Each week during the season, FootballMatters.org will take a look at the history behind some of the upcoming weekend’s top games.
Texas A&M at Auburn | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
All-Time Series: Texas A&M leads 4-2
First Played: 1911
Now SEC rivals, the two teams had only met twice previous to Texas A&M joining the conference in 2012.
–Oct. 21, 1911 – Played in Dallas, the first meeting between the two teams was billed as the biggest in the south in 1911. A crowd of 7,000 people came to watch the game at Gaston Park, where Texas’ State Fair grounds are today. It did not go well for Hall of Fame coach Iron Mike Donahue and Auburn, who had arrived the night before after a 36-hour train ride. The field conditions were terrible after heavy rain, which didn’t help the Tigers’ fumbling problems they had all season. The Aggies would win 16-0, scoring once in the first quarter on a still rare forward pass and then twice near the end of the game.
–Jan. 1, 1986 – Seventy-five years later, the two teams met again in Dallas in the 50th Cotton Bowl Classic. The Aggies would win 36-16 as their defense and quarterback Kevin Murray outshined Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson. Murray threw for a Cotton Bowl-record 292 yards, and A&M finished off Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye and Auburn with 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Jackson rushed for 139 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a 73-yard reception that gave the Tigers a brief lead in the second quarter, but it was not enough as the Aggies outscored Auburn 21-3 in the second half.
No. 3 Ohio State at No. 16 Oklahoma | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 7:30 p.m. ET | FOX
All-Time Series: Tied 1-1
First Played: 1977
Two of college football’s top 10 winningest teams, Ohio State and Oklahoma have met only two previous times.
–Sept. 24, 1977 – The first-ever meeting of the two teams was dubbed the “Game of the Year” by the USA Today College Football Encyclopedia. Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer and Oklahoma got off to an early 20-0 lead in the second quarter, including a touchdown by Hall of Famer Billy Sims. However, the Sooners would turn the ball over six times during a stretch of eight possessions, propelling the Buckeyes to a 28-20 lead in the third quarter. Ohio State’s fourth-quarter fumble led to an OU touchdown, but the Sooners were stopped short on their two-point conversion attempt, making it 28-26 Buckeyes. Just when it appeared Ohio State had won the game, Oklahoma successfully recovered an onside-kick, and the Sooners were set up for a dramatic last-minute field goal. After egging on the 88,000 Buckeye fans during a timeout by Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes, kicker Uwe Von Schamann drilled the winning 41-yard field goal for OU.
-Sept. 17, 1983 – Six years later, Hall of Fame coach Earle Bruce and the Buckeyes avenged the 1977 loss, defeating Oklahoma, 24-14, on the road. Ohio State was led by quarterback Mike Tomczak, who threw for 234 yards and connected with tight end and NFF National Scholar-Athlete John Frank for two touchdowns. The Buckeyes outrushed the Sooners 178-177 yards in the game on the way to winning their 17th consecutive road opener.
UCLA at BYU | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 10:15 p.m. ET | ESPN2
All-Time Series: UCLA leads 8-3
First Played: 1983
Two of the most storied programs in the west have only met 11 times. Notable games in the series include:
–Sept. 7, 1985 – In the second-ever meeting between the two teams, No. 20 UCLA upset No. 8 BYU, 27-24, ending the Cougars’ 25-game winning streak. The Bruins only scored one offensive touchdown, relying on four field goals by kicker John Lee and an interception returned for a touchdown by Craig Rutledge. With the win, Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue tied for the most all-time coaching wins at UCLA with 72.
–Dec. 30, 1986 (Freedom Bowl) – UCLA tailback Gaston Green rushed for 266 yards, a record for the most ever in any bowl game, to lead the Bruins and coach Terry Donahue to their fifth bowl victory in a row. Green was part of all four UCLA touchdowns, running for three and passing for the other. The Bruins defense racked up nine sacks, and linebacker Ken Norton led the team with 17 tackles.
–Dec. 22, 2007 (Las Vegas Bowl) – BYU finally got revenge on UCLA after losing its last seven meetings with the Bruins, including a game earlier in the 2007 season. The game came down to the very last second as Cougars defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna barely blocked a UCLA field goal as time expired to give BYU a 17-16 victory.