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HOLIDAY BOWL : Holiday Bowl Has Had No Shortage of Points

This is a synopsis of the first 13 Holiday Bowl games:

1978

Navy 23, Brigham Young 16--Navy, trailing 16-3, scored 13 fourth-quarter points to beat favored BYU. The play that turned the game around was a 65-yard, fourth-quarter scoring pass from Bob Leszczynski to Phil McConkey with a little more than 11 minutes to go and BYU leading 16-13. McConkey, who was voted the most valuable player, made a leaping catch in the end zone for the score that put the Middies ahead for good, 20-16. “That long pass play was the game,” BYU Coach LaVell Edwards said. “That completely turned the momentum.” McConkey caught four passes for 88 yards and rushed twice for 42 yards.

1979

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Indiana 38, Brigham Young 37--Ninth-ranked BYU saw its chance for an undefeated season sail wide as Brent Johnson missed a 27-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining. Johnson had made field goals of 46, 29 and 28 yards. The teams combined for 874 yards in total offense, 520 by BYU. The Cougars took a 37-31 fourth-quarter lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Marc Wilson to Eric Lane. Indiana scored the eventual winning points when cornerback Tim Wilbur picked up a muffed punt and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. Kevin Kellogg’s PAT provided the winning margin.

1980

Brigham Young 46, Southern Methodist 45-- Clay Brown caught a 41-yard desperation touchdown pass from Jim McMahon with no time on the clock and Kurt Gunther kicked the extra point as BYU completed a 21-point rally. SMU running back Craig James ran for a 42-yard touchdown that gave SMU a 45-25 lead with 3:57 left. McMahon passed 15 yards to Matt Braga for a touchdown that made it 45-31. After BYU recovered an onside kick, Scott Phillips scored from the one and McMahon passed to him for the two-point conversion to cut the SMU advantage to 45-39 with 1:58 remaining. The BYU defense held and Cougar cornerback Bill Schoepflin blocked a punt, giving BYU the ball at the SMU 41 with 18 seconds remaining. After two incompletions, three seconds remained. McMahon, who set 27 NCAA passing records during the season, lofted his last pass into the end zone. Despite three SMU defenders, Brown caught the pass. “It was a Hail Mary,” Brown said. “That’s all right, Jim and I are both Catholics.” McMahon completed 32 of 49 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns. The SMU Pony Express backfield consisted of James (225 yards and two touchdowns) and Eric Dickerson (110 yards, two touchdowns).

1981

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Brigham Young 38, Washington State 36--Brigham Young took a 31-7 lead and held off Washington State, which had consecutive third-quarter scoring drives of 69, 50 and 39 yards to make the score 31-28. BYU countered with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jim McMahon to Scott Pettis on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 10-point cushion. WSU got its final touchdown with 59 seconds remaining on Mike Martin’s one-yard run. BYU recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock. McMahon, the game’s offensive most valuable player, completed 27 of 43 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns. It was WSU’s first bowl appearance in 51 years.

1982

Ohio State 47, Brigham Young 17--Tim Spencer, the game’s offensive most valuable player, scored two touchdowns and gained 167 yards in 21 carries in little more than three quarters of work to lead the Big 10 runner-up. Spencer scored on runs of 61 and 18 yards and Ohio State rushed 66 times for 329 yards. Steve Young passed for 347 yards for BYU.

1983

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Brigham Young 21, Missouri 17--Trailing 17-14 with 23 seconds to play, BYU turned quarterback Steve Young into a receiver in a desperate bid for a victory. Young, who completed 24 of 36 passes for 314 yards, handed to Eddie Stinnett, who swept right, stopped and passed to Young, who was running free in the left flat. The 14-yard touchdown pass culminated a 93-yard drive that began with 3:57 to play. “I was shocked when I heard the call,” Stinnett said. “I just hoped I could get the ball to Steve.” Said Young: “We ran the play last week in practice and I dropped the ball.”

1984

Brigham Young 24, Michigan 17--BYU entered the game unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the nation. Quarterback Robbie Bosco, hobbled for most of the game by an injured ankle, passed 13 yards to Kelly Smith with 1:23 left for the touchdown that broke a 17-17 tie. Bosco, the game’s offensive most valuable player, completed 30 passes for 343 yards. The BYU defense held Michigan (6-6) to a Holiday Bowl record 202 total yards and a 2.4 yards-per-carry average on 49 rushing attempts. BYU won despite six turnovers.

1985

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Arkansas 18, Arizona State 17--In the only Holiday Bowl not involving the WAC champion, freshman Kendall Trainor kicked a 37-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining as Arkansas came from behind twice in the fourth quarter. ASU led 14-7, but Bobby Joe Edmonds ran 17 yards for an Arkansas touchdown and quarterback Mark Calcagni ran up the middle for the two-point conversion and a 15-14 lead. A Sun Devil drive stalled at the Arkansas one and they settled for a Kent Bostrom field goal with 5:23 remaining. It was Bostrom’s third field goal of the game and gave ASU a 17-15 lead. Arkansas came right back as Calcagni drove the Razorbacks to the Sun Devil 19 to set up Trainor’s game-winning kick. ASU had one last chance but Bostrom was short on a 59-yard field goal attempt with three seconds to go.

1986

Iowa 39, San Diego State 38--Rob Houghtlin kicked a 41-yard field goal with no time on the clock as Iowa grabbed a victory that appeared to be San Diego State’s. The favored Hawkeyes trailed, 21-13, at halftime and were still behind, 35-21, with eight minutes remaining. Iowa quarterback Mark Vlasic threw touchdown passes of 29 yards to Marv Cook and three yards to Mike Flagg, and Chuck Hartlieb passed to Flagg for a two-point conversion to give Iowa a 36-35 lead with 4:26 remaining. SDSU quarterback Todd Santos passed 45 yards to Alfred Jackson to set up a 21-yard Kevin Rahill field goal with 47 seconds remaining to give the Aztecs a 38-36 lead. However, Kevin Harmon returned the kickoff to the Aztec 37 and Iowa moved the ball to the 24 with four seconds left. Santos completed 21 of 33 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Vlasic completed 15 of 28 for 222 yards and two touchdowns.

1987

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Iowa 20, Wyoming 19--Iowa overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter as cornerback Anthony Wright returned an interception 33 yards for one touchdown and fullback David Hudson ended a 10-play, 86-yard drive with a one-yard run for the winning points. The key play in the drive was a 48-yard pass from quarterback Chuck Hartlieb to split end Travis Watkins, “The pass to Watkins was the turning point,” Hartlieb said. “They were gambling all night, and we finally took advantage of it.” Wyoming had a shot with 46 seconds left, but Greg Worker’s 52-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Iowa’s Merton Hanks, who had earlier blocked a punt to set up Iowa’s first touchdown. Wyoming quarterback Craig Burnett completed 28 of a Holiday Bowl record 51 pass attempts for 332 yards and one touchdown.

1988

Oklahoma State 62, Wyoming 14--It was the Barry Sanders show in a battle of Cowboys. The Oklahoma State Cowboys, behind Sanders’ 222 yards and Holiday Bowl-record five touchdowns, easily disposed of the Wyoming Cowboys. It was a big day in general for Oklahoma State. Quarterback Mike Gundy completed 20 of 24 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Hart Lee Dykes caught 10 passes for a Holiday-Bowl record 163 yards and one touchdown. The Oklahoma State offense set records for points (62), touchdowns (eight), total offense (698 yards), most first downs (33) and fewest punts (none). The defense limited Wyoming to 204 total yards and the fewest points in Holiday Bowl history.

1989

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Penn State 50, Brigham Young 39--Penn State led in the final minute, 43-39, but BYU was driving and had the ball at the Nittany Lion 38. BYU quarterback Ty Detmer was stripped of the ball by Gary Brown, a junior defensive back, who raced 53 yards for the clinching touchdown. The teams combined for 1,115 yards of total offense, with BYU gaining 651. Penn State yielded a school-record 576 yards passing to Detmer, but Penn State scored its most points ever in a bowl game. Detmer and Blair Thomas (186 yards) were named co-offensive players of the game. Detmer completed 42 of 59 passes for 576 yards, all Holiday Bowl records. Thomas’ 35 carries surpassed Barry Sanders’ old mark of 29. “This was the screwiest game I’ve ever been involved in,” BYU Coach LaVell Edwards said.

1990

Texas A&M; 65, Brigham Young 14--In the most lopsided Holiday Bowl, Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer was pounded by a withering Aggie blitz, leaving the game early in the second half with both shoulders separated. The star quarterback turned out to be the Aggies’ Bucky Richardson, who directed the A&M; option to 680 total yards. Richardson, the offensive player of the game, passed for 203 yards, rushed for 119 and even caught a 22-yard touchdown pass. The Aggies led at the half, 37-7, on the way to the largest output in bowl games history. The Aggie defense held BYU to a Holiday Bowl record 185 total yards, including minus-12 yards rushing. Said linebacker William Thomas, the defensive MVP: “All we heard was Ty Detmer this, Ty Detmer that. I got pretty sick of hearing about that guy. We wanted to prove that a team like BYU doesn’t belong on the same field as Texas A&M.; And I think we proved that, don’t you?”


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