be too much for the Cornhuskers. The Huskies defense was strong, finishing the game with three sacks, two recovered fumbles and an interception. Washington also registered a safety on defensive back Tommie Smith’s sack in the first quarter. Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne’s Huskers pulled within two points on Calvin Jones’ 73-yard touchdown run. However, the Huskies responded with two touchdowns within 42 seconds, including quarterback Billy Joe Hobert’s 29-yard pass to wide receiver Joe Kralik, following the Huskies’ interception of Nebraska quarterback Mike Grant. Washington would finish the season 9-3 in James’ final season as head coach. The future was bright for Nebraska, which also finished 9-3 after the emergence of Hall of Fame quarterback Tommie Frazier during the season.
September 20, 1969
Florida State def. Wichita State, 24-0
Torrential rains led to NCAA single-game records for fumbles in a game (27) and by a single team (17 by Wichita State). The game also resulted in an NCAA single-game record 17 fumbles lost, with the Seminoles losing seven and the Shockers coughing up 10. Florida State quarterback Bill Cappleman was undeterred by the downpour, completing eight of his first 11 passes for 125 yards and two scores and leading his Seminoles to a 17-0 lead at the half. Cappleman hit Tom Bailey for a 53-yard strike to open the scoring, and he tossed another touchdown pass to Don Pederson later on in the final quarter. Tides turned in the second half when Cappleman only completed four of his 16 attempts, but with the Shockers gaining just 77 yards of offense in the game, the Seminoles were able to pick up their first shutout in 18 games.
In the Sept. 8-14 edition of This Week in College Football History, the description of the Sept. 13, 1975, game between Wake Forest and North Carolina State mistakenly referred to Dave and Don Buckey as Dave and Don Buckley. The NFF regrets the error.