This Week in College Football History: Sept. 28-Oct. 4

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. 

This week’s special moment involving current FCS teams is a historic game at Yankee Stadium that featured two of the great HBCU programs of its era, Morgan State and Grambling.

Sept. 28, 1968
Morgan State defeated Grambling State, 9-7
New York City 

More than 60,000 fans showed up at Yankee Stadium to witness the first matchup of HBCU teams in New York City in the inaugural New York Urban League Classic, a fundraising event for the Urban League’s street academy training programs in NYC. College Football Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson’s star quarterback James Harris was nursing an injured ankle and missed the game. On Morgan State’s opening possession, quarterback Charles Harrison hit Raymond Chester for a 48-yard touchdown pass to give the Bears a 7-0 lead. Morgan State would hold on for the 9-7 upset after a goal-line stand in the final seconds. College Football Hall of Fame coach Earl Banks’ Bears finished with an 8-1 record and their fourth consecutive Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title. The Tigers finished with a 9-2 record after a 34-7 win over Sacramento State in the Pasadena Bowl.


Sept. 30, 1995
Army West Point tied Rice, 21-21
West Point, New York

Nearly 50 former Army football players from the unbeaten national champion teams of the 1940s gathered in West Point for the 50th reunion of the 1944 National Championship squad. The reunion featured six retired generals, 16 colonels and College Football Hall of Famers Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis, Doug Kenna, Joe Steffy and Arnold Tucker. The 1995 Black Knights trailed 21-7 in the third quarter, but battled back and cut the Owls’ lead to 21-18 with 1:46 remaining. Quarterback Ronnie McAda completed five passes for 41 yards and rushed for six yards on fourth-and-four to bring Army to the Rice 27-yard line. Kicker J Parker went out and booted a game-tying 44-yard field goal as time expired. Army finished the season 5-5-1 and the Owls finished 2-8-1. 


Sept. 29, 1990
No. 5 Tennessee tied No. 3 Auburn, 26-26
Auburn, Alabama

Tennessee, led by College Football Hall of Fame Tennessee halfback-later-turned-coach Johnny Majors, thought it had the upset in the bag. Two touchdowns by fullback Greg Amsler and an 82-yard Alvin Harper touchdown reception gave the Volunteers a 26-9 edge early in the fourth quarter. Auburn quarterback Stan White, who tied the school record for single-game completions (30), followed up a field goal by Jim Von Wyl with a touchdown pass that closed the gap to 26-19. White threw his second touchdown pass to Greg Taylor with just under two minutes to play, tying the game at 26-26. Tennessee kicker Greg Burke missed the game-winning field goal with 15 seconds remaining, preserving Auburn’s undefeated record. The Volunteers finished the 1990 season with a 9-2-2 record, an SEC title, a Sugar Bowl victory and a No. 8 ranking. Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye and the Tigers finished No. 19 in the AP Poll after a win in the Peach Bowl capped off an 8-3-1 season.

Oct. 1, 1983
California tied No. 3 Arizona, 33-33
Berkeley, California

Arizona’s hopes of a Rose Bowl berth took a turn for the worse in a 33-33 tie with California in 1983. Wildcats’ College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Ricky Hunley returned an interception 57 yards to the end zone, giving Arizona a 26-3 lead. The Golden Bears responded, recording four touchdowns in seven minutes. The scoring spree began with an 80-yard touchdown strike to tight end David Lewis, followed by a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dwight Garner after the Cal defense held strong. Arizona stopped the Bears’ run with a 60-yard bomb to Brad Anderson to extend the lead to 33-17. A 61-yard touchdown catch by Andy Bark and a three-yard scoring run by Scott Smith brought Cal within three. A fumble recovery by Golden Bears’ linebacker Hardy Nickerson helped set up Randy Pratt’s game-tying field goal with 48 ticks left.  After a 4-0-1 start, the Wildcats went 3-3 in their final six games, failing to earn a bowl berth at 7-3-1. Cal finished with a 5-5-1 record under coach Joe Kapp, a Hall of Famer as a quarterback at Cal.

Oct. 2, 1982
No. 2 Pittsburgh defeated No. 14 West Virginia, 16-13
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A talent-filled edition of the “Backyard Brawl” remained relatively quiet until the fourth quarter, when West Virginia’s College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Darryl Talley recovered his own blocked punt in the end zone, establishing a 13-0 Mountaineer lead. Pitt quarterback Dan Marino, another Hall of Famer, drove the Panther offense to two late touchdowns, giving his team a 14-13 lead while personally claiming the school’s career total offense record. Marino’s offensive line featured Hall of Famers Jimbo Covert and Bill Fralic. West Virginia gave up two more points when Pitt defensive tackle Bill Maas forced Mountaineer quarterback Jeff Hostetler, a 1983 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, out of the end zone. The Panthers’ victory was sealed when West Virginia kicker Paul Woodside narrowly missed a 52-yard field goal, his first miss in 15 attempts. Pitt finished with a 9-3 record and a No. 10 spot in the final AP Poll after a loss to SMU in the Cotton Bowl. Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen’s Mountaineers also finished with a 9-3 record and a No. 19 ranking after a win over Kentucky in the Hall of Fame Classic.

Oct. 3, 1953
No. 9 Georgia Tech defeated SMU, 6-4
Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia Tech’s defense, highlighted by College Football Hall of Fame linebacker Larry Morris, shone in the first half against SMU, and the schools were tied 0-0 at halftime. SMU tackle Jack Gunlock blocked Dave Davis’ third-quarter punt through the end zone for the first points of the game and a 2-0 lead for the Mustangs. Davis responded by picking off Duane Nutt at the SMU 25-yard line, setting up a three-play drive culminating in Pepper Rodgers’ quarterback sneak into the end zone. After SMU pinned the Yellow Jackets within their own 10-yard line, Davis dropped a punt snap and it was recovered by SMU’s Bill Fox just short of the goal line. Georgia Tech linebacker Franklin Brooks held SMU on all attempts to bust into the end zone. The Yellow Jackets conceded another safety on the ensuing possession, but held the Mustangs in the final minutes. SMU finished the season with a 5-5 record. Georgia Tech and College Football Hall of Fame coach Bobby Dodd finished with a 9-2-1 record and a No. 8 ranking after a win over West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl.

Oct. 4, 1902
Cincinnati defeated Hanover (Ind.), 18-0
Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati opened Nippert Stadium, the second-oldest playing site in college football, with an 18-0 win over Hanover in 1902. The Bearcats finished with a 4-2-2 record under coach Anthony Chez that season. Known as Carson Field for Arch Carson, who originally introduced the plan for the stadium in 1895, the field would not be known as Nippert Stadium until 1924. The field was home to the first night college football game in the Midwest in 1923 and it served as the home stadium for the Cincinnati Bengals for a brief time in 1968. The Bearcats have won 318 games at Nippert Stadium all-time.