This Week in College Football History: Nov. 30-Dec. 6

National Football Foundation

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. 5, 1953
No. 2 Notre Dame def. SMU, 40-14
South Bend, Ind. 

Notre Dame dominated SMU in College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Leahy’s South Bend farewell. Mimicking his College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Ralph Guglielmi, fellow Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy recipient Johnny Lattner flipped just his second pass of the season for a 55-yard gain to set up the first of four touchdowns for fullback Neil Worden. Early in the second quarter, the Mustangs’ defense held at their goal line, but quarterback Duane Nutt fumbled the ball in the end zone, allowing defensive tackle Frank Varrichione to fall on it for a touchdown. Lattner scored twice for a 20-0 halftime lead and a 37-0 edge early in the third quarter. SMU backup quarterback Sam Stollenwerck threw a late fourth-quarter touchdown to then-obscure Raymond Berry to marginally trim Notre Dame’s lead. The Mustangs finished with a 5-5 record, while the Fighting Irish wrapped up a 9-0-1 season as the No. 2 team in the country.


Nov. 30, 2001
Toledo def. No. 20 Marshall, 41-36
Toledo, Ohio 

Marshall’s four-year reign as the MAC champion finally came to an end at the hands of Toledo in the 2001 MAC Championship Game. The Thundering Herd took a quick 23-0 lead, but Rockets’ quarterback Tavares Bolden had one of his hottest days, completing 16-of-25 passes for 175 yards while tailback Chester Taylor rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Toledo’s rally began on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Bolden to Carl Ford. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff set up Todd France’s field goal, cutting the lead to 23-10 at halftime. The Rockets took off in the third quarter, throwing 25 points up on the board, including a 16-yard touchdown run by France on a fake field goal. Marshall countered with a touchdown in the third quarter, and regained the lead in the fourth when Byron Leftwich tossed a touchdown pass to Denero Marriott to make it 36-35. A muffed punt by the Thundering Herd set up Taylor’s eight-yard run for the game-winning touchdown. Toledo finished with a 10-2 record and a No. 23 ranking after defeating Cincinnati in the Motor City Bowl. Marshall ended the season with an 11-2 record after a 64-61 win over East Carolina in the GMAC Bowl. 

Dec. 1, 1956
No. 4 Georgia Tech def. Georgia, 35-0
Athens, Ga. 

Georgia Tech blanked College Football Hall of Fame coach Wally Butts’ Georgia squad to give College Football Hall of Fame coach Bobby Dodd his 100th victory at the helm of the Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs’ nifty assortment of defensive alignments made it a tight game through the first half. Georgia Tech led only 7-0 at halftime, thanks to an eight-yard run by Paul Rotenberry that capped a 13-play, run-only drive. Rotenberry also rattled off a 53-yard dash on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, setting up quarterback Wade Mitchell’s run for a 14-0 lead. Halfback Stan Flowers scored two of the Yellow Jackets’ three fourth-quarter touchdowns to seal the shutout and a Gator Bowl bid. Georgia Tech finished with a 10-1 record and a No. 4 ranking after defeating Pittsburgh 21-14 in the Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs wrapped up a 3-6-1 season with the loss. 

Dec. 2, 1950
Navy def. No. 2 Army, 14-2

Navy was 7-34-2 since 1946 and was the supreme underdog against College Football Hall of Fame coach Earl “Red” Blaik and No. 2 Army, who was 39-2-4 in that same span and riding a 28-game unbeaten streak. In front of a crowd of 101,000, including President Harry Truman, an 813-foot good-luck telegram signed by 824 Midshipmen was delivered to Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium. Navy ran with the luck as quarterback Bob Zastrow gave the Midshipmen a 7-0 lead on a seven-yard scoring run. Zastrow also tossed a 30-yard touchdown strike to Jim Baldinger to go ahead 14-0. Navy’s defense allowed the Cadets inside their red zone seven times in the second half, but didn’t allow a score. A late safety put Army on the board, but it was not enough to avoid the upset. The win concluded a 3-6 season for Navy, while Army finished 8-1 and No. 2 in the AP Poll. 

Dec. 3, 1955
Duke def. North Carolina, 6-0
Durham, N.C. 

College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Murray and Duke opened the season with four wins, climbing as high as No. 5 in the rankings, but struggled through the middle of the season before closing out with three straight wins. The Blue Devil offense maneuvered the length of the field all day, but were halted four times and succeeded only on a 35-yard touchdown run by halfback Oliver Rudy. North Carolina tackle Jack Maultsby broke through the line to stop Jim Nelson’s extra-point try. The Tar Heels failed to venture past midfield until the third quarter, but made it to Duke’s 12-yard line after a fumble recovery. Duke defensive back Bob Pascal saved the game with an interception in the end zone. Duke shared the ACC title with Maryland, coached by Hall of Famer Jim Tatum, who left the Terrapins to coach the Tar Heels the following season. The Blue Devils closed the season with a 7-2-1 record and North Carolina finished 3-7. 

Dec. 4, 1976
No. 9 Texas Tech def. No. 18 Baylor, 24-21
Lubbock, Texas 

Texas Tech earned a share of its first Southwest Conference title and first conference title since 1955, as part of the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association. After breaking free for a 77-yard touchdown run in the game’s first minute, Red Raider quarterback Rodney Allison scored again to give Texas Tech a 14-0 lead. Baylor refused to fold, tying the game at 14 apiece, including a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sammy Bickham to Tommy Davidson. The Bears took a 21-17 lead on a one-yard plunge by tailback Gary Blair, who set a school record for single-game rushing yards (199). The Red Raiders regained the lead with an 89-yard drive early in the fourth quarter that culminated in a five-yard scoring run by tailback Larry Isaac. Baylor’s final drive ended on a failed 48-yard field goal attempt by Lester Belrose. College Football Hall of Fame coach Grant Teaff’s Bears finished with a 7-3-1 record. Texas Tech wrapped up a 10-2 season with a loss to Nebraska in the Bluebonnet Bowl and a No. 13 ranking.   

Dec. 6, 1985
Wyoming def. UTEP, 24-21
Melbourne, Australia 

Nearly 20,000 fans piled into V.F.L. Park, a stadium that seats 75,000 for Australian Rules Football, to catch a glimpse of American football action between Wyoming and UTEP in 1985. The 7,000-mile trip was the farthest any American college team had gone to play a game, surpassing the distance to Tokyo’s Mirage Bowl. Wyoming quarterback Scott Runyan threw two touchdowns on the day to fuel his team’s win, but the real hero was kicker Andy Cottingham, who booted a 34-yard field goal with just under 10 minutes to play to capture the victory in the WAC battle. The Cowboys finished the year with a 3-8 record, and the Miners wrapped up a 1-10 season. Wyoming also featured defensive end and linebacker Martin Eliopulos, a 1986 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.



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