December 22, 1979- College Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and Penn State upset No. 15 Tulane at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, 9-6. Despite out-rushing Tulane by 250 yards and posting 27 first downs, the Nittany Lions managed just three Herb Menhardt field goals to provide the winning margin. The victory was Paterno’s seventh bowl win. He will look for his 25th bowl win versus Florida in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa.
OTHER NOTABLE DATES:
December 20, 1975- Miami (Ohio) won its third consecutive Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, a 20-7 triumph for the 16th-ranked RedHawks over South Carolina. In what is now known as the Capital One Bowl, Miami (Ohio) remains the only school to win the bowl game in three consecutive years. The win capped the best three-year run in school history in which the RedHawks posted a 32-1-1 record and won three Mid-American Conference titles.
December 21, 2000- College Football Hall of Fame coach John Robinson’s UNLV Rebels upset Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl, 31-14. The Rebels were successful by ground and by air, outrushing the Razorbacks by 187 yards while quarterback Jason Thomas threw three touchdown strikes. It was the second time UNLV was victorious in its hometown bowl.
December 23, 1986- Boston College upset College Football Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley’s No. 17 Georgia Bulldogs, 27-24, in the first Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, which is now known as the Outback Bowl. Eagles quarterback Shawn Halloran completed 31 of 52 passes for 316 yards, including the game-winning five yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Martin with just 32 seconds remaining.
December 24, 1983- Alabama upset No. 6 SMU, 28-7, in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Tex. The Crimson Tide’s Ricky Moore carried the day, rushing 28 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns. The victory was Alabama’s 22nd bowl win. SMU remains the highest-ranked team to ever play in the Sun Bowl.
December 25, 1988- No. 18 Washington State topped No. 14 Houston in Honolulu’s Aloha Bowl, 24-22. Washington State mounted an early lead, notching 24 second-quarter points. Houston was poised for a comeback victory, but Wazzu defender Tuineau Alipate’s big hit forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Artie Holmes at his own five yard line to preserve the win.
December 26, 1998- No. 23 Missouri bested West Virginia and College Football Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen in the Copper Bowl (currently known as the Insight Bowl) in Tucson, Ariz. The Tigers overcame a prolific outing from Mountaineers gunslinger Marc Bulger, who compiled 429 passing yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort. Missouri engineered the win in part by earning nine points off of blocked punts, returning one 70 yards for a score and blocking another through the West Virginia end for a safety.
This report was researched and written by NFF communications assistant Zach Barnett.
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, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles, and annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings.