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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 7-13
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 147 years.
Published: 12/4/2015 3:00:00 PM

(Pictured: UCLA quarterback Bob Waterfield threw a crucial touchdown pass to lead the Bruins to their first victory over USC in program history in 1942.)

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 147 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.


Dec. 12, 1942
No. 13 UCLA def. USC, 14-7
Los Angeles 

UCLA earned its first victory over USC in nine tries in the battle for the Victory Bell, dating back to 1929. The Bruins’ star quarterback Bob Waterfield completed only two passes on the day, but one went for a 42-yard touchdown pass to Burr Baldwin for a 7-0 lead. A touchdown run by Ken Snelling built a 14-0 lead, allowing the defense to take over the game. UCLA, including College Football Hall of Famer Al Sparlis, advanced to its first bowl game in program history. Hall of Fame player-turned-coach Babe Horrell’s Bruins fell to Georgia in the Rose Bowl to finish the season with a 7-4 record and a No. 13 ranking. USC ended the season with a 5-5-1 record. 



Dec. 7, 1946
Southern Mississippi def. Havana University (Cuba), 55-0
Havana, Cuba 

Southern Mississippi hopped on a flight to Havana, Cuba, to take on Havana University in what is known as the last-ever Bacardi Bowl. In the program’s first-ever bowl game, the Golden Eagles were paced by halfbacks Buster Mullin and James Bell, each of whom scored twice. Havana athletic officials had expressed concern that the game might end in a fight because of the Cubans' "hot temperament," but the contest was unusually clean, with only two penalties called. The victory gave Southern Miss a 7-3 record on the year. 

Dec. 8, 1888
Cincinnati tied Miami (Ohio), 0-0
Oxford, Ohio 

In 1888, Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio) played the first edition of the Battle for the Bell, now the second most-played rivalry (120) in college football history at the FBS level behind Minnesota and Wisconsin’s annual battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe (125). The original bell hung in Miami's Harrison Hall near the site of the first game, and it was used to ring in Miami victories. The traveling trophy tradition began a few years later when some Cincinnati fans "borrowed" the bell. The Bearcats and Redhawks played to a 0-0 draw through freezing rain in what was also the first intercollegiate football game in the State of Ohio. The tie marked the only game of the season for Miami, and Cincinnati finished 1-0-1 after an 8-6 victory over Walnut Hills Gym. 

Dec. 9, 1989
Air Force tied No. 23 Hawaii, 35-35

Air Force converted three of four Hawaii turnovers into touchdowns to force a high-scoring tie with the ranked Rainbow Warriors, who were on their way to their first-ever bowl game. Falcons fullback Rodney Lewis accounted for four Air Force touchdowns, including the tying score with three minutes left in the game. Hawaii had taken a 35-28 lead four minutes earlier on running back Jamal Farmer’s second touchdown run, a 36-yard dash to bring his game total up to 242 yards. Farmer finished the season with an NCAA freshman single-season record 18 rushing touchdowns. Rainbow Warrior kicker Jason Elam snapped a string of 20 consecutive field goals when he missed a 47-yard attempt as time expired. Hawaii finished the season with a 9-3-1 record after a loss to Michigan State in the Aloha Bowl, and Air Force finished with an 8-4-1 record after a loss to Mississippi in the Liberty Bowl. The Falcons, coached by College Football Hall of Famer Fisher DeBerry, featured running back and 1990 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient Chris Howard. 

Dec. 10, 1966
No. 9 Miami (Fla.) def. Virginia Tech, 14-7
Liberty Bowl – Memphis 

With College Football Hall of Fame defensive back Frank Loria making tackles all over the field, Virginia Tech’s defense held Miami to just 16 yards of total offense in the first half of the 1966 Liberty Bowl. Hokies’ halfback Tony Francisco plunged to a first-quarter touchdown after defensive back Jimmy Richards blocked a Hurricane punt at the 21-yard line. Both the Miami offense and defense came to life in the second half, holding Virginia Tech scoreless and tying the game on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Bill Miller to Joe Mira. Hurricane fullback Doug McGee scored the game-winner from the one-yard line. Miami, including Hall of Fame linebacker Ted Hendricks, finished with an 8-2-1 record and a No. 9 ranking. Hall of Fame coach Jerry Claiborne and his Hokies also finished 8-2-1. 

Dec. 11, 1982
Wisconsin def. Kansas State, 14-3
Independence Bowl – Shreveport, La. 

After four postseason losses, Wisconsin won its first bowl game in school history against a Kansas State squad making its postseason debut. Badgers’ quarterback Randy Wright threw two touchdowns, and Wisconsin’s defense held the Wildcats to just a 29-yard field goal by Steve Willis. Wright connected with Tim Stracka for an 87-yard touchdown strike, the longest play in school history, to close the third quarter and extend Wisconsin’s lead to 14-3. Kansas State managed just 192 yards against the Badgers’ defense, led by Tim Krumrie’s 13 tackles. Frigid conditions accounted for the teams combining for five turnovers, 14 punts and 14 penalties. Wisconsin finished the season with a 7-5 record, and Kansas State ended with a 6-5-1 mark. 

Dec. 13, 1969
Colorado def. Alabama, 47-33
Liberty Bowl – Memphis

Wild scoring fluctuations provided for an entertaining Liberty Bowl, as Colorado built a big lead early on before Alabama rallied behind backup quarterback Neb Hayden for a two-point lead. However, the Buffs put up 16 unanswered points in the fourth-quarter to seal the victory. College Football Hall of Fame tailback Bobby Anderson scored his first touchdown as Colorado established a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Crimson Tide tailback Johnny Musso, a Hall of Famer and 1971 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, scored a touchdown to bring Alabama within five points, but the Buffs answered with a tricky handoff on the ensuing kickoff that sprung tailback Steve Engel for a 91-yard return for a touchdown just 46 seconds before halftime. Hayden threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter to give the Tide a 33-31 lead, but Anderson scored the second two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. The Colorado defense, led by defensive back and 1970 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Jim Cooch, got Hayden four times behind the line of scrimmage, including one for a safety. The Buffs finished the season with an 8-3 record and a No. 16 ranking, while Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant’s Alabama squad finished with a 6-5 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 William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, SKP, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at

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