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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 29-Jan. 4
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 146 years.
Published: 12/26/2014 11:00:00 AM
(Pictured: In the first matchup of a No. 1 and No. 2 team since 1946, No. 1 USC defeated No. 2 Wisconsin in the 1963 Rose Bowl. In the fourth quarter, College Football Hall of Fame end Hal Bedsole (No. 19 in dark jersey) caught a 57-yard touchdown pass for the Trojans' last score of the game, which put them ahead 42-14 with 14 minutes remaining.)

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.


Jan. 1, 1963
No. 1 USC def. No. 2 Wisconsin, 42-37
Rose Bowl – Pasadena, Calif.

The 1963 Rose Bowl was the first matchup of a No. 1 and No. 2 team since Army and Notre Dame tied in 1946. USC used trickery to open up the scoring as quarterback Pete Beathard, the field goal holder, stood up and pitched a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ron Butcher. On Wisconsin’s following drive, College Football Hall of Fame end Pat Richter caught a pass that set up Ralph Kurek’s short scoring run. Richter finished the day with 163 yards on 11 catches. Damon Bane returned an interception for a touchdown, and halfback Ron Heller swept 25 yards for a touchdown to swing the score back in the Trojans favor, 21-7. In the fourth quarter, a 57-yard touchdown pass to Hall of Fame end Hal Bedsole put USC ahead 42-14 with 14 minutes remaining. As fans headed for the exits, the Badgers began a rally that left them down 42-30 with 2:40 to go. Richter caught a touchdown pass that cut the deficit to five, but Wisconsin could not complete the comeback on their final drive. College Football Hall of Fame head coach John McKay led the Trojans to a perfect 11-0 season and their first national title since 1939. Wisconsin finished No. 2 in the final AP Poll at 8-2.


Dec. 29, 2006
Texas Tech def. Minnesota, 44-41 (OT)
Insight Bowl - Tempe, Ariz.

Texas Tech came charging back from a 38-7 deficit with a quarter and a half to play to stage the greatest comeback in bowl history. Red Raiders quarterback Graham Harrell, a 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, threw the first of his two touchdown passes to Joel Filani with under five minutes remaining in the third quarter to begin the comeback. Filani caught 11 passes for 162 yards, and became the Red Raiders all-time receiving leader. After Harrell tossed his second touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, he found the end zone on the ground with 7:49 left to cut the lead to 38-28. Harrell completed 36 of 55 passes for 445 yards. Texas Tech running back Shannon Woods scored the second of his trio of rushing touchdowns in the final minutes, and kicker Alex Trlica nailed a 52-yard field goal as time expired to knot the game at 38-38. Minnesota booted a field goal in their first overtime series, but Woods became the hero, punching it in from three yards out for the win. Texas Tech improved to 8-5, while Minnesota fell to 6-7.

Dec. 30, 1999
Boise State def. Louisville, 34-31
Humanitarian Bowl – Boise, Idaho

Despite playing in their home stadium, the odds were against Boise State, playing in the programs first Division I bowl game in just its fourth year at the FBS level. Louisville found the scoreboard first on an early field goal, but Broncos quarterback Bart Hendricks answered with a short touchdown run. The Cardinals continued the high scoring first quarter with a 54-yard bomb from Chris Redman to Arnold Jackson. Hendricks turned the tables again with a four-yard touchdown pass to Shae Swan to take a 14-10 lead. Louisville’s Zek Parker returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, a 17-14 lead and the fourth lead change in the first quarter. The advantage shifted twice in the second quarter as Shanaurd Harts returned an interception 80 yards that thwarted a Louisville drive, and Redman found Damian Dorsey in the end zone to make it 24-21. Nick Calaycay booted field goals of 26 and 46 yards to put the Broncos back on top 27-24. The teams traded rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but a second interception for Redman in the final minute sealed the Boise State victory. The Broncos improved their record to 10-3, while the Cardinals fell to 7-5.

Dec. 31, 1981
No. 16 Michigan def. No. 19 UCLA, 33-14
Bluebonnet Bowl - Houston

The start of the game was delayed as College Football Hall of Fame coaches Bo Schembechler and Terry Donahue argued over the use of a visible play clock. The Big Ten rules prevailed, and the clock went unused. The clock debacle was no worry for the Wolverines, as their offensive arsenal unleashed on UCLA, enjoying a 212-0 edge in total offense at one point. Michigan tailback Butch Woolfork rushed for 186 yards and a touchdown, and Hall of Fame wide receiver Anthony Carter caught six passes for 127 yards and a score. Quarterback Steve Smith completed nine-of-15 passes for 152 yards with a touchdown on the ground and through the air. Bruins quarterback Tom Ramsey was the one bright spot for UCLA, throwing two touchdown strikes in the second half and 162 yards in the game. His offense was no match for the Wolverines, who outgained UCLA 488-195 yards and doubled the Bruins' first downs. Michigan won their second bowl game in the calendar year after losing their first seven bowls under Schembechler. Michigan finished No. 12 in the final AP Poll with a 9-3 record. UCLA fell out of the top 25 with a 7-4-1 mark.

Jan. 2, 1978
No. 5 Notre Dame def. No. 1 Texas, 38-10
Cotton Bowl – Dallas

With No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Michigan contracted to play in other bowl games, Texas was pitted against No. 5 Notre Dame to make their title claim. Texas looked to avenge the upset loss at the hands of Notre Dame in the 1971 Cotton Bowl. A hard-hitting Irish defense, led by College Football Hall of Fame defensive end Ross Browner, forced six Longhorn fumbles throughout the day. Hall of Fame tailback and Heisman Trophy-winner Earl Campbell rushed for 116 yards, but was kept out of the end zone. Texas’ lone touchdown came as time expired just before halftime as Randy McEachern tossed a 13-yard scoring pass to Mike Lockett. Notre Dame halfback Vagas Ferguson rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns, and halfback Terry Eurick added two scores as well. College Football Hall of Fame head coach Dan Devine claimed his only national championship as Notre Dame finished atop the final AP Poll. Texas fell to fifth in the final AP Poll. The Longhorns and the Irish both finished with 11-1 records.

Jan. 3, 2008
No. 8 Kansas def. No. 5 Virginia Tech, 24-21
Orange Bowl – Miami, Fla.

The 2007 season was the finest in Kansas history, receiving their highest ranking in the AP Poll (No. 2) and recording the most wins in program history (11). The Jayhawks looked to add an Orange Bowl victory to that list of accomplishments. Turnovers led to 17 points for Kansas, including 7 on a 60-yard interception return by Aqib Talib to put the Jayhawks on the board first. Midway through the second quarter, 2009 National Scholar-Athlete and quarterback Todd Reesing capped off a 59-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown strike to increase the Jayhawk lead to 17-0. Just before halftime, Hokies running back Branden Ore plunged into the end zone for a touchdown and Virginia Tech’s first points. Coach Frank Beamer’s Hokies cut the lead to three early in the second half as wide receiver Justin Harper returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown. Reesing added a second touchdown on the ground, and the Hokies came within three yet again when Harper hauled in a touchdown pass with three minutes remaining. Kansas ran down the clock to clinch their first BCS bowl victory, while Virginia Tech dropped their fourth consecutive BCS bowl game. With a 12-1 record, Kansas finished No. 7 in the final AP Poll. Virginia Tech fell to No. 9 in the final AP Poll with an 11-3 record.

Jan. 4, 1999
No. 1 Tennessee def. No. 2 Florida State, 23-16
Fiesta Bowl – Tempe, Ariz.

The BCS staged its first ever title game in the desert, with Florida State as a surprising favorite over No. 1 Tennessee. College Football Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden led the Seminoles to their 12th straight season with double-digit wins, and Hall of Fame coach Phillip Fulmer coached his Vols to their first undefeated season since 1956. Both teams looked sloppy from the long layoff, as neither team scored in the first quarter. Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin connected with fullback Shawn Bryson for the first score of the game and a 7-0 second quarter lead. Seminoles quarterback Marcus Outzen, starting in place of 2000 National Scholar-Athlete Chris Weinke, was intercepted by Dwayne Goodrich. Goodrich took the ball 54 yards to a touchdown, earning defensive MVP honors. Florida State picked off Martin on the following possession, which led to a one-yard plunge by fullback William McCray. Sebastian Janikowski’s extra point was blocked, but he booted a field goal just before halftime to cut the lead to 14-9. Martin connected with wide receiver Peerless Price for the second time of 70+ yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Price caught four passes for 199 yards, earning offensive MVP honors. Kicker Jeff Hall tacked on a field goal to put the Vols ahead 23-9, and Outzen cut the lead back to five on a 7-yard scoring scamper. The Tennessee defense held off the Seminoles, clinching their first national championship since 1951. Florida State fell to No. 3 in the final AP Poll with an 11-2 record.
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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 prominently displayed at its official home inside 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, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at

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