Special to College Sports Journal
ATLANTA — 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.
In this week’s FCS moment, Charlotte opened its college football era by beating another recent start-up program, FCS Campbell.
Aug. 31, 2013
Charlotte defeated Campbell, 52-7
Charlotte, North Carolina
The Charlotte 49ers introduced their university to the college football world against the Campbell Camels, whose program had started just five years prior. Playing at their brand new home field, Jerry Richardson Stadium, the 49ers began with a bang, defeating the Camels 52-7. The first-ever touchdown came 45 seconds into the game when Charlotte linebacker Mark Hogan intercepted a pass from Campbell quarterback Brian Hudson and returned the ball 32 yards for a score. Charlotte quarterback Matt Johnson threw two first-half touchdowns, and kicker Blake Brewer booted two field goals to give the 49ers a commanding 35-7 lead. The Camels only score occurred near the end of the first half on a one-yard run by quarterback Dakota Wolf. Charlotte completed its first season with a record of 5-6. Campbell finished the season with a 3-9 record.
Sept. 1, 1984
No. 10 Miami (Fla.) defeated No. 17 Florida, 32-20
Defending national champion Miami scored two touchdowns in the last seven seconds of the game for its second tough win in less than a week, defeating Florida 32-20 on Saturday after knocking off No. 1 Auburn on Monday. It looked like the Gators would win the storied rivalry game for the third year in a row when late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Kerwin Bell found wide receiver Frankie Neal for a five-yard touchdown to put Florida up 20-19 with 41 seconds remaining. However, the Hurricanes took a 26-20 lead after quarterback Bernie Kosar capped off a 72-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Eddie Brown with seven seconds left. The Gators had one last shot, but Miami freshman cornerback Tolbert Bain intercepted Bell and returned it 59 yards for the final touchdown. The game would be Florida’s only loss of the year as it finished the season 9-1-1 and the No. 3 ranking. The Hurricanes would finish College Football Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson’s first year as the head coach at No. 18 with an 8-5 record after a loss to UCLA in the Fiesta Bowl.
OTHER NOTABLE MOMENTS
Sept. 2, 1991
Memphis defeated No. 17 Southern California, 24-10
Los Angeles, California
Memphis, which had won just six games over the previous two seasons and had not had a winning season since 1983, held USC scoreless in the second half for a stunning 24-10 upset at the Coliseum. The Trojans took a 10-3 lead into halftime behind tailback Mazio Royster’s 97 rushing yards. However, the Tigers fought back in the fourth quarter as quarterback Keith Benton threw two touchdown passes to give Memphis a 17-10 lead. The ensuing kickoff hopped away from the USC returners and was recovered by Memphis linebacker Rod Brown at the Trojans’ 18-yard line. Three plays later, Xavier Crawford ran in from two yards out to seal the Tigers’ victory. USC never fully recovered from the defeat, winning only three of its next 10 games in 1991, while Memphis finished the season with a better record at 5-6.
Sept. 3, 1994
No. 18 Texas defeated Pittsburgh, 30-28
On the day of College Football Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett’s On-Campus Salute, Panthers running back Curtis Martin emulated the Pitt legend by rushing 28 times for 251 yards behind a line featuring tackle Ruben Brown, a 2015 Hall of Fame inductee. The performance marked the most rushing yards allowed by Texas in its 101-year history, but Martin’s stellar day failed to produce the win for the Panthers and head coach Johnny Majors, a Hall of Famer as a player at Tennessee. Instead, Texas defensive back Taje Allen saved the day when he knocked down Panthers quarterback Sean Fitzgerald’s two-point conversion pass, which would have tied the game with 36 seconds remaining. Texas would wrap up an 8-4 season with a Sun Bowl victory over North Carolina and a No. 25 spot in the final AP Poll. The Panthers finished with a 3-8 record.
Sept. 4, 2004
No. 4 LSU defeated Oregon State, 22-21 (OT)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Oregon State was minutes away from shocking the LSU Tigers, coming off their first national championship season since 1958, in Baton Rouge to kick off the 2004 season. The Tigers gained only 93 yards and trailed 9-0 well into the third quarter before quarterback JaMarcus Russell connected with Skyler Green for a 16-yard score. Beaver signal-caller Derek Anderson led a 65-yard scoring drive on the ensuing possession to put Oregon State back on top 15-7. On the game-tying drive, LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe made catches of 26 and 38 yards, the latter in the end zone with just over a minute remaining, before Russell scrambled for the tying two-point conversion. The Tigers scored first in overtime to take a 22-15 lead. Anderson threw his third touchdown pass of the day on a 19-yard strike to Joe Newton, but kicker Alexis Serna missed his third extra point of the game to allow LSU to escape the upset bid. The Tigers finished Nick Saban’s last season as head coach with a 9-3 record and a No. 16 ranking after a 30-25 loss to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl. Oregon State capped off a 7-5 season with a 38-21 victory over Notre Dame in the Insight Bowl.
Sept. 5, 1981
Lamar defeated Baylor, 18-17
The defending Southwest Conference champion Bears led by College Football Hall of Fame coach Grant Teaff opened the season with an unexpected loss at home to the underdog Cardinals. Baylor struggled on offense, scoring both of their touchdowns off Lamar turnovers and, at one point, Baylor running back Walter Abercrombie fumbled the ball at the Lamar one-yard line. Abercrombie rushed for 50 yards on 16 carries and quarterback Jay Jeffrey mustered up 16 yards through the air. Baylor went ahead 17-15 on a Marty Jimmerson field goal with less than three minutes to play, but Lamar was able to drive down the field, leading to a Mike Marlow field goal with three ticks remaining. The Bears finished their season with a 5-6 record and the Cardinals finished 4-6-1.
Sept. 6, 1980
New Mexico defeated BYU, 25-21
Albuquerque, New Mexico
University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M., housed a standoff between New Mexico and BYU that seemed like a guaranteed win for the Cougars and College Football Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards. Jim McMahon, a fellow Hall of Famer and quarterback of the four-time defending WAC champion Cougars, threw two touchdowns to tight end Clay Brown early in the game, but his high-powered offensive efforts fell short. New Mexico quarterback Brad Wright passed and ran for his team’s two touchdowns while kicker Pete Parks converted four field goals to put the Lobos on top 25-21. New Mexico ended the 1980 campaign with a 4-7 record. BYU’s loss to the Lobos was the only blemish in their 12-1 season that culminated with a 46-45 win against No. 19 SMU in the Holiday Bowl and a No. 12 ranking in the final AP Poll.