With a national championship on the line, big favorites Arkansas (1966), Texas (1971) and Miami (1986 and 1993) flopped. Here’s a look at seven of the most amazing upheavals in college football history:
1. 1949 Rose Bowl: Northwestern 20, California 14
What made it epic: two controversial calls
Northwestern, seventh in the standings, benefited from two calls in their surprise over the undefeated Golden Bears, who placed fifth. In the fourth quarter, led 14-13, the Wildcats’ Ed Tunnicliff was sent through the air on an attempted tackle and escaped. California recovered, but referee Jimmy Cain blew the game up as Tunnicliff was in the air and before he lost the ball.
“I admit it was quick,” Cain told the San Francisco Examiner. “But it had to be like this, otherwise Tunnicliff could have been seriously injured. In the air, as he was, he was not protected from further punishment and I whistled as fast as I could to. save the boy.
Additionally, Northwestern received a touchdown on a play in which the photos clearly showed full-back Art Murakowski fumbled at the 1-yard line and a Cal player had recovered from a touchdown.
“They’ll be talking about this one until midsummer,” wrote Prescott Sullivan of the San Francisco Examiner. “And some particularly bonkers football confessions may not stop talking about it and arguing about it until the last rites are pronounced for them.”
2. 1957 Sugar bowl: Baylor 13, Tennessee 7
What made it epic: A fight in the third quarter
The second-ranked volunteers had the chance to snatch the national championship away from Oklahoma, which has not been in a bowl game this season. Instead, 15th in the table, Baylor pulled off an astonishing upset in a game that didn’t have many goals but had a major mishap on the pitch.
In a pile-up, Tennessee goaltender Bruce Burnham committed a personal foul then was punched in the face by Baylor’s backside Larry Hickman, who was ejected. Burnham was taken to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion and facial lacerations, although his injuries were not considered serious.
“I feel worse than anyone,” Hickman said afterward. “I hope Burnham will forgive me.”
Fighting aside, the defining play of the game came when Johnny Majors, the Tennessee All-America quarterback and returning man, escaped a fourth-quarter punt deep into his own turf, leading to the decisive score. by Baylor.
3. 1966 Cotton Bowl: LSU 14, Arkansas 7
What made it epic: The end of Arkansas’ 22-game winning streak
A victory for Arkansas, which has seen the nation’s longest winning streak, would have earned it a national championship due to Michigan State’s loss to UCLA’s No.5 at the Rose Bowl.
But that was not to be the case, as unranked LSU set the pace against the quick and talented Razorbacks, who were favored by eight points. “We couldn’t dazzle with them,” said Arkansas quarterback Pat Screen, who instead handed the 5-foot-9, 180-pound backer 21 times to Joe Lambruzo.
“It was his last game,” Screen said of the senior. “I thought he could suck it.
As LSU players made their way to the locker room, some shouted “Sooie Pigs,” Arkansas’ battle cry. Someone said it sounded more like “Phooey Pigs”.
4. 1971 Cotton Bowl: Notre Dame 24, Texas 11
What made it epic: Fighting Irish ends Texas’ 30-game winning streak
There was no consolation from Texas among the best after their three-year winning streak wiped out, let alone their national title aspirations. Notre Dame, sixth in the standings, took the victory on three touchdowns from quarterback Joe Theismann (one assist, two down).
“The end did not come with a bang, but with a moan,” wrote Bill Halstead of the Austin American-Stateman about the scene in the Texas locker room. “The sounds were those of adult men releasing their emotions in an age-old fashion when no other method is available.”
Former Fighting Irish legendary coach Frank Leahy said: “I have never seen a better performance from a Notre Dame team.”
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5. 1987 Fiesta Bowl: Penn State 14, Miami 10
What made it epic: Miami’s top-ranked revenue collapse
Many expected the first-seeded Miami favorite with 6.5 points to win easily over second-seeded Penn State. The Hurricanes, dressed in military fatigues, looked extremely confident when they arrived at the airport for the game in Arizona.
“We have young people [who] like to express themselves, “Miami coach Jimmy Johnson said.” They’re very cowardly, probably more cowardly than some of the other teams. “
But the Nittany Lions won the national title by stopping the Hurricanes’ powerful offense and forcing seven turnovers. “It’s hard to swallow,” said Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who threw five interceptions.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno said, “Our defense played as well as I’ve seen a college defense play.”
6. Sugar bowl 1993: Alabama 34, Miami 13
What made it epic: Alabama stuns Miami to win national title
Miami, a 10-point favorite and on a 29-game winning streak dating back to 1990, boasted a stingy defense and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Gino Torretta. But the Alabama No.2 won the national title by dominating both lines of scrimmage and intercepting Torretta three times.
The Crimson Tide edged Miami, 267-48, led by running back Derrick Lassic and his two touchdowns. “They came out talking. That’s their style, “he said.” As the game progressed and we started hammering them, the conversation was at a minimum. “
Wrote Jim Johnston of the Announcer from Montgomery (Alabama): Gino Torretta was supposed to be headlining this show, but instead he was presented by an Alabama pass rush who refused to allow him to take center stage enough. long to complete a pass. “
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7. 2007 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42
What made it epic: A phenomenal finish of “Cinderella” Boise State
Boise State, ninth in the standings, was the darling of the 2006 season, going 12-0. The Broncos were so dominant that there was a discussion about whether Idaho’s off-the-beaten-path powerhouse deserved a chance to win the national championship.
Boise took a 28-10 lead before seventh-placed Oklahoma scored 25 straight points to take a 35-28 lead with one minute remaining. But the Broncos tied the game with seven seconds left on a successful (and rarely used) hook and side play on the fourth and -18, then won the overtime game on the rarely played “Statue of Liberty” game on the. decisive two-point conversion.
On hook and side play, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said, “They did it perfectly.”
“It would have been easy to give us up with just a minute to go,” said Broncos quarterback Jared Zabransky. “But we had a lot of magic left.” But not enough magic to win the national championship, which was awarded to Florida.