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.
Dec. 10, 1932
Southern California def. Notre Dame, 13-0
More than 100,000 fans packed the stands of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch College Hall of Fame Coach Howard Jones and USC win their 19th consecutive game, defeating Notre Dame 13-0. The Fighting Irish outgained the Trojans 217 yards to 130 and 12 first downs to four, but a crucial fumble and interception in the second half secured a USC win. College Football Hall of Famer Cotton Warburton started the Trojans’ first scoring drive of the game with a 37-yard punt return followed by a fake reverse for 22 yards. Quarterback Homer Griffith finished it off with a 32-yard touchdown pass to halfback Bob McNeish, earning the USC’s only completion of the game. In the third quarter Notre Dame lost a fumble at their 26, prepping USC for another touchdown drive. The win clinched an undefeated regular season and national title for the Trojans, who were captained by Hall of Fame tackle Tay Brown. They would go on to defeat Pittsburgh in the Rose Bowl 35-0 for their eighth shutout win of the season. Notre Dame finished No. 7 in the country with a 7-2 record.
OTHER NOTABLE MOMENTS
Dec. 8, 1990
Army def. Navy, 30-20
The United States Armed Forces involved in Operation Desert Shield paused to enjoy this hard-fought tilt between storied rivals. College Football Hall of Fame head coach Jim Young completed his 51-39-1 tenure at West Point with his fifth victory in eight seasons over the Midshipmen. Army quarterback Willie McMillian rushed for a career-high 195 yards, and his only pass completion came on a 35-yard touchdown strike to Myreon Williams; the score was Army’s first touchdown pass against Navy since 1971. After falling in a 17-0 hole, Navy rallied to within three as freshman fullback Brad Stramanak rumbled 45 yards to the end zone behind the blocking of guard Carl Voss, a 1991 NFF National Scholar-Athlete. However, the Midshipmen were no match for a Cadets defense led by 1994 National Scholar-Athlete and defensive back, Michael McElrath. Army finished the season 6-5, and Navy finished 5-6.
Dec. 9, 1961
New Mexico def. Western Michigan, 28-12
Aviation Bowl – Dayton, Ohio
In 1961, New Mexico embarked on what would be their most successful four-year run in school history, earning the Lobos their first postseason game since 1947 in the one-and-only Aviation Bowl. On the opening drive, New Mexico running back Bobby Morgan broke off a 35-yard run to the Bronco two-yard line to set up quarterback Jim Cromartie’s scoring plunge. New Mexico linebacker Chuck Cummings recovered a Western Michigan fumble on the ensuing possession that led to Bobby Santiago’s touchdown run. After Morgan converted on the two-point attempt, New Mexico led 14-0. A scoring run by Morgan and a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cummings put game away for the Lobos. The 1961 New Mexico team finished 8-4 and was inducted into the University’s Hall of Honor in 1990. Western Michigan, who was playing in their first-ever bowl game fell to 5-4-1.
Dec. 11, 1982
Wisconsin def. Kansas State, 14-3
Independence Bowl – Shreveport, La.
After four post-season losses, Wisconsin won its first bowl game in school history over a Kansas State squad making its bowl debut. The firsts continued, as the game was the first bowl game broadcast on ESPN. Wisconsin quarterback Randy Wright did it all for the Badgers, throwing two touchdown passes. The first was a 16-yarder to Michael Jones and the second was an 87-yard strike to Tim Stracka, the longest in school history. The two teams combined for five turnovers, 14 punts and 14 penalties in a game played in frigid temperatures. Kansas State finished with a record of 6-5-1, and Wisconsin finished 7-5.
Dec. 12, 1964
East Carolina def. Massachusetts, 14-13
Tangerine Bowl – Orlando, Fla.
Yankee Conference champion Massachusetts, playing in their first bowl game in program history, faced a tough opponent in East Carolina. The Pirates were coming off their second straight 8-1 season. Minutemen quarterback Jerry Whelchel and wideout Ken Palm connected for the first two scores of the game, a 13-yard touchdown in the second quarter and a 61-yard bomb in the third quarter that gave Massachusetts a 13-0 lead. A missed extra point following the second score would haunt them, as East Carolina’s George Richardson and Bill Cline would find the end zone on the ground in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. After a failed two-point conversion on the first score, Cline completed a pass on the second try that gave the Pirates the win. Cline was named the game’s MVP, and Massachusetts College Football Hall of Fame tight end Milt Morin also played in the game. East Carolina finished 9-1, and the Minutemen finished 8-2.
Dec. 13, 2003
Colgate def. Florida Atlantic, 36-24
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Non-scholarship Colgate entered the 2003 Division I-AA playoffs as Patriot League Champions for the fourth time in seven years with its first undefeated record since its 1932 National Championship season. After eliminating Massachusetts and Western Illinois, the Raiders had a chance to become the first Patriot League team to ever play in the Division I-AA National Championship with a win over Howard Schnellenberger’s Owls. Colgate quarterback Chris Brown connected with Luke Graham for two first-half touchdowns to build a 23-7 lead over Florida Atlantic at halftime. Brown ran for another score in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 36-17and put the game out of reach. The Raiders lost to Delaware in the National Championship Game and finished 15-1. Florida Atlantic’s final season in Division I-AA came to an end at 11-3.
Dec. 14, 1991
Bowling Green def. Fresno State, 28-21
California Bowl – Fresno, Calif.
In the 11th and final California Bowl, Bowling Green sought revenge for a 51-7 loss to Fresno State in the 1985 California Bowl that ended the Falcons’ undefeated regular season. The Bulldogs were favored by two touchdowns going into the game and outgained the Falcons 484 yards to 383, but were plagued with penalties – 11 in total costing them 86 yards. Bowling Green scored the first touchdown of the game and never lost the lead thanks to the stellar play of quarterback Erik White and wide receiver Mark Szlachcic. The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game in the last three minutes with an interception by cornerback Tony Brown. They drove to the Falcons’ three-yard line with 19 seconds left, but quarterback Mike Bersotti threw three incomplete passes. The win gave the Falcons an 11-1 record to finish the season, while Fresno State finished 10-2.