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. 27, 1994
No. 14 Utah def. No. 15 Arizona, 16-13
Freedom Bowl – Anaheim, Calif.
At 9-2, Utah was enjoying their best finish since 1948, earning a spot in the final edition of the Freedom Bowl. Arizona’s Desert Swarm defense held the Utes to only five first downs and 75 yards despite Utah averaging 448 yards per game during the season. College Football Hall of Fame defensive end Tedy Bruschi tallied four of Arizona’s six sacks on the day. Arizona drew first blood when running back Ontiwaun Carter won a tug-of-war match with defensive back Edwin Garette on a 23-yard pass in the end zone. Utah responded in the second quarter with a six-yard scoring run by Chris Brown following a fumble recovery deep in Arizona territory. After two second-half field goals, the Wildcats led 13-7 with 4:11 to play, and they conceded the safety on the punt. The maneuver backfired when Utah’s Cal Beck returned the free-kick 72 yards to the Wildcats five-yard line. While being dragged down by Arizona defensive lineman Chuck Osborne on fourth down, Utes quarterback Mike McCoy flung the winning touchdown pass to Kevin Dyson in the corner of the end zone. It was McCoy’s 19th straight game with a scoring pass. Arizona finished with an 8-4 record and a No. 20 ranking in the final AP Poll. The win completed Utah’s first 10-win season in program history, earning them a No. 10 spot in the final rankings.
OTHER NOTABLE MOMENTS
Dec. 22, 2005
Navy def. Colorado State, 51-30
Poinsettia Bowl – San Diego
In the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl, Navy back Reggie Campbell became just the fifth player in bowl history to score five touchdowns in a single game. Campbell compiled 290 all-purpose yards, scoring three times on the ground and twice on receptions. After Colorado State scored on its opening possession, Campbell caught his first touchdown pass for 55 yards on the Midshipmen’s opening play, and Navy put up a trio of scores after the Rams tacked on a field goal. Colorado State quarterback Justin Holland had impressive stats in the loss, throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Navy improved their record to 8-4, while Colorado State fell to 6-6.
Dec. 23, 1972
No. 15 Arizona State def. Missouri, 49-35
Fiesta Bowl – Tempe, Ariz.
College Football Hall of Fame head coach Frank Kush’s high-octane Arizona State offense racked up a school-record 718 yards against Missouri. Hall of Fame quarterback Danny White threw for 266 yards for the Sun Devils, and his two backs, Woody Green and Brent McClanahan, combined for 373 yards rushing. Green scored two of his four touchdowns on the first two possessions of the game, but the Tigers quickly answered with an eight-yard score by fullback Don Johnson. McClanahan plunged into the end zone after a 55-yard run up the middle on the previous play, and White sneaked in another score before half time with the first of two end zone connections with Ed Beverly. Two touchdown passes from John Cherry to Chuck Link brought the Tigers within one score, but that would be the closest Missouri would ever get in the game. The WAC champion Sun Devils, featuring College Football Hall of Famer Michael Haynes, finished with a 10-2 record and a No. 13 spot in the final AP Poll. Missouri fell to an even 6-6.
Dec. 24, 2009
SMU def. Nevada, 45-10
Hawaii Bowl – Honolulu
SMU defeated Nevada in its first bowl game since 1984. SMU head coach June Jones, the former head coach at the University of Hawaii, entered the game 15-1 in Aloha Stadium and 3-1 in Hawaii Bowls. Mustang quarterback Kyle Padron threw for an SMU record 460 yards and tossed two touchdown passes, earning MVP honors. Backfield teammate Shawnbrey McNeal found the end zone on three occasions with 63 yards rushing. At 7-5, the Mustangs finished with only their fourth winning season in the last 25 years. College Football Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault’s Wolf Pack, led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, finished 8-4.
Dec. 25, 1978
No. 17 Purdue def. Georgia Tech, 42-21
Peach Bowl – Atlanta
On Christmas Day, College Football Hall of Fame head coach Jim Young led Purdue over Georgia Tech in its first bowl game since the 1966 Rose Bowl. The Boilermakers dominated the first half with a 34-7 lead behind 117 yards and a touchdown pass from Hall of Fame quarterback Mark Herrmann and two scores for tailback Wally Jones. Both of Jones’ touchdowns came off early Georgia Tech turnovers, and Herrmann capped an 80-yard drive with his score to put Purdue in control 21-0. Herrmann finished with 166 yards, 12-for-24 passing and two touchdowns. Coach Pepper Rodgers’ Yellow Jackets, due to an injured Eddie Lee Ivery, only mustered 12 yards rushing in the contest. The Boilermakers finished No. 13 in the final AP Poll with an 8-2-1 record, and the Yellow Jackets finished 7-5.
Dec. 26, 1975
No. 20 Pittsburgh def. No. 19 Kansas, 33-19
Sun Bowl – El Paso, Texas
In a top 20 matchup, Pittsburgh defeated Kansas for its first win in a postseason game since the 1937 Rose Bowl. The Jayhawks’ Wishbone offense was completely neutralized by the Pitt defense, while the Panthers offense controlled the clock with three rushers topping the 100-yard mark. Pittsburgh built a 19-0 lead by the end of the first half with the help of two second quarter touchdown runs by College Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, who finished with 142 rushing yards on 17 carries. He joined tailback Elliot Walker, who posted 123 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns, and quarterback Robert Haygood, who rushed 14 times for 104 yards, in the game’s 100-yard club. Pittsburgh was coached by Johnny Majors, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee as a player from Tennessee, and they finished No. 15 in the final AP Poll with an 8-4 record. Kansas dropped out of the top 25 with a 7-5 record.
Dec. 28, 1984
No. 9 Oklahoma State def. No. 7 South Carolina, 21-14
Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, Fla.
A last minute touchdown led Oklahoma State to an upset victory over South Carolina and the university’s first 10-win season in program history. College Football Hall of Fame tailback Thurman Thomas put the Cowboys ahead 13-0 at halftime with a one-yard score and a six-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Rusty Hilger on a trick play. The Gamecocks rallied to a 14-13 lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass by halfback Quinton Lewis, and a 57-yard bomb from quarterback Mike Hold to Ira Hillary. The struggling South Carolina offense fumbled six times, losing the ball on three occasions. Hilger and the Cowboys began their final drive at their own 12-yard line, needing only a field goal. Hilger completed a crucial 13-yard pass to Barry Hanna on a fourth-and-six at midfield, and Thomas rumbled 11 yards to set up Hilger’s winning touchdown pass to Hanna with a minute remaining. Hilger hit Jamie Harris for the two-point conversion. Oklahoma State replaced South Carolina at No. 7 in the final AP Poll with a 10-2 record. South Carolina fell to No. 11 with an identical 10-2 mark.