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This Week in College Football History: Dec. 28-Jan. 3
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 147 years.
Published: 12/28/2015 3:00:00 PM

(Pictured: College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Tressel consults his quarterback Craig Krenzel, the 2003 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient, during the Buckeyes' national championship victory over Miami (Fla.) in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.)

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.


Jan. 3, 2003
No. 2 Ohio State def. No. 1 Miami (Fla.), 31-24
Fiesta Bowl – Tempe, Ariz. 

College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Tressel and Ohio State handed Miami its first loss in 34 games in a double-overtime BCS Championship thriller in 2003. The Hurricanes struck first on a Ken Dorsey touchdown pass to Roscoe Parrish, answered by two rushing touchdowns by Buckeyes’ quarterback and 2003 William V. Campbell Trophy winner Craig Krenzel and tailback Maurice Clarett. Miami tailback Willis McGahee scored on a nine-yard run to cut the lead to 17-14, and Parrish dashed 50 yards on a punt return to set up Todd Sievers’ tying field goal on the final play of regulation. Hurricane tight end Kellen Winslow hauled in a short touchdown pass from Dorsey on the first overtime possession. Facing a fourth-and-goal situation at the Miami five-yard line, Ohio State caught a break on a controversial pass interference call that led to a quarterback sneak by Krenzel to level the score. Clarett put the Buckeyes ahead 31-24 on a short run, and the Ohio State defense batted down a fourth-down pass by Dorsey to claim the 2002 National Championship. The Buckeyes claimed the school’s seventh national championship and first since 2002 with a perfect 14-0 record. Miami finished No. 2 in the nation with a 12-1 record.  



Dec. 28, 1963
Western Kentucky def. Coast Guard (Conn.), 27-0
Tangerine Bowl – Orlando, Fla. 

Western Kentucky faced a tough Tangerine Bowl opponent in Coast Guard, who entered the game as the first undefeated team in academy history while allowing a program-low 42 points all season. The Bears’ defense, however, proved no match for the Hilltoppers and the Burt brothers, Jim and John. The two combined for 76 yards rushing to help set up both of quarterback Sharon Miller’s touchdown passes. Western Kentucky earned their third-straight shutout victory, ending the season with a 10-0-1 record. Coached by College Football Hall of Fame player Otto Graham, Coast Guard fell to 8-1-0. 

Dec. 29, 1979
Missouri def. No. 16 South Carolina, 24-14
Hall of Fame Bowl – Birmingham, Ala. 

South Carolina went the distance on the first possession, scoring on a 20-yard pass from Garry Harper to Zion McKinney. Missouri, however, took control of the game with a 17-point second-quarter scoring spree. After a Missouri field goal from Ron Verrilli, the Gamecocks fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting up a 28-yard touchdown strike from Phil Bradley to David Newman. Bradley scored a second time on the ground to solidify a 17-6 halftime lead. Harper answered in the third quarter with an 11-yard scramble and a two-point conversion pass to McKinney to cut the lead to three. Led by linebacker Eric Berg, the Tigers’ defense shut out South Carolina for the rest of the game, despite College Football Hall of Fame tailback George Rogers racking up 133 yards for the Gamecocks. South Carolina fell to 8-4, and Missouri finished with a 7-5 mark. 

Dec. 30, 1994
Tennessee def. No. 17 Virginia Tech, 45-23
Gator Bowl – Gainesville, Fla. 

Marking the 50th anniversary of the game, the Gator Bowl moved to "The Swamp" as the traditional Jacksonville site was being renovated for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tennessee, winners of its last five, and Virginia Tech, losers of three of their last four, combined for a bowl record point total. Running back James Stewart became the Volunteers’ new career rushing leader and accounted for four touchdowns in the win. Future William V. Campbell Trophy recipient Peyton Manning threw for 189 yards and a touchdown, not long after being named the SEC’s Freshman of the Year. Fellow freshman signal-caller Brandon Stewart led two more scoring drives to build a 35-7 halftime lead. Coached by College Football Hall of Famer Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee jumped into the final AP Poll at No. 22 with an 8-4 record. The Hokies dropped out of the poll with an 8-4 record as well. 

Dec. 31, 1992
Baylor def. No. 22 Arizona, 20-15
Sun Bowl – El Paso, Texas 

College Football Hall of Fame coach and NFF Board Member Grant Teaff closed out his 21-year career with an upset victory over Arizona in the 1992 Sun Bowl. The Wildcats established an early 10-0 lead on a Steve McLaughlin field goal and a seven-yard touchdown run by quarterback George Malauulu. Arizona’s defense, led by Hall of Famers Rob Waldrop and Tedy Bruschi, failed to stop Baylor on two big plays by wide receiver Melvin Bonner, who would claim game MVP honors. Bonner outgained the rest of the team 130-119 on touchdown receptions of 61 and 69 yards in the second and third quarters, respectively. Trailing 14-10, Malauulu was stuffed at the goal line on a fourth-and-goal situation. Two fourth-quarter field goals for the Bears sealed the win and a 7-5 record. Arizona wrapped up the season with a 6-5-1 record. 

Jan. 1, 1898
Cincinnati def. Southern Athletic Club, 16-0
New Orleans 

Considered a precursor to the college football bowl era, Cincinnati was challenged by the Southern Athletic Club following the 1897 season in a postseason game in New Orleans. Traveling with just 14 players, the Bearcats became the first school in Ohio to travel south for a postseason game. Accounts of the game have Cincinnati beating the Southern Athletic Club 16-0. The Bearcats finished with a 9-1-1 record, with the only loss coming at the hands of Carlisle (Pa.).

Jan. 2, 1984
UCLA def. No. 4 Illinois, 45-9
Rose Bowl – Pasadena, Calif. 

The Big Ten became losers of nine of the last 10 Rose Bowls as College Football Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue and UCLA thumped Illinois in a rematch of the 1947 “Granddaddy of Them All,” which was the first official pairing of Big Ten and Pac-10 teams. The Bruins, sporting the worst record of any Rose Bowl participant, opened the scoring after a fumble on a blocked field goal return gave UCLA the ball on the Illini 14-yard line. The Bruins scored four plays later on a short pass form Rick Neuheisel to Paul Bergmann. Neuheisel tossed three more touchdown passes to tie the bowl record and give UCLA a 28-3 lead at halftime. The Bruins also racked up 213 rushing yards on the Big Ten’s best defense. UCLA’s defense didn’t allow a single rushing yard and forced six turnovers. The Bruins finished with an 8-4-1 record and a No. 17 ranking. Illinois, featuring Hall of Fame wide receiver David Williams, fell to No. 10 with a 10-2 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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