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.
Oct. 6, 1979
Florida A&M def. Miami (Fla.), 16-13
Florida A&M with key leadership from College Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Tyrone McGriff had won the 1978 NCAA Division I-AA National Championship, and the team and McGriff were out to prove they could hang with the big boys against Miami in 1979. The Rattlers did just that, going into halftime tied 13-13 with the Hurricanes. Florida A&M’s defense did not budge to Miami, who was led by quarterback Mike Rodriguez. The Rattlers took the lead on a 34-yard field goal by Vince Coleman with just under four minutes remaining. On the ensuing possession, the Hurricanes marched down to the Florida A&M three-yard line, but they were forced into a fourth-and-goal situation with just seconds to play. Miami opted to kick the tying field goal rather than go for the win, but Dan Miller’s kick narrowly missed, giving the Rattlers the upset. Florida A&M finished the 1979 season 7-4, and Miami finished 5-6.
OTHER NOTABLE MOMENTS
Oct. 5, 1963
Illinois def. No. 4 Northwestern, 10-9
Illinois defeated Northwestern for its first win over its in-state rival since 1959. The Wildcats took a 6-0 lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Myers to Tom O’Grady, but a high snap by Joe Cerne led to a missed extra point that would cost them. The Illini took a 7-6 lead after another special teams mistake led to a five-yard punt and a 32-yard touchdown pass from Ron Fearn to Jim Warren. Northwestern regained the lead on a 24-yard field goal by Pete Stamison, but Illinois kicker Jim Plankenhorn answered with another field goal to take the lead back. Late threats by the Wildcats were thwarted by the Illini defense, led by College Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus. Illinois was captained by 1963 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Richard Deller. The Big Ten champion Illini and their coach Pete Elliott, a Hall of Fame quarterback at Michigan, would go onto defeated Washington in the Rose Bowl, finishing 8-1-1 with their winningest season since 1951. The Wildcats finished with a 5-4 record under Hall of Fame coach Ara Parseghian during his last season at Northwestern.
Oct. 7, 1995
Texas Tech def. No. 8 Texas A&M, 14-7
College Football Hall of Fame coach R.C. Slocum and Texas A&M came into this game with a streak of 29-straight Southwest Conference wins, but the winning spree unraveled on one of the most iconic plays in Texas Tech history. With the two Lone Star State schools tied 7-7 in the final minute, Aggie quarterback Corey Pullig threw his third interception of the day into the hands of linebacker Zach Thomas, a 2015 Hall of Fame electee, who charged 23 yards for the winning touchdown. Texas A&M later upset Michigan in the Alamo Bowl, ending the season with a 9-3 record and a No. 15 slot in the final AP Poll. Texas Tech won a shootout in the Copper Bowl over Air Force to finish 9-3 as well and came in at No. 23.
Oct. 8, 1988
Columbia def. Princeton, 16-13
Having not won a game in nearly five years, Columbia looked to snap a then-Division I-AA record 44-game losing streak. Princeton held a 10-9 lead early in the first half after a touchdown by halfback Kris Keys and two field goals by kicker Chris Luts. The Lions finally put points on the board after quarterback Bruce Mayhew lobbed the ball nine yards to tight end Matt Less for a touchdown, and Lions kicker Matt Pollard hit a 33 yard field goal to bring Columbia within one before halftime. Going into the fourth quarter, Luts booted another field goal giving the Tigers a 13-9 lead. The game winner came when running back Solomon Johnson took a handoff and ran two yards for a touchdown with 5:13 to play. The clock seemed to near midnight in this Cinderella story when the Tigers lined up for a 48-yard field goal in the last few seconds of the game, but Luts’ kick was just short of the goal post. The Tigers ended the 1988 season with a record of 6-4 and the Lions finished 2-8.
Oct. 9, 1971
Tulane def. No. 18 North Carolina, 37-29
Chapel Hill, N.C.
The No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels joined No. 14 Duke as the only undefeated teams entering the weekend, and both fell to their respective opponents. Tulane quarterback Mike Walker threw for 267 yards and fired four touchdown passes in the first half to build a 28-11 halftime lead. Walker’s first scoring strike to Bob Marshall marked the first time the Tar Heels trailed all season. UNC rallied behind two fourth-quarter touchdown runs by Goef Hamlin to trim the lead to 28-26, but Green Wave wide receiver Coleman Dupre put the game just out of reach with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. UNC featured 1971 NFF National Scholar-Athlete William Brafford. The ACC Champion Tar Heels wrapped up a 9-3 season with a 7-3 loss to Georgia in the Gator Bowl. The Green Wave finished 3-8.
Oct. 10, 1953
Kansas def. Colorado, 27-21
Kansas ran for a school-record 306 rushing yards against Colorado, beginning with a 66-yard trot to the end zone on the game’s first play from scrimmage by halfback Don Hess. Halfback Ralph Moody followed it up with a 12-yard scramble for a 14-0 first-quarter lead. A frustrated Colorado squad rallied in the second quarter on a one-yard plunge by Emerson Wilson after defensive back Frank Bernardi recovered a Kansas fumble in the red zone. The Buffs leveled the score when Ron Johnson returned Moody’s 57-yard punt 90 yards for a touchdown. Moody responded by gaining 45 yards during an 83-yard scoring drive that put the Jayhawks on top 21-14 to open the second half. After Gary Knafelc caught a 27-yard touchdown pass to tie the game once again, Moody scored his second touchdown to give Kansas the victory. The Jayhawks ended the season with a 2-8 record and the Buffaloes finished 6-4.
Oct. 11, 1969
Vanderbilt def. No. 13 Alabama, 14-10
Vanderbilt entered the game without a win against College Football Hall of Fame coach Paul “Bear” Bryant since he took over the Crimson Tide in 1958. After the Commodores took a 7-3 lead at halftime, they fumbled on the opening possession of the second half, and Alabama took a 10-7 lead on a 19-yard sweep by George Ranager. The Crimson Tide looked to increase their lead to 17-7 when Vanderbilt defensive back Christie Hauck intercepted Scott Hunter in the end zone and launched a critical scoring drive. Vanderbilt quarterback Denny Painter threw for 59 yards and rushed for 15 yards to put the Commodores on the Alabama 11-yard line. Coach Bill Pace pulled Painter in favor of Watson Brown, who tossed the game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Jim Cunningham. Vanderbilt finished the season 4-6. The Crimson Tide finished with a 6-5 record after a loss to Colorado in the Liberty Bowl.