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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 2-8
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 145 years.
Published: 11/29/2013 11:30:00 AM
(Pictured: Originally scheduled for late November and then cancelled following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the 1963 Army-Navy game was played on Dec. 7 at the request of Kennedy’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy. Hall of Famer Roger Staubach and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee coach Wayne Hardin led Navy to a 21-15 win.) 

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 145 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.


Dec. 7, 1963
No. 2 Navy def. Army, 21-15

Originally scheduled for late November and then cancelled following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the 1963 Army-Navy game was played in front of a crowd of 100,000 on Dec. 7 at the request of Kennedy’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy. The game was tightly contested as Army matched No. 2 Navy for a 7-7 halftime score. 1963 Heisman winner and Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach (Navy) teamed up with fullback Pat Donnelly (3 TDs) to give the Midshipmen a 21-7 lead with 10:32 remaining. Behind duo of quarterback Rollie Stichweh and halfback Ken Waldrop, the Black Knights found life, tallying a touchdown and two-point conversion to narrow the score to 21-15. CBS replayed Stichweh’s touchdown run, the first use of instant replay, causing many fans to think Army scored twice. Army executed a successful onside kick, methodically moving down field – and running down the clock – reaching the Navy 7-yard line with 1:38 to play. The Black Knights were unable to cross the goal line on three plays as time expired, and Navy, under 2013 Hall of Fame inductee coach Wayne Hardin (Navy, Temple), won its fifth in a row over Army.


Dec. 2, 2011
No. 5 Oregon def. UCLA, 49-31
Eugene, Ore.

Entering the game as the nation’s top rusher, junior running back LaMichael James ran for 219 yards and three touchdowns as No. 5 Oregon beat UCLA in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game. James ran for a 30-yard touchdown on Oregon’s opening drive, but UCLA answered when Patrick Larimore intercepted Duck quarterback Darron Thomas for a 35-yard return for a touchdown. The Ducks took a 37-17 lead into halftime and never looked back. Thomas’ touchdown pass to David Paulson in the third quarter made him Oregon’s career leader in passing touchdowns while James’s three touchdowns moved him into a tie with USC’s LenDale White for second on the league’s career rushing touchdowns list with 52. With the win, Oregon earned a spot in the Rose Bowl where they would beat Big Ten champion Wisconsin 45-38.

Dec. 3, 1988
No. 12 Oklahoma State def. Texas Tech, 45-42

Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State) set the NCAA single-season rushing record during the 1988 regular season finale against Texas Tech in Tokyo. The junior carried the ball 44 times for 332 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 45-42 Oklahoma State victory. Sanders was awarded the 1988 Heisman Trophy at 8 a.m. Tokyo time on the day of the game. During his record-breaking season, Sanders claimed 34 NCAA records including 39 touchdowns, 234 points scored, four 300-yard rushing games and a 238.9 yards per game average.

Dec. 4, 1971
San Diego State def. North Texas, 44-28
San Diego

San Diego State and North Texas combined to set a college football record for total plays in a regulation game as the Aztecs defeated the Eagles 44-28 in San Diego. Playing for Hall of Fame coach Don Coryell, San Diego State ran 99 plays on the day while North Texas countered with 97 for a grand total of 196, a regulation record that stood for 41 years until Houston (115) and Louisiana Tech (94) combined for 209 plays on Sept. 8, 2012. The overtime record of 202 was set by Kentucky (103) and Arkansas (99) on Nov. 1, 2003, in a game that lasted seven overtimes.

Dec. 5, 1992
No. 2 Alabama def. No. 12 Florida, 28-21
Birmingham, Ala.

No. 2 Alabama and Hall of Fame coach Gene Stallings (Texas A&M, Alabama) squared off against No. 12 Florida and Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier (Florida) for the SEC title in the first college football conference championship game. The Gators, boasting the league’s best offensive unit, drove 77 yards on its opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Crimson Tide responded, going on a 21-0 run to hold a 21-7 advantage in the third quarter. Florida pulled even at 21 with 8:09 left before Alabama’s defense, tops in the SEC, went to work. Tide defensive back Antonio Langham stepped in front of a Gator pass, returning it 27 yards for a touchdown. Florida took the field again, looking to level the score, but Alabama linebacker Michael Rogers intercepted the Gators, sealing the 28-21 win for the Tide. Alabama earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl, upsetting Miami 34-13 to win the national championship.

Dec. 6, 1969
No. 1 Texas def. No. 2 Arkansas, 15-14
Fayetteville, Ark.

No. 1 Texas took on No. 2 Arkansas in a game that would secure the Longhorns’ hopes for national championship contention. College Football Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal (Mississippi State, Washington, Texas) and the Longhorns trailed fellow Hall of Famer Frank Broyles (Missouri, Arkansas) and the Razorbacks 14-0 heading into the fourth, before two touchdowns and a two-point conversion put Texas up 15-14 with under four minutes to play. The one-point victory led Texas to the 1970 Cotton Bowl where they defeated Notre Dame, 21-17, for the Longhorns’ second national championship. Chris Schenkel, namesake of the NFF’s Chris Schenkel Award for broadcasting excellence, called the game alongside Hall of Fame coach-turned-ABC Sports commentator Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma).

Dec. 8, 1956
No. 13 Pittsburgh def. No. 6 Miami (Fla.), 14-7
Coral Gables, Florida

The No. 13 Pittsburgh Panthers came to Miami looking to avenge a 21-7 loss to the Hurricanes the previous year. Unbeaten and ranked sixth, Hall of Fame coach Andy Gustafson and Miami possessed one of the nation’s best defenses and an offense powered by Hall of Fame fullback Don Bosseler. Bosseler made a key 25-yard run in the Hurricanes’ first score, allowing them to head to the locker room with a 7-0 lead.  But in the second half, the Pitt offense out-played Miami’s top-ranked defense. Pitt scored two touchdowns in the second half, including a keeper by quarterback Darrell Lewis with less than three minutes to play, giving the Gator Bowl-bound Panthers a 14-7 victory.

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