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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 16-22
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 145 years.
Published: 12/13/2013 2:45:00 PM
(Pictured: Hall of Fame coaches Terry Donahue (UCLA) and Bear Bryant (Alabama) met in the 1976 Liberty Bowl, with Bryant's Crimson Tide beating the Bruins 36-6.)

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. 20, 1976
No. 16 Alabama def. No. 7 UCLA, 36-6
Liberty Bowl – Memphis, Tenn.

No. 7 UCLA, under first-year Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue, was looking to take its frustrations out on Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant and No. 16 Alabama after coming off an upset loss to rival Southern California in the final week of the regular season. Alabama blew open the game early, scoring 17 points in the first quarter. UCLA outgained Alabama on offense, but the Bruins could not find the end zone, turning the ball over four times to help seal the win for the Tide. The turnovers resulted in a 36-6 Alabama win, the largest margin in the Liberty Bowl’s 18-year history.


Dec. 16, 1961
No. 14 Syracuse def. Miami, Fla., 15-14
Liberty Bowl – Philadelphia

An ice cold Liberty Bowl featured a matchup of Hall of Fame coaches, as Ben Schwartzwalder’s No. 14 Syracuse, led by Hall of Fame and Heisman-winning running back Ernie Davis, faced off against Andy Gustafson and Miami. A 60-yard punt return by Nick Spinelli and a George Mira touchdown pass gave the Hurricanes an early 14-0 lead. Miami would not score in the second half, and Syracuse pounded away relentlessly with its running game. Davis would amass 140 yards on the day, including a third-quarter touchdown and four carries for 24 yards on Syracuse’s winning drive. Davis would become the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

Dec. 17, 1993
Utah State def. Ball State, 42-33
Las Vegas Bowl – Whitney, Nev.

Utah State earned its first bowl victory in school history with a 42-33 triumph over Ball State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo led the Aggies by connecting on 25-of-29 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns while adding eight carries for 50 yards. The Aggies built a 35-10 third-quarter lead before Ball State mounted a late rally, but Donald Toomer's 32-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed the win.

Dec. 18, 1982
No. 18 Auburn def. Boston College, 33-26
Tangerine Bowl – Orlando, Fla.

An early matchup between future Heisman winners created a thriller as Hall of Famer Bo Jackson’s No. 18 Auburn Tigers outlasted Hall of Famer Doug Flutie and the Boston College Eagles 33-26 in the Tangerine Bowl. Jackson and Lionel James were part of a Tiger rushing attack that gained 313 yards. Flutie threw for 299 yards and two scores while rushing for a five-yard touchdown on the Eagles’ opening drive. Auburn’s defense deployed five- and even some six-man defensive backfields to keep Flutie from tossing any touchdown passes until the end of the fourth quarter when it was already too late. Auburn finished the season 9-3 and ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll. Boston College ended unranked at 8-3-1.

Dec. 19, 1980
No. 14 BYU def. No. 19 SMU, 46-45
Holiday Bowl – San Diego

No. 14 Brigham Young mounted an enormous comeback to stun No. 19 SMU 46-45 in the Holiday Bowl. Prolific tailbacks Craig James and Eric Dickerson combined to rush for 335 yards and four touchdowns to build a 45-25 Mustangs lead with 4:07 to play. College Football Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards' Cougars then sprung to life with the help of an onside-kick recovery and a blocked punt, which put BYU within six points with three seconds left. College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim McMahon (446 passing yards and four touchdowns) found Clay Brown on a 41-yard “Hail Mary” as time expired to complete the rally.

Dec. 21, 1985
Georgia Southern def. Furman, 44-42
NCAA I-AA Championship – Tacoma, Wash.

In only the program’s fifth year of existence, Georgia Southern defeated Furman 44-42 in the NCAA I-AA (now known as the FCS) championship game. 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 he converted a fourth-down pass with 25 seconds left to play 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 left on the clock.

Dec. 22, 1975
Southern California def. No. 2 Texas A&M, 20-0
Liberty Bowl – Memphis, Tenn.

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 post season game in McKay’s USC tenure. Hall of Famer Ricky Bell led the way for the Trojans, running for 82 yards and scoring on a 76-yard screen pass. The Aggies committed two turnovers on key drives early in the first half, and neither team scored in the second half. McKay closed his USC career with a 127-40-8 record and four national championships. The final AP Poll had the Aggies (10-2) at No. 11 and the Trojans (8-4) at No. 17.

About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
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