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This Week in College Football History

Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

Featured Moment: November 16, 1940

In a matchup of future Hall of Fame coaches Earl "Red" Blaik of Dartmouth and
Carl Snavely of Cornell, the Big Red was a 7-3 winner when time expired, but subsequently
relinquished the victory to Dartmouth in an historical act of honor. (Graphic courtesy of the NFF)

This report researched and written by College Football Hall of Fame Curator and Historian Kent Stephens

Published by Bonesville on Nov. 10, 2012


November 16, 1940: With No. 2 Minnesota having defeated No. 3 Michigan the week before, top-ranked Cornell fell to second in the national poll. To remain in national championship contention, the Big Red would have to go on the road to defeat Dartmouth. In a matchup of future Hall of Fame coaches, Cornell’s Carl Snavely and Dartmouth’s Earl "Red" Blaik, the game became a defensive struggle. Dartmouth’s Bob Krieger kicked a 27-yard field goal to give the Big Green a 3-0 lead with more than four minutes to play. Cornell then drove inside the Dartmouth one when confusion arose after a Cornell penalty on a fourth down play. When the teams lined up for a fifth play in the series, those in the press box could only guess that there had been offsetting penalties on the previous play. The Big Red then scored on a pass from Walt Scholl to Bill Murphy with two seconds on the clock for the apparent 7-3 Cornell win. On Monday, Snavely viewed the films and realized that his team was incorrectly awarded a fifth down on the final drive of the game. Cornell President Rufus Day sent a telegram to Dartmouth and relinquished his school’s claim to the victory. It is the only time in college football history that a score has been reversed. Ironically, President Day was a Dartmouth graduate.


November 12, 1966: One of college football’s all-time greatest backfield duos starred in a 37-21 Syracuse victory over Florida State. Hall of Fame running backs Floyd Little and Larry Csonka produced the lion’s share of a 337-yard rushing effort in front of their hometown crowd. Little scored three touchdowns, gained 193 yards and set a new school career rushing record. Csonka contributed to the day’s scoring on a one yard blast.

November 13, 1993: In a matchup of the nation’s top two teams, No. 2 Notre Dame and future Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz seemingly halted No. 1 Florida State’s national title run with a 31-24 win in South Bend. Trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, FSU scored to draw within seven points. The Seminoles made a final drive to pull even, but a pass by future Hall of Fame QB Charlie Ward was knocked down at the goal line. The Seminoles were back in the title hunt a week later when Notre Dame was upset by Boston College. The season would conclude with the Seminoles winning the Orange Bowl and Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden earning his first national championship.

November 14, 1959: In Athens, No. 12 Georgia upset No. 8 Auburn to secure their first SEC Title since 1949. Hall of Famer Ed Dyas made two long field goals, giving Auburn a 13-7 lead. But with 30 seconds to play, Hall of Fame Bulldog quarterback Fran Tarkenton connected with Bill Herron for the tying score. Durwood Pennington kicked the winning extra point for Georgia.

November 15, 1980: In Provo, Brigham Young quarterback Jim McMahon led his No. 13 Cougars to an easy 45-14 win over visiting Colorado State. The Hall of Famer threw for five touchdowns and 441 yards. His performance set four NCAA records and tied two others. He set records for career passing yards, total offense for a season and extended his record of nine consecutive 300-yard passing games and five 400-yard passing games.

November 17, 1990: While the finish to the 1982 California-Stanford game is still the gold standard for final play dramatics, the Big Game of 1990 is worth remembering as well. With 12 seconds to play, Stanford scored to cut the Cal lead to one point. When the two-point conversion failed, thousands of Bear fans ran onto their home turf to celebrate. A delay of game penalty on the Cal fans put the kickoff at midfield. The Cardinal recovered the on-side kick. A roughing the passer penalty then moved the ball to the Cal 22, where John Hopkins kicked the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock to give Stanford a 27-25 win in Berkeley.

November 18, 1939: The 1939 Heisman race as well as the front runner for the 1940 trophy may have been decided on this day. Playing at home in Iowa City, No. 15 Iowa defeated No. 20 Minnesota behind the exceptional play of halfback Nile Kinnick. For the sixth consecutive game, Kinnick played all 60 minutes for the Hawkeyes. Trailing 9-0 in the fourth quarter, Kinnick threw 45 and 28 yard touchdown passes and added an extra point as Iowa took a 13-9 lead. He then sealed the win with an interception in the game’s final minute. In Philadelphia, Michigan beat Pennsylvania 19-17 on a 63-yard touchdown run by Wolverine halfback Tom Harmon. On the carry, the eventual 1940 Heisman recipient reversed the field five times. When asked if he was surprised by the spectacular improvisational play, Michigan coach and Hall of Famer Fritz Crisler remarked, “I don’t know why, it was exactly as I had diagramed it.”

11/09/2012 10:56 PM


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