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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 24 – Dec. 30
Photo Caption: Ole Miss' Duce McAllister makes a one-yard leap with 30 second to play to give
Published: 12/21/2012 2:30:00 PM

Photo Caption: Ole Miss' Duce McAllister makes a one-yard leap with 30 second to play to give Mississippi a 34-31 victory against Marshall in the inaugural Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26, 1997.

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 144 years. If you choose to use this content in whole or in part, as a courtesy, please credit The National Football Foundation and use the NFF logo, which is available upon request.


December 26, 1997
: In the inaugural Motor City Bowl, Mississippi outlasted Marshall 34-31. The game featured one tie and six lead changes.  Playing in their first season as a FBS school, Marshall had just beaten Toledo in the Mid-American Conference championship game.  Thundering Herd QB Chad Pennington, who would later win the 1999 NFF Campbell Trophy, threw for 337 and three scores on the day. His output was matched by Ole Miss quarterback Stewart Partridge who also had three TD tosses and 332 yards. The final game-winning score came on a Duce McAllister one-yard leap with 30 second to play. Mississippi finished the season 8-4 and ranked 22 in the final AP Poll. Marshall ended 10-3.  CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO RECAP OF THIS GAME ON THE NFF DIGITAL NETWORK.


December 24, 1966
: Two touchdown catches by Florida State WR Ron Sellers, at 1988 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, could not prevent a 28-20 loss to the Wyoming Cowboys in the Sun Bowl in El Paso.  Cowboy halfback Jim Kiick matched Sellers’ touchdown output, accumulating 135 rushing yards. Wyoming ended 10-1 on the season and No. 15 in the Coaches’ Poll. Florida State finished 6-5.

December 25, 1987
: UCLA may have been down on their backs, but they were not down on their luck in the 1987 Aloha Bowl as Bruin RB Danny Thompson, who was lying on his back in the endzone, caught the go-ahead touchdown. The Gators led 10-3 before Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman began the comeback of the 10th ranked Bruins in Honolulu. Not only was his receiver on the ground during the critical play, but his pass was tipped by a Florida defender in the 20-16 UCLA victory. Future Hall of Fame RB Emmitt Smith led the Florida offense with 128 yards rushing. Hall of Fame Coach Terry Donahue and the Bruins finished the season 10-2 and ranked ninth in the AP Poll. The Gators posted a final record of 6-6 for the season.

December 27, 1975
: In what may have been a first for college football, the Most Valuable Player awards in a bowl game went to a set of brothers in a Texas 38-21 Astro Bluebonnet Bowl win over Colorado in Houston. Hall of Fame back Earl Campbell gained 95 yards, claiming backfield MVP honors. His brother Tim Campbell, who played defensive end, was named the line MVP. With Texas trailing 21-14, Tim scored on a blocked punt, and his brother Earl caught a pass for the two-point conversions. The score gave the Longhorns a lead that they would never relinquish. Texas finished the season 10-2 with a No. 6 AP rank. Colorado ended 9-3 and ranked 16th.

December 28, 1990
: The final All-American Bowl, originally called the Hall of Fame Classic and played from 1977 to 1990 in Birmingham, saw a hard fought battle between North Carolina State and No. 23 Southern Mississippi. With their rushing attack limited to 44 yards, Southern Mississippi looked to quarterback Brett Favre for its offense.  Favre threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns. On the final drive, the Golden Eagles got as close as the NC State 20, but a sack of Favre ended the threat, giving the Wolfpack the 31-27 victory. Despite the loss, Favre claimed MVP honors. Southern Miss finished the season 8-4, and NC State posted a 7-5 record on the season.

December 29, 1982
: Coaching in his final game, Hall of Fame Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant went out a winner, guiding Alabama to a 21-15 victory in the Liberty Bowl against Illinois. Illini quarterback Tony Eason was the game's offensive star, throwing for 423 yards despite being rushed so hard that he had to leave the game on three occasions. The Bama defense may have given up yards, but they picked off four Illinois passes, three by Jeremiah Castille.  The victory marked Bryant’s 323 win.  He would pass away 28 days later. Alabama finished 8-4, and Illinois posted a 7-5 record for the season.

December 30, 1988
: Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders ended a remarkable career, leading No. 12 ranked Oklahoma State to a 62-14 win over Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl. The game was out of reach early in the third quarter as OSU led 24-7 on top of two Sanders’ touchdown runs. The rest of the evening became an opportunity to watch one of the game’s all-time greats further rewrite the record books. When the final gun had sounded, the Heisman winner had a 222-yard night with five touchdowns. Oklahoma State ended the season 10-2 and ranked No. 11. Wyoming finished 11-2 and No. 20 in the Coaches’ Poll.

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

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