This Week in College Football History: Sept. 14-20

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. 


Sept. 15, 1894
Akron defeated Ohio State, 12-6
Columbus, Ohio


In an eight-game series that spans from 1891-2011, the 1894 matchup marks the only Akron (then Buchtel College) victory. From 1893-1894, the Zips were coached by College Football Hall of Famer John W. Heisman, the namesake of the Heisman Trophy. With an unusually tall quarterback on his roster, Heisman developed the “center snap,” which is a commonplace technique in modern football. He went on to coach football at Clemson, Georgia Tech, Penn, Washington & Jefferson and Rice. After his retirement in 1927, Heisman became the first athletic director of the Downtown Athletic Club of New York City, and he founded the National Football Coaches Association. The upset of Ohio State marked Akron’s only contest in 1894, and Ohio State finished the season 6-5.



Sept. 14, 1968
Georgia tied. No. 9 Tennessee, 17-17
Knoxville, Tennessee


The draw between Georgia and Tennessee marked the first collegiate football game played on turf and the last tie between the two schools. The Volunteers took a 7-0 lead into halftime after a short touchdown run by tailback Mike Jones. College Football Hall of Fame defensive back Jake Scott leveled the score with a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Georgia fullback Bruce Kemp barreled 80 yards for a touchdown to help the Bulldogs to a 17-9 lead with eight minutes remaining. Tennessee’s 80-yard drive in the final minutes ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Bubba Wyche to Gary Kreis and a game-tying two-point conversion pass to Ken DeLong. The game also featured Georgia Hall of Famer Bill Stanfill and Tennessee Hall of Famers Steve Kiner and Chip Kell. Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley’sBulldogs finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1946, but a loss to Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl dropped their record to 8-1-2. The SEC Champions finished No. 8 in the final AP Poll. Hall of Fame coach Doug Dickey’s Volunteers finished with an 8-2-1 record and a No. 13 spot in the final AP Poll after a loss to Texas in the Cotton Bowl. 

Sept. 16, 1989
Arizona defeated No. 6 Oklahoma, 6-3
Tucson, Arizona


Oklahoma was no match for Arizona’s stellar defense, as the Wildcats recovered three fumbles and didn’t allow a single passing yard to the Sooners. A muffed punt by Oklahoma wide receiver Otis Taylor led to Wilcats’ kicker Doug Pfaff’s first field goal. Sooners’ fullback Kenyon Rasheed and quarterback Chris Melson each lost a fumble deep in Arizona territory. Wildcats’ fullback Mario Hampton’s one-yard run on fourth-and-one was crucial in setting up Pfaff for his game-winning field goal with two seconds remaining. Arizona finished with an 8-4 record after a 17-10 win over North Carolina State in the Copper Bowl. In their first season with head coach Gary Gibbs, who replaced Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer, the Sooners finished 7-4. 


Sept. 17, 1955

Hawaii defeated Nebraska, 6-0

Lincoln, Nebraska


When the Cornhuskers took on the Rainbow Warriors in Honolulu the prior season, Nebraska embarrassed Hawaii 50-0. The following year, Hawaii’s 29-member team responded outgaining Nebraska’s offense, 318 to 219 yards. The Warriors only connected on three-of-six passes for 54 yards, and the bulk of their 246 rushing yards came from halfback Skippy Dyer (70 yards). The Cornhuksers spoiled a 72-yard drive to the Hawaii eight yard line, losing the ball on downs. With five minutes remaining in the game, Hawaii halfback Bill Taylor ran 37 yards to the Nebraska 7 yard line. From there, fullback Hartwell Frietas powered into the end zone for the only score of the game. On the subsequent possession, Nebraska quarterback Don Erway desperately tried to pass the ball down the field, but nothing came of it. Hawaii ended the 1955 season with a record of 7-4 while Nebraska went 5-5. 


Sept. 18, 1971
Washington def. Purdue, 38-35
Seattle, Washington


Fans of big scoring plays enjoyed watching Washington’s shootout win over Purdue in 1971, which included five scoring plays of more than 30 yards. The Boilermakers scored on a 39-yard run by College Football Hall of Fame halfback Otis Armstrong, a 43-yard scramble by quarterback Gary Danielson and an 80-yard touchdown strike to Darryl Stingley that put Purdue on top 35-31. The Huskies big score came on a 60-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Tom Scott, and their game-winning touchdown came on a 33-yard pass to Scott from Sonny Sixkiller, who threw for a then-school record 387 yards. The 8-3 Huskies finished No. 19 in the final AP Poll, and Purdue finished the season 3-7.

Sept. 19, 1998
Marshall defeated South Carolina, 24-21
Columbia, South Carolina


A sloppy South Carolina team outgained Marshall 458-310 but committed four turnovers, including two within the Thundering Herd’s 10 yard line. The Gamecocks enjoyed a 10-7 lead at halftime, but 1999 William V. Campbell Trophy winner Chad Pennington put Marshall ahead 14-10 after his South Carolina counterpart Anthony Wright threw an interception. The Thundering Herd — in just their second FBS season and coming off the 1996 I-AA national championship — took a 21-10 lead on a trick play midway through the third quarter that ended with tailback Doug Chapman strolling to the end zone untouched. The Gamecocks stormed back to tie it up, and they were threatening in the final minutes. Wright threw another interception that was returned to the South Carolina 20 yard line. Marshall kicker Billy Malashevich booted a 37-yard field goal as time expired to achieve the upset. The Thundering Herd finished the season 12-1 after defeating Toledo in the MAC Championship game and Louisville in the Motor City Bowl. The Gamecocks finished the season 1-10. 


Sept. 20, 1969
No. 10 Missouri defeated Air Force, 19-17
Columbia, Missouri


The highly-favored Missouri Tigers led Air Force 16-7 in the third quarter before the Falcons pulled within six points on a Dennis Leuthauser field goal. Air Force certainly thought it had the upset in the bag when Gary Baxter tossed a 22-yard touchdown strike to Charlie Longnecker, a 1969 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, to take a 17-16 lead. On the ensuing possession, Missouri quarterback Terry McMillan threw a 56-yard bomb to reach the Air Force 21 yard line. Tigers’ kicker Henry Brown tied the Big 8 record for single-game field goals (4) with his game-winning 30-yarder. College Football Hall of Fame coach Dan Devine’s Big 8 Co-Champion Tigers lost to Penn State in the Orange Bowl to finish 9-2 and No. 6 in the final AP Poll. The Falcons finished the season 6-4.