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This Week in College Football History: New Year’s Six Edition
This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments over the last 147 years.
Published: 12/30/2016 11:00:00 AM
(Pictured: The 1964 Cotton Bowl Classic served as the de facto national championship game, pitting No. 1 Texas, with a perfect 10-0 record, against No. 2 Navy, who finished the regular season with a 9-1 mark behind Heisman Trophy winner and Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach.)

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s This Week in College Football History takes a look back at some of college football's landmark moments that took place during past New Year’s Six bowl games. 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, 1942
No. 12 Oregon State def. No. 2 Duke, 20-16
Rose Bowl – Played in Durham, N.C.

After an Army decree grounded all sporting events on the West Coast due to World War II, the 1942 Rose Bowl Game became the first and only Rose Bowl not played in Pasadena, Calif. at the suggestion of Hall of Fame coach Wallace Wade, the Rose Bowl Game was moved to Duke Stadium in Durham, N.C., where the East Coast team would host the West Coast team for the first time in the game’s history. The 7-2 Oregon State Beavers, who claimed the Pacific Coast Conference title, chose to play Southern Conference champion Duke, which had a perfect 9-0 record and was heavily favored by the time kickoff rolled around. Oregon State, playing in 53-degree weather and drizzle that probably felt more familiar than the sun-drenched Rose Bowl might have, beat Duke 20-16 on the Blue Devils’ home field. The stadium’s capacity was increased from 35,000 to 56,000 for the game via temporary bleachers. The Beavers would move to 8-2 with the victory, while the Blue Devils, led by Hall of Famer Steve Lach, dropped to 9-1.

Jan. 1, 1964
No. 1 Texas def. No. 2 Navy, 28-6
Cotton Bowl – Dallas, Texas

The 1964 Cotton Bowl Classic served as the de facto national championship game, pitting No. 1 Texas, with a perfect 10-0 record, against No. 2 Navy, who finished the regular season with a 9-1 mark behind Heisman Trophy winner and Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. However, it was the Longhorns’ Duke Carlisle who stole the show and led Texas to the 1963 national title. Moved to quarterback at the start of the season, Carlisle passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. As expected, the Texas defense was spectacular, holding an offense that averaged more than 31 points per game to just six, and minus 14 yards rushing. After taking a 21-0 lead into halftime, the Longhorns produced their last score of the game late in the third quarter to boost their lead to 28-0. For the day, Staubach completed a Cotton Bowl record 21 of his 31 passing attempts, and led the Midshipmen to their only touchdown in the fourth quarter, completing four passes for a total of 57 yards on a 75-yard drive. The Longhorns claimed the first of three national titles it would win under Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal, ending the season with a perfect 11-0 record. Hall of Fame coach Wayne Hardin’s Midshipmen would end the year at 9-2.

Jan. 1, 1970
No. 13 Mississippi def. No. 3 Arkansas, 27-22
Sugar Bowl – New Orleans, La.

With their late-season loss to Texas still fresh in their minds, Hall of Fame coach Frank Broyles and Arkansas were eager to get back on track in the Sugar Bowl. However, the Rebels and the Razorbacks traded blows in a highly competitive atmosphere in New Orleans. After a 69-yard scamper by fullback Bo Bowen followed by an 18-yard run by College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning, the Rebels took a commanding 14-0 lead. Arkansas roared back to within twelve before halftime after quarterback Bill Montgomery found Hall of Fame wide receiver Chuck Dicus for a 47-yard score. Ole Miss eventually found themselves with a five-point lead with just over five minutes to play at 27-22. With Arkansas threatening to score once again, Rebels safety Glenn Cannon batted down three passes to halt the Hogs’ progress, then recovered a Dicus fumble to secure the victory. Manning was named the MVP as Hall of Fame coach Johnny Vaught and Ole Miss earned their ninth win of the year, finishing 8-3. Arkansas fell just short of a ten-win season at 9-2.

Jan. 2, 1984
No. 14 Ohio State def. No. 15 Pittsburgh, 28-23
Fiesta Bowl – Tempe, Ariz.

Ohio State won a wild game against Pittsburgh as quarterback Mike Tomczak tossed the 39-yard winning touchdown to wide receiver Thad Jemison with 39 seconds left in the game. Pitt quarterback John Congemi had just led a drive that resulted in a go-ahead field goal for the Panthers with a little over two minutes remaining. Congemi and the Panthers tried to answer Tomczak’s late touchdown pass, making it to the Buckeyes’ 24-yard line in the final, frantic seconds of the game. However, a tackle knocked Congemi out of the game with seven seconds left, and backup Chris Jelic threw two incompletions, giving Ohio State the win. The teams combined for 30 points in the fourth quarter, including a spectacular 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ohio State tailback Keith Byars. Hall of Fame coach Earle Bruce’s Buckeyes finished the season ranked No. 9 with a 9-3 record while the Panthers would finish at No. 18 with an 8-3-1 mark.

Dec. 31, 1985
Army def. Illinois, 31-29
Peach Bowl – Atlanta, Ga.

In a game that saw 16 Peach Bowl records broken or tied, Army defeated Illinois in one of the most exciting games in the bowl’s history. The two teams combined for a Peach Bowl record 863 yards of total offense. Army’s 291 yards on the ground, including 107 by quarterback Rob Healy, proved to be worth more than Illinois’ 401 yards through the air by quarterback Jack Trudeau. Illinois had pulled to within 31-29 with 34 seconds left after a touchdown grab by Hall of Fame receiver David Williams, but the Fighting Illini’s two-point conversion attempt to tie the game was broken up by Army safety Darold Londo. Hall of Fame coach Jim Young’s Black Knights ended the 1985 season with a 9-3 record while Illinois finished at 6-5-1.

Jan. 1, 1991
No. 1 Colorado def. No. 5 Notre Dame, 10-9
Orange Bowl – Miami. Fla.

Colorado wrapped up its first-ever national title after a 91-yard punt return touchdown by Notre Dame Heisman runner-up Raghib “The Rocket” Ismail in the last minute was negated by an illegal block in the back penalty. The 10-9 victory over the No. 5 Fighting Irish gave the Buffs’ their first bowl win in their last eight tries. Notre Dame committed five turnovers, but put together nine points on a second quarter touchdown by running back Ricky Watters and a short field goal by Craig Hentrich. However, the blocked extra point by Buffs defensive back Ronnie Bradford after the Watters touchdown proved to be the difference in the game. Colorado quarterback Charles Johnson would earn MVP honors after subbing in for injured Darian Hagan and leading the Buffs to an 80-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter to take a 10-9 lead. Ismail’s negated touchdown at the end sealed the Colorado victory, giving College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartney’s Buffs an 11-1-1record, the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll and the national title. Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz’s Irish finished No. 6 with a 9-3 record.

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