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This Week in College Football History: Sept. 29-Oct. 5
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 146 years.
Published: 9/26/2014 10:08:00 AM
(Pictured: College Football Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer and his defending national champion Sooners narrowly avoided an upset at home against Colorado on Oct. 4, 1975. Oklahoma halfback Joe Washington, another Hall of Famer, scored on an 11-yard run and a 74-yard punt return in a big win on the team's road to a second consecutive national championship.)

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 146 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 can be downloaded by clicking here.


Oct. 4, 1975
No. 1 Oklahoma def. No. 19 Colorado, 21-20
Norman, Okla.

Reigning Walter Camp Coach of the Year and College Football Hall of Famer Barry Switzer and his defending national champion Sooners narrowly avoided an upset at home against Colorado. Oklahoma halfback Joe Washington, another Hall of Famer, scored on an 11-yard run and a 74-yard punt return to establish a 14-0 Sooner lead in the second quarter. However, fumbles late in the first half allowed the Buffaloes to storm back and tie it up 14-14 on short runs by quarterback David Williams and wideout Billy Waddy. Oklahoma would regain the lead late in the third on an 80-yard drive culminating with a two-yard score by Elvis Peacock. With just under a minute and a half to play, Williams and Waddy hooked up for an eight-yard touchdown. Buffs coach Bill Mallory decided to send kicker Tom MacKenzie out for the tying extra point, despite a missed field goal earlier in the game. Mallory would regret his decision, as MacKenzie shanked the extra point and handed the win to the Sooners. Oklahoma would go on to win its second consecutive national championship in 1975 after defeating Michigan in the Orange Bowl to finish 11-1. Colorado earned a trip to the Bluebonnet Bowl and would finish the season 12th in the AP poll with a 9-3 record.


Sept. 29, 1962
Rice ties No. 6 LSU, 6-6
Baton Rouge, La.

Despite having one of the nation’s top pass rush defenses, first-year coach and future College Football Hall of Famer Charlie McClendon’s Tigers were unable to stop Rice quarterback Walter McReynolds from passing for 179 yards and a touchdown. After two sacks pushed Rice to a fourth-and-27 in the second quarter, McReynolds flipped a screen to Gene Fleming, who tore through the LSU defense for a 30-yard score. A missed extra-point would haunt Hall of Fame coach Jess Neely’s Owls. McReynolds’ only miscue came in the third quarter, when LSU’s Gene Sykes picked him off, leading to a six-yard run to the end zone by College Football Hall of Fame back Jerry Stovall. Kicker Lynn Amedee went on to the field with a chance to ruin Rice’s upset bid, but a bobbled snap on the extra-point left the game at a stalemate. LSU would finish the season No. 7 in the AP poll with a 9-1-1 record after a victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl, while Rice would finish 2-6-2.

Sept. 30, 1967
No. 10 Purdue def. Notre Dame, 28-21
West Lafayette, Ind.

College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Mike Phipps became the third sophomore quarterback since 1949 to lead Hall of Fame coach Jack Mollenkopf’s Purdue Boilermakers over rival Notre Dame, ending a 12-game Irish win streak in the series. Phipps connected on 14 of his 34 attempts for 238 yards and two touchdowns that broke fourth-quarter ties of 14-14 and 21-21. His top target was fellow Hall of Famer Leroy Keyes, who caught nine passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Keyes doubled as a defensive back, making a crucial interception that ended a late comeback attempt by Hall of Fame coach Ara Parseghian’s Fighting Irish. Phipps’ Notre Dame counterpart, Terry Hanratty, set five school records in his 366-yard performance, while 2007 NFF Distinguished American and Notre Dame halfback Rocky Bleier scored in the third quarter.  Purdue would finish the season with a No. 9 ranking and an 8-2 record, while Notre Dame would finish with an identical record at No. 5.

Oct. 1, 1983
California ties No. 3 Arizona, 33-33
Berkeley, Calif.

It seemed all but certain that the Wildcats were on their way to another victory when College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Ricky Hunley raced 57 yards into the end zone to complete the pick-six, giving Arizona a 26-3 lead. However, the Bears rallied and scored four touchdowns, including three for more than 60 yards. The turnaround began with quarterback Gale Gilbert’s 80-yard strike to David Lewis followed by a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dwight Garner. A 60-yard bomb to Arizona receiver Brad Anderson temporarily halted California’s comeback, making it a 33-17 game going into the fourth quarter. However, after wide receiver Andy Bark hauled in a 61-yard pass and fullback Scott Smith plunged in to the end zone from three yards out, the Bears were within three points. Linebacker Hardy Nickerson recovered a Wildcat fumble to set up the game-tying field goal by Randy Pratt with 48 seconds remaining. California finished the season 5-5-1, while Arizona would finish 7-3-1.

Oct. 2, 1954
Arkansas def. TCU, 20-13
Fort Worth, Texas

The Razorbacks won their first game in the state of Texas since 1948 with a dramatic win over TCU. Arkansas tailback George Walker scored a touchdown after an early Horned Frog turnover, and Henry Moore rumbled 48 yards to the end zone to give the Hogs a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. Ray Taylor swept wide on a second-quarter touchdown that finally got the Frogs on the board.  TCU dominated the rest of the night, holding Arkansas to 19 yards and a single first down in the second half. College Football Hall of Fame back Jim Swink tied the game for TCU with another sweep in the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs made one last push to the Razorbacks’ 35-yard line, but Arkansas’ Bobby Proctor intercepted a pass and returned it 63 yards to set up Moore for the game-winning touchdown run. Arkansas finished the season 10th in the final AP poll with an 8-3 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl, while TCU finished 4-6.


Oct. 3, 1964
Virginia def. Virginia Tech, 20-17
Charlottesville, Va.

College Football Hall of Fame coach Jerry Claiborne’s Virginia Tech had beaten rival Virginia seven years in a row. The Cavaliers took a 14-0 lead into halftime behind touchdown runs by halfbacks Carroll Jarvis and John Pincavage. In the third quarter, the Hokies caught a break when tackle Sandy Woody jumped on a fumble to set up quarterback Bobby Owens’ touchdown pass to Bob Churchill. After missing two field goals in the first half, Hokies kicker Billy Cranwell redeemed himself with a 30-yard field goal for a 17-14 edge. Virginia Tech thought they had the win in the books, but end Larry Molinari slipped between two defensive backs to haul in the game-winning touchdown with 20 seconds left. Virginia would finish 1964 with a 5-5 record, while Virginia Tech would go 6-4.


Oct. 5, 1957
Tennessee def. Mississippi State, 14-9
Knoxville, Tenn.

College Football Hall of Fame coach Bowden Wyatt, who had a Hall of Fame career as a player at Tennessee, led the Volunteers to a bounce back win after getting shutout the week before. The defending SEC champs got off to a tough start, allowing Mississippi State to get out to an early 9-0 lead with a first quarter field goal by Bobby Tribble and a three-yard plunge by Molly Halbert. It was not until the fourth quarter that the Tennessee offense finally woke up on a 75-yard drive capped by Neil Smith’s one-yard push into the end zone. With the clock winding down, the Bulldogs faced a crucial fourth down deep in their own territory. Tailback Bobby Gordon fielded Gil Peterson's punt at the Vols’ 45, weaved through the first line of defenders and dashed 55 yards for the winning score. Tennessee ranked 13th in the final AP poll and would go on to beat Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl to finish with an 8-3 record. Mississippi State would finish the season with a 6-2-1 record.

About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF High School Showcases, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF Faculty Salute Initiative presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF also collaborates with the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to release the FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll; awards the William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments and hosted at the New York Athletic Club; and bestows several other major awards at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, and Under Armour. Learn more at

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