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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 26 - Jan. 1
As part of an ongoing series throughout the fall, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of
Published: 12/23/2011 12:00:00 AM
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 143 years.

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January 1, 1998 - College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr took his top-ranked Michigan squad to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., in search of the program's first national championship since 1948. Standing in the Wolverines' way was No. 7 Washington State, led by Heisman Trophy finalist Ryan Leaf at quarterback. Leaf came out hot, hitting wide receiver Kevin McKenzie for a 15-yard touchdown pass and driving again inside Michigan's red zone until Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson intercepted a Leaf pass inside the end zone. Michigan quarterback Brian Griese, a 1997 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, hit wide receiver Tai Streets with a 53-yard scoring heave to even the score heading into halftime. Washington State broke the tie in the third quarter on a 14-yard reverse by wide receiver Shawn Tims, but the extra point was blocked. Griese again found Streets, this time for 58 yards, to give the Wolverines their first lead. Griese's third touchdown pass of the day came early in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard play-action strike to tight end Jerame Tuman. A Rian Lindell 48-yard field goal brought Washington State's deficit to 21-16. Leaf brought the Cougars to Michigan's 26 on a last-gasp drive, but the clock expired before Washington State could run a final play. The 21-16 victory gave Michigan the AP National Championship, the program's first in over half a century. 


December 26, 1921 - Centre (Ky.) defeated Arizona 38-0 in the inaugural San Diego East-West Christmas Classic. Following a shocking upset of Harvard, future College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Alvin "Bo" McMillan led the Praying Colonels to two bowl games to complete the 1921 season. One week after the victory over Arizona, Centre faced Texas A&M in the inaugural Dixie Classic at Fair Park Stadium in Dallas. The Praying Colonels were key figures in the postseason bowl era; one season prior, Centre defeated TCU in the Fort Worth Classic, which was the first bowl game played outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. In all, Centre competed in the first three bowl games staged outside the Rose Bowl. 

December 27, 1969 - College Football Hall of Fame coach Ray Graves and No. 15 Florida topped College Football Hall of Fame coach Doug Dickey and No. 11 Tennessee 14-13 in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. Trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, future College Football Hall of Famer Carlos Alvarez hauled in a nine-yard scoring pass from quarterback John Reaves to provide the winning score. Gators linebacker Mike Kelley earned Most Valuable Player honors by scoring Florida's first touchdown on an eight-yard blocked punt return and collecting a fumble and an interception. The game proved to be Dickey's last as the head coach at Tennessee as he effectively swapped sidelines, taking over at Florida beginning in the 1970 season while NFF Board Member Bill Battle took over for Dickey at Tennessee. 

December 28, 2002 - College Football Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez led Wisconsin to a 31-28 overtime upset of No. 14 Colorado in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. In a game ruled by turnovers, Colorado cornerback Donald Strickland gave his team a 7-0 lead with a 91-yard interception return, and Wisconsin used three interceptions of its own, including one by 2004 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Jim Leonhard, to build a 21-14 halftime lead. Colorado reclaimed the lead by recovering fumbles on consecutive Badgers touches, on a punt return and a kickoff return, to take a 28-21 advantage. Wisconsin quarterback Brooks Bollinger led an 80-yard drive in just 90 seconds, which included two fourth-down conversions, to send the game to overtime with a one-yard plunge with 51 seconds to play. After holding Colorado scoreless on the first possession of overtime, the Badgers won the game on a 37-yard field goal by Mike Allen. 

December 29, 1991 - College Football Hall of Fame coach Fisher DeBerry guided Air Force to a 38-15 victory over Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. The Falcons dominated the game despite throwing just two passes, rushing for 318 yards and racing to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. Air Force also scored two touchdowns on fumble recoveries to secure its lead. The win gave Air Force its third 10-win season in program history. 

December 30, 1988 - Future College Football Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders put on a show in leading No. 12 Oklahoma State to a 62-14 win over No. 15 Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Sanders set the bowl-game record for points and tied Neil Snow of Michigan for the bowl-game rushing touchdowns record when he registered five rushing scores and 30 total points. Snow's record was set in the first bowl game in college football history, the 1902 Rose Bowl. Sanders rushed for 222 yards on the day, capping a season in which he set or tied more than two dozen NCAA single-season records, including rushing yards (2,628) and rushing touchdowns (37). Cowboys quarterback and current head coach Mike Gundy completed 20-of-24 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns. 

December 31, 1981 - College Football Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen led West Virginia to a 26-6 victory over Florida in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The Mountaineers' defense, led by future College Football Hall of Famer Darryl Talley, held the Gators to just 105 yards of total offense, including minus-30 rushing yards. The only points surrendered by West Virginia came in the fourth quarter with a 26-0 lead in hand. Mountaineers quarterback, 1981 NFF National Scholar-Athlete and current West Virginia athletics director, Oliver Luck completed 14-of-23 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

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