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This Week in College Football History

Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

Featured Moment: December 19, 1980

On Dec. 19, 1980, the Brigham Young Cougars celebrate with the trophy after a dramatic,
come-from-behind triumph over Southern Methodist in the Holiday Bowl. (Photo: NFF)

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

Posted by on Dec. 15, 2012


December 19, 1980: The 1980 Holiday Bowl between No. 14 Brigham Young and No. 19 Southern Methodist resulted in one of college football’s most exciting games. Hall of Fame quarterback Jim McMahon saw his Cougars trail at 38-19 and again at 45-25 before leading them to a come-from-behind victory in the game's final four minutes. McMahon threw for 446 yards on the night with 239 yards coming in the fourth quarter alone. Trailing 45-39, BYU blocked a punt on the SMU 41-yard line with 13 seconds left. On the final play of the game, McMahon threw a Hail Mary, connecting with Clay Brown in the end zone. With the successful extra point, Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards had his first bowl victory, defeating the Mustangs 46-45. In the final poll, BYU (12-1) climbed to No. 12 while SMU (8-4) fell to No. 20. CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO RECAP OF THIS GAME ON THE NFF NETWORK...


December 17, 1960: Hall of Fame coaching greats Bear Bryant of Alabama and Darrell Royal of Texas faced off in three bowl games during their careers. The 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston marked the first of the meetings, ending in a 3-3 draw. Towards the end of the first quarter, the No. 9 Crimson Tide (8-1-1) drove inside the Longhorn 10-yard line, but unranked UT (7-3) stopped Bama inches short of the goal line on a fourth down run. The teams exchanged field goals in the second half with Texas missing a potential game-winner as time expired. Alabama finished the season No. 9 in the AP Poll and Texas ended at No. 17 in the UPI Poll.

December 18, 1982: Two Hall of Fame Heisman winners clashed when Bo Jackson’s No. 18 Auburn Tigers outlasted Doug Flutie and the Boston College Eagles 33-26 in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando. Jackson and Lionel “Little Train" James were part of a Tiger rushing attack that gained 313 yards. Flutie threw for 299 yards and two scores, but five BC turnovers doomed the Eagles. Auburn finished the season 9-3 and ranked 14 in the AP Poll. Boston College ended unranked at 8-3-1.

December 20, 1980: The 1980 championship game of what was then called the I-AA playoffs (now Football Championship Subdivision) was held in Sacramento’s Camellia Bowl. Boise State and Eastern Kentucky staged a wild roller coaster finish with the Broncos claiming the 31-29 victory. Hall of Fame coach Roy Kidd’s EKU Colonels trailed 24-22 with three minutes to play. A botched hold on an EKU field goal attempt left the ball on the Boise seven-yard line. EKU’s defense held and got the ball back at its own 40 with 55 seconds to play. Colonels QB Chris Isaac found David Booze behind the BSU defense for a 60-yard score, and EKU led 29-24. Undaunted, the Broncos quickly drove to the Eastern 14 with 20 seconds to play. On the next snap, Boise quarterback Joe Aliotte scrambled wildly to buy time, finding Duane Diuhy in the end zone for the winning score.

December 21, 1985: In the program’s fifth year of existence, Georgia Southern defeated Furman 44-42 in the NCAA I-AA championship game. Held in Tacoma, WA, Hall of Fame quarterback Tracy Ham led Georgia Southern back from a 28-6 third quarter deficit. With four consecutive scores, GSU led 35-28. Furman then tied the score at 35, and they then regained a 42-38 lead with a minute and a half to play. On the final drive of the game, Ham completed a 53-yard pass and converted a fourth down pass with 25 seconds left to keep the Eagles’ hopes alive. Frankie Johnson found room in the end zone between two defenders, and Ham delivered a 13-yard game winning bullet with ten seconds remaining on the clock.

December 22, 1975: The brilliant collegiate career of Hall of Fame coach John McKay came to an end with Southern California’s 20-0 win over No. 2 Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl. The trip to Memphis was the only non-Rose Bowl postseason game in McKay’s USC tenure. The Trojans’ best player on the day was Hall of Famer Ricky Bell who ran for 82 yards and scored on a 76-yard screen pass. McKay closed his USC career with a 127-40-8 record and three national championships. The final AP Poll had the Aggies (10-2) at No. 11 and the Trojans (8-4) in the No. 17 position.

December 23, 1972: In the Second Annual Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ, Hall of Fame quarterback Danny White threw for 266 yards and running backs Woody Green and Brent McClanahan combined for 373 yards rushing for No. 15 Arizona State in a 49-35 victory over Missouri. Mizzou rallied from a 28-7 deficit to cut the lead to seven heading into the fourth quarter. After trading touchdowns, White’s 53-yard touchdown pass to Ed Beverly put the game out of reach. Hall of Fame coach Frank Kush’s Sun Devils finished 10-2 and ranked No. 13. The Tigers finished 6-6.

12/15/2012 03:19 AM


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