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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

This Week in College Football History: Nov. 28 – Dec. 4


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 143 years. 


This Week in College Football History:
Nov. 28 – Dec. 4



Coach Tom Osborne Credit: University of Nebraska

November 29, 1996 – With identical 7-0 conference records, No. 5 Colorado marched to Lincoln, Neb., to face College Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne and No. 4 Nebraska for the right to play in the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game. With the game played in a driving rain, neither offense was able to manufacture much momentum. All-American defensive end Grant Wistrom helped limit prolific Colorado quarterback Koy Detmer to just 11-of-39 passing for 226 yards with two interceptions, including a 21-yard touchdown return by Nebraska linebacker Jay Foreman. Nebraska tailback DeAngelo Evans rose off the bench to rush for 123 yards and a touchdown in place of injured starter Ahman Green, which proved to be enough for a 17-12 Cornhuskers win. However, Nebraska was stunned one week later in St. Louis by unranked Texas in the first Big 12 Championship Game. Click here to see a video of the game.


November 28, 1942 – Holy Cross recorded the biggest victory over a No. 1 ranked team when they toppled Boston College 55-12 in Boston’s Fenway Park. The Eagles, featuring future College Football Hall of Famer Mike Holovak at fullback, entered the game having surrendered just 19 points in their previous eight games and averaging greater than 31 points per outing, while Holy Cross claimed just a 4-4-1 record entering the game. Johnny Bezemes led the Crusaders with two touchdown catches, one touchdown pass and an interception returned 64 yards for another score while the Holy Cross defense, featuring future College Football Hall of Famer George Connor on the defensive line, held Boston College nearly 20 points below its season average. No other school has defeated a top-ranked foe by more than 34 points in the history of college football.

November 30, 1968 – Sitting just 10 points behind Ohio State in the AP poll, College Football Hall of Fame coach John McKay and No. 2 USC squared off with No. 9 Notre Dame and its College Football Hall of Fame coach Ara Parseghian in Los Angeles. Future College Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Theismann made his first start and promptly threw his first of four interceptions, which was returned 21 yards by Sandy Durko for a touchdown to open the scoring. Notre Dame rebounded by registering three straight touchdowns, capped by a 13-yard Theismann scoring catch, to take a 21-7 lead into the half. Future College Football Hall of Fame tailback O.J. Simpson was limited to 55 rushing yards on the day but notched his 22nd touchdown of the year to pull the Trojans within seven, and quarterback Steve Sogge tied the game with a 40-yard strike to Sam Dickerson. After Fighting Irish kicker Scott Hempel missed a 33-yard field goal with 33 seconds to play, the game ended in a 21-21 draw. The tie allowed Ohio State to stay ahead of the Trojans, giving the national championship to College Football Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes and the Buckeyes.

December 1, 2001 – No. 1 Miami (Fla.) narrowly held off No. 13 Virginia Tech 26-24 in Blacksburg, Va., to clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl. The Hurricanes, who had not win at Lane Stadium since 1992, reeled off 20 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 20-3 lead into the locker room. Trailing 26-10 entering the fourth quarter, Virginia Tech climbed within two after Brandon Manning returned a block punt 22 yards with 6:03 remaining but Grant Noel’s ensuing two-point pass fell from the hands of wide receiver Ernest Wilford and landed incomplete. Miami safety Ed Reed saved his team’s national championship hopes by ending the Hokies’ next two drives with interceptions, becoming the school’s all-time leader in the process, before Virginia Tech’s final drive ended on downs and Miami was seeing roses.

December 2, 1978 – College Football Hall of Fame inductee Marty Lyons and No. 2 Alabama clinched the SEC title with a 34-16 win over Auburn in Birmingham, Ala. Crimson Tide quarterback Jeff Rutledge was the star of the game, completing 13-of-21 passes for 174 yards with three touchdowns, setting Alabama’s single-game and career touchdown passing records in the process. The win spring boarded College Football Hall of Fame coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s team into a 1 vs. 2 showdown with Penn State in the Sugar Bowl, an eventual 14-7 win for the Crimson Tide.

December 3, 1999 – No. 9 Marshall defeated Western Michigan 34-30 in Huntington, W. Va., to win the MAC championship and claim a 12-0 regular season. Behind quarterback Tim Lester (27-of-41 passing for 282 yards and two touchdowns) and running back Robert Sanford (32 carries for 163 yards), the Broncos built a shocking 23-0 third quarter lead. Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington, who would win the William V. Campbell Trophy three days later, threw two touchdowns sandwiched around a Doug Chapman 24-yard scoring jaunt to bring the Thundering Herd within three at 23-20. Chapman scored again early in the fourth quarter to put Marshall on top at 27-23, but the Broncos responded with a touchdown of their own to reclaim a 30-27 lead with 7:20 to play. With barely over a minute to play, Pennington converted a fourth-and-six pass, scrambled for 33 yards and hit running back Eric Pinkerton for the winning touchdown, the 100th of his career, with four seconds to play. The win gave Marshall its perfect season and third consecutive conference crown.

December 4, 1971 – San Diego State and North Texas combined set a college football record for total plays in a regulation game as the Aztecs defeated the Eagles 44-28 in San Diego. San Diego State ran 99 plays on the day while North Texas countered with 97 for a grand total of 196, a record that stood until 2003 when Arkansas and Kentucky combined to run 202 plays in a game that lasted seven overtimes.


This report was researched and written by NFF Communications Assistant Zach Barnett. Click here to read this story online.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION AND 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 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. For more information, please visit

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