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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 27 - Jan. 2
If you choose to use this content in whole or in part, as a courtesy, please credit The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. FEATURED MOMENT: December 31, 1973- In a du
Published: 12/24/2010 10:29:00 PM

If you choose to use this content in whole or in part, as a courtesy, please credit The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.


December 31, 1973- In a duel of College Football Hall of Fame coaches Ara Parseghian and Paul "Bear" Bryant, No. 3 Notre Dame clinched the national championship with a 24-23 win over No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Trailing 17-14 in the third quarter, Fighting Irish defender Drew Mahalic returned a Crimson Tide fumble nine yards to the 12-yard line, which Eric Penick capitalized and gave the Irish a 21-17 lead. Alabama responded with a touchdown but missed the ensuing extra point, opening the door for a game, and national title, clinching 19-yard Bob Thomas field goal.


December 27, 1994- In the final Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, Calif., No. 14 Utah defeated No. 15 Arizona 16-13. The Utes were able to earn the win despite being limited to just 75 yards of total offense and five first downs by Arizona's Desert Swarm defense. Utah got a six-yard scoring romp by Charlie Brown, a safety, and achieved the winning score on a five-yard heave on fourth-and-goal from Mike McCoy to Kevin Dyson. The Utes' win clinched the first 10-win season in school history.

December 28, 1989- No. 25 Texas Tech topped No. 20 Duke, 49-21, in the All-American Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. The Blue Devils were coached by College Football Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier and featured College Football Hall of Fame inductee Clarkston Hines at wideout, but Red Raider tailback James Gray stole the show. Gray set All-American Bowl records with 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns in what was at the time the largest bowl win in Red Raider history.

December 29, 1998- Former NFF National Scholar-Athlete Drew Brees and Purdue upset No. 4 Kansas State, 37-34, in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Tex. The Boilermakers engineered the win by forcing the Wildcats into seven turnovers. Trailing 30-20 midway through the final frame, Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop connected with Darnell McDonald for an 88-yard scoring strike. Bishop put the Wildcats on top with a touchdown pass to Justin Swift with 1:24 to play, but Brees coolly led Purdue on a game-winning six play, 80-yard drive culminating in a 24-yard touchdown pass with just 30 seconds remaining.

December 30, 1948- Hardin-Simmons (Tex.) topped Wichita State 49-12 in the first and only Camellia Bowl in Lafayette, La. The game was played at McNaspy Stadium before 4,500 spectators.

January 1, 1902- Michigan downed Stanford 49-0 in the inaugural Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Played at Tournament Park in Pasadena, it was the first college bowl game, and to this day the Rose Bowl Game carries the moniker the "Granddaddy of Them All". College Football Hall of Fame coach Fielding Yost led the 11-0 Wolverines to their first national championship that season.

January 2, 1971- No. 10 Auburn out-dueled Ole Miss 35-28 in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., in a matchup of eventual College Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks Pat Sullivan and Archie Manning. Sullivan, who accumulated 351 passing yards, guided the Tigers to an early 21-0 edge by throwing for two touchdowns and galloping 37 yards for another score. Manning, who played with a cast on his left arm, scored by air and ground, throwing for 180 yards while also leading the Rebels with 95 rushing yards on 11 carries, but a 55-yard punt return touchdown by Larry Willingham sealed the Auburn win. Manning presently serves as the NFF's Chairman.

This report was researched and written by NFF communications assistant Zach Barnett.

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