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This Week in College Football History: Nov. 24-30
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 146 years.
Published: 11/21/2014 4:45:00 PM
(Pictured: Mississippi State recorded one of the most miraculous comebacks in school history to beat Mississippi in the 1999 Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. Bulldog quarterback Wayne Madkin threw a touchdown to tight end C.J. Sirmones (left) to tie the game with 27 seconds remaining. On the next drive, Mississippi State defensive back Robert Bean tipped a pass that deflected off his foot to Eugene Clinton (right), who returned the interception 27 yards to set up Scott Westerfield’s 44-yard, game-winning field goal in the final seconds. / Photos Courtesy of MSU Athletic Media Relations.)
 
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.

FEATURED MOMENT

Nov. 25, 1999
No. 18 Mississippi State def. No. 23 Mississippi, 23-20
Starkville, Miss.

Mississippi State only needed 30 seconds to record one of the most miraculous comebacks in school history to beat Mississippi in the 1999 Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. The Rebels controlled most of the game as quarterback Romaro Miller threw touchdown passes to Maurice Flournoy and Adam Bettis, building a 20-6 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs only points thus far had come on a 29-yard touchdown run by tailback Dicenzo Miller, but the fourth quarter was known as the “golden period” for Mississippi State. Bulldog quarterback Wayne Madkin threw a pair of touchdown strikes to tight ends Donald Lee and C.J. Sirmones to tie the game with 27 seconds remaining. At their own 24-yard line with only 20 seconds remaining, first-year Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe opted to have Miller pass. Bulldog defensive back Robert Bean tipped a pass that deflected off his foot to Eugene Clinton, who returned the interception 27 yards to set up Scott Westerfield’s 44-yard, game-winning field goal in the final seconds. Cutcliffe’s Rebels went 8-4 in his first season with a win over Oklahoma in the Independence Bowl, and they finished No. 22 in the final AP Poll. The Bulldogs came in at No. 13 after a 10-2 season and a win over Clemson in the Peach Bowl.


OTHER NOTABLE MOMENTS
 

Nov. 24, 1962
No. 3 Wisconsin def. No. 5 Minnesota, 14-9
Madison, Wis.

A win for the Badgers meant a Big Ten title, a Rose Bowl bid and their best finish since 1912. Gophers quarterback Duane Blaska opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jim Cairns. Wisconsin quarterback Ron VanderKelen responded with a 13-yard scoring strike to Ron Leafblad, and a converted extra point gave the Badgers a 7-6 lead. After a Minnesota field goal, Wisconsin got the ball back with just under four minutes to play. A controversial roughing the passer penalty was called against College Football Hall of Famer and Gophers defensive tackle Bobby Bell as he tipped a pass from VanderKelen into the hands of Minnesota linebacker Jack Perkovich. Another 15-yard penalty was tacked on due to an irate Minnesota sideline, placing the ball at the Gophers’ 13 yard line. Badgers fullback Ralph Kurek scored a few plays later on a 2-yard plunge with 1:37 remaining. Flags continued to fly. Two Wisconsin pass interference calls put the Gophers in the Badgers red zone, but Wisconsin defensive back Jim Nettles picked off Blaska in the end zone to seal the win. The Badgers lost a shootout to USC in the national title Rose Bowl game, and they finished No. 2 in the final AP Poll with an 8-2 record. Minnesota finished with a 6-2-1 record and a No. 10 spot in the final AP Poll.

Nov. 26, 1998
No. 11 Tulane def. Louisiana Tech, 63-30
New Orleans, La.

The previous week’s win over Houston clinched Tulane’s first conference title since 1949, and with a win over Louisiana Tech, the Green Wave would have its first undefeated season in almost 70 years. Tulane quarterback Shaun King completed 19-of-26 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first FBS player to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 500 yards in an eleven-game season. Green Wave tailback Toney Converse had on his PF Flyers, running for 182 yards on 24 carries and scoring a school-record four touchdowns. Tulane finished a perfect 12-0 season with a win over BYU in the Liberty Bowl, and they were ranked No. 7 in the final AP Poll, their highest ranking since 1939. The Bulldogs finished 6-6.

Nov. 27, 1954
Rice def. No. 9 Baylor, 20-14
Waco, Texas

A huge goal-line stand by Baylor’s defense, featuring College Football Hall of Fame defensive end Bill Glass, ignited a 99-yard scoring drive for the Bears, giving them a 14-13 lead going into the fourth quarter. However, Rice end James Peters fell on a Baylor fumble in the fourth quarter that led to Hall of Famer Dicky Maegle running in the winning touchdown. Maegle ran for 126 yards on the day, and he scored on a 91-yard punt return. On the other side of the ball, Maegle stopped Bears halfback Del Shofner on fourth-and-goal from the three yard line in the waning seconds. A loss stripped Baylor of a possible Southwest Conference co-title with Arkansas, and despite rumors of the Owls getting a Gator Bowl invite, the Bears were selected instead. Baylor lost to Auburn in the Gator Bowl, finishing 7-4 and No. 18 in the final AP Poll. At 7-3, Hall of Fame coach Jess Neely’s Owls came in one spot behind the Bears in the final rankings.

Nov. 28, 1980
No. 4 Pittsburgh def. No. 5 Penn State, 14-9
State College, Pa.

Pittsburgh won its second straight Lambert Trophy as Rick Trocano, who had moved from quarterback to safety and back to quarterback again, threw and ran for touchdowns behind College Football Hall of Fame offensive linemen Jimbo Covert and Mark May. Trocano’s 16-yard strike to Benjie Pryor put the Panthers ahead 7-3 at halftime. On the first play of the second half, Panthers defensive end Ricky Jackson stripped Penn State’s Hall of Fame tailback Curt Warner, giving Pittsburgh the ball in Nittany Lion territory. The ensuing field goal was good, but a roughing the kicker penalty allowed Trocano to score his second touchdown. A 13-yard touchdown reception for Kenny Jackson brought Penn State within five, but a fourth down stop and an interception by the Panthers defense, featuring Hall of Fame linebacker Hugh Green, held off the Nittany Lions. After defeating Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and Penn State were ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll with a 10-2 record. A loss to Florida State was the only blemish in Pittsburgh’s 11-1 season, which ended with a win over South Carolina in the Gator Bowl and a No. 2 ranking in the final AP Poll.

Nov. 29, 1975
No. 8 Arizona State def No. 12 Arizona, 24-21
Tempe, Ariz.

A WAC title and Fiesta Bowl berth sat on the line for College Football Hall of Fame head coach Frank Kush’s Sun Devils, and Hall of Fame coach Jim Young’s Wildcats gave them a run for their money. Arizona State quarterback Dennis Sproul threw two touchdowns on the day, and he capped off the winning drive in the fourth with a scoring plunge of his own. The game’s most spectacular play occurred as Sun Devil wide receiver and College Football Hall of Famer John Jefferson made a diving eight-yard scoring catch late in the first half to cut Arizona’s lead to 14-10. Arizona State’s “Crunch Bunch” defense, led by Hall of Fame defensive back Mike Haynes, held strong in the final minutes, and they forced four-straight Bruce Hill incompletions on the final possession. Arizona was ranked No. 18 in the final AP Poll at 9-2. The Sun Devils completed a perfect 12-0 season with a win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, and they came in at No. 2 in the final AP Poll.

 

Nov. 30, 2012
No. 19 Northern Illinois def. No. 18 Kent State, 44-37 (2OT)
Detroit, Mich.

There was a lot more at stake than just a MAC title, as the winner would likely earn the conference’s first BCS Bowl berth. Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch ran for three touchdowns, including the winner in the second overtime, and he broke the record for most rushing yards by an FBS quarterback in a single season (previously held by Denard Robinson of Michigan.) With a comfortable 27-13 lead, Northern Illinois had the victory nearly wrapped up, but two Golden Flash touchdowns within 15 seconds of each other quickly erased the deficit. Lynch ran in his second with three minutes to play, but Kent State answered in the final minute with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Spencer Keith to Tim Erjavec to force overtime. The teams traded field goals in the first overtime, and after Lynch scored his final touchdown, the Huskies and 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Nabal Jefferson went on the defensive. The Golden Flashes faced a fourth-and-eight on the Northern Illinois nine yard line, and on the final play, Keith threw an interception in the end zone. The Huskies lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl, and were ranked No. 22 in the final AP Poll with a 12-2 record. Kent State wrapped up an 11-3 season with a loss to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.


Correction

In last week's edition, the entry for Nov. 23, 1974, between Stanford and California incorrectly identified Hall of Famer Jeff Siemon as the Cardinal player who made a key interception. The player who actually made the interception was Jeffrey Siemens. We regret the error.


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