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This Week in College Football History: New Year's Six
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 147 years.
Published: 1/1/2016 11:00:00 AM

(Pictured: College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Bosworth celebrates Oklahoma's 1986 Orange Bowl victory over Penn State, clinching the Sooners'  sixth national title.)

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. 1, 1986
No. 3 Oklahoma def. No. 1 Penn State, 25-10
Orange Bowl – Miami 

Tennessee’s upset of No. 2 Miami earlier in the evening ensured that the Orange Bowl victor would be the true national champion. Oklahoma’s defense, led by linebacker and 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Brian Bosworth, forced five turnovers by a Penn State offense that gave the ball away just 20 times in the regular season. Bosworth made 13 solo tackles. Sooners’ safety Sonny Brown picked off two passes and had two pass break ups, earning defensive MVP honors. Oklahoma took the lead for good when Jamelle Holieway connected with Hall of Fame tight end Keith Jackson on a 71-yard bomb on third-and-24 to take a 10-7 lead. The victory improved the Sooners’ record to 11-1 and gave them their sixth national title and third under Hall of Fame head coach Barry Switzer. Fellow Hall of Fame head coach Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions fell to 11-1 and No. 3 in the final AP Poll. Penn State also fielded Hall of Fame linebacker Shane Conlan, and three former NFF National Scholar-Athletes: linebacker Lance Hamilton, tight end Brian Siverling, and defensive tackle Matthew Johnson. Bosworth played alongside 1986 NFF National Scholar-Athlete and linebacker Evan Gatewood and Hall of Fame guard Tony Casillas



Jan. 1, 1935
Tulane def. No. 15 Temple, 20-14
Sugar Bowl – New Orleans

Tulane hosted College Football Hall of Fame coach Pop Warner’s Temple squad in the first ever Sugar Bowl in the first stadium built solely for football, Tulane Stadium. The Green Wave lost two first-half fumbles within their own red zone that led to two Temple touchdowns. Fullback Dave Smukler threw a seven yard pass to Danny Testa for the first score. Following the second score, Tulane’s Johnny McDaniel received the ensuing kickoff before tossing the ball to Hall of Famer Monk Simons, who dashed up the sideline for a touchdown. Near the end of the third quarter, halfback Howard Bryan produced a large gain, setting up a scoring run by Dick Hardy on the next play. Tulane completed the comeback victory after Temple defender Horace Mowery tipped a pass into the direction of Hardy, who took it in to the end zone. Temple finished with a 7-1-2 record, and Tulane finished 10-1, its winningest season until 1998.

Jan. 1, 1916
Washington State def. Brown, 14-0
Rose Bowl – Pasadena, Calif. 

College Football Hall of Famer and Brown halfback Fritz Pollard became the first African-American to play in the Rose Bowl, gaining just 47 yards in the rain-soaked game. After a scoreless first half, Washington State got on the board on a three-yard run by Ralph Boone, followed by an Arthur Durham extra point. The Cougars extended their lead to 14-0 on a short run by Carl Dietz in the fourth quarter. Dietz was named the MVP of the game. Washington State, coached by Hall of Famer William “Lone Star” Dietz, finished with a 7-0 record, the last perfect season in program history. Brown, under Hall of Fame coach Edward Robinson, ended the season with a 5-4-1 record. Wallace Wade, who would have a Hall of Fame coaching career at Alabama and Duke, played on the line for Brown.

Jan. 1, 1971
No. 4 Notre Dame def. No. 1 Texas, 24-11
Cotton Bowl – Dallas 

Only twice in bowl history had two schools been selected to play in consecutive-year matchups, and College Football Hall of Fame head coach Ara Parseghian’s Notre Dame squad sought revenge after losing to Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal and Texas in the 1970 Cotton Bowl. The Fighting Irish stuffed nine men on the line of scrimmage to hinder the Wishbone offense, resulting in 42 yards rushing and three fumbles by Longhorn fullback Steve Worster. Texas took an early 3-0 lead, but then Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Theismann took control of the game, connecting with 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Thom Gatewood for a 26-yard touchdown and plunging into the end zone on his own for a 14-3 lead. Notre Dame and Texas finished No.2-3 in the final AP Poll, respectively, with 10-1 records. The Longhorns also featured Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jerry Sisemore.

Jan. 1, 1993
No. 6 Syracuse def. No. 10 Colorado, 26-22
Fiesta Bowl – Tempe, Ariz. 

Despite the final outcome, the 1993 Fiesta Bowl started out as a defensive battle as College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartney’s Colorado squad led 7-6 more than halfway through the third quarter before the scoreboard erupted with 29 points in a seven-minute span. Syracuse quarterback Marvin Graves scampered 28 yards to give the Orange a 19-10 lead. Colorado answered with a 16-yard touchdown strike from Kordell Stewart to Charles Johnson to cut the lead to 19-16. On the final play of the third quarter, Syracuse running back Kirby Dar Dar took a handoff on the ensuing kickoff and raced 99 yards for a 26-16 lead. Buffs tailback Lamont Warren rumbled behind the blocking of 1992 William V. Campbell Trophy winner Jim Hansen to pull Colorado within four with 4:28 remaining, but it was not enough as the Orange held on for the win. Syracuse finished with a 10-2 record and a No. 6 ranking. Colorado fell to 9-2-1 and No. 13 in the final AP Poll.

Jan. 1, 1992
No. 12 East Carolina def. No. 21 N.C. State, 37-34
Peach Bowl – Atlanta 

East Carolina’s Cinderella season continued with its fifth fourth-quarter comeback to down N.C. State in the 1992 Peach Bowl. Trailing 17-14 at halftime, the Wolfpack notched 20 unanswered points via quarterback Terry Jordan’s second touchdown pass, a scoring plunge by running back Greg Manior and a 52-yard option pass from fullback Ledel George to Charles Davenport. East Carolina finally responded when Pirate quarterback Jeff Blake scored a touchdown on the ground and another through the air. Down 34-31, East Carolina got the ball back with 2:37 to go, and Blake connected on four-of-five passes for 29 yards, including the game-winner to Luke Fisher with 1:32 remaining. The Pirates’ defense held strong in the final seconds of the game. With a program-best 11-1 record, East Carolina slid up to No. 9 in the final poll. N.C. State remained in the final poll at No. 24 with a 9-3 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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