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.
Aug. 29, 1992
No. 7 Texas A&M def. No. 17 Stanford, 10-7
In Cardinal head coach Bill Walsh’s first game returning to Stanford since 1978, College Football Hall of Fame coach R.C. Slocum’s Texas A&M Aggies got the better of him. In a low-scoring affair, the Aggies took down the Cardinal on the last Wednesday in August, 10-7. The Aggie defense made Stanford quarterback Steve Stenstrom run for his life, but his teammate and fullback J.J Lasley found the end zone on the first play of the second quarter, after a 26-yard punt return from NFF National Scholar-Athlete Glyn Milburn. Lasley’s five-yard touchdown run would prove to be the only Stanford points of the day. After being benched earlier in the game, A&M quarterback Jeff Granger returned to tie the game on a fourth quarter pass to tight end Greg Schorp, and kicker Terry Venetoulias won it with a 39-yard boot with just over four minutes remaining. The Aggies won the Southwest Conference and finished the season (12-1) ranked No. 7 in the nation after a loss to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl ended their hopes for an unbeaten season. Stanford knocked off Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl victory, claiming the No. 9 ranking with a 10-3 record.
Aug. 30, 1997
N.C. State def. No. 16 Syracuse, 32-31
Carrying a string of three consecutive opening game losses, the Syracuse Orange seemed destined to end that streak after gaining a 14-point lead in the first quarter. But Wolfpack sophomore signal-caller Jamie Barnette came out of his shell, throwing for 279 yards and three touchdowns to match the Orange. Both teams traded scores until overtime, when Wolfpack running back Tremayne Stephens scored from one yard out. While Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni desperately tried to call timeout, Barnette found wide receiver Torry Holt for the game-winning two-point conversion. The Wolfpack finished 1997 sixth in the ACC with a 6-5 record. Syracuse ended its season as the Big East champions, ranked No. 21 with a 9-4 record after a trip to the Fiesta Bowl opposite Kansas State.
Aug. 31, 2002
Notre Dame def. No. 21 Maryland, 22-0
East Rutherford, N.J.
It was a momentous day for Notre Dame and head coach Tyrone Willingham, as the Fighting Irish dispatched Maryland in the 20th and final Kickoff Classic. Willingham, the first African American coach in school history, had the Irish defense ready to play. Defensive back Shane Walton picked off Maryland quarterbacks Scott McBrien and Chris Kelley three times to stifle the Terps’ passing attack. Placekicker Nicholas Setta booted five perfect field goals for the Irish, who would not lose another game for eight weeks. Notre Dame finished 2002 with a 10-3 record with an appearance in the Gator Bowl against NC State, making Willingham the only first-year coach in program history to win 10 games. Maryland ended its season 11-2 and ranked No. 13 in the nation after defeating Tennessee in the Peach Bowl.
Sept. 1, 2007
Appalachian State def. No. 5 Michigan, 34-32
Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Big House was packed 110,000 strong for Michigan’s “tune-up” against the Mountaineers of Appalachian State, but no one in Ann Arbor knew they would witness one of college football’s greatest David versus Goliath storylines. Appalachian State kicker Julian Rauch knocked in a 24-yard field goal with under a minute remaining for the lead. A last ditch Michigan field goal attempt was blocked (pictured above), giving Hall of Fame coach Jerry Moore and the Mountaineers a victory in one of the greatest upsets in college football history, 34-32, over the No. 5 Wolverines and their Hall of Fame coach, Lloyd Carr. Mountaineers quarterback Armanti Edwards led the way, throwing for three scores. The upset marked the first time an FCS team had upended a team ranked in the Associated Press poll. The Wolverines finished the season No. 18 in the AP Poll with a 9-4 record and a win over Florida in the Capital One Bowl in what was Carr’s final season before he retired. Appalachian State finished 13-2 and defeated Delaware to win its third consecutive FCS National Championship.
Sept. 2, 1995
SMU def. Arkansas, 17-14
Familiar surroundings yielded familiar results for SMU as the Mustangs returned to Cotton Bowl Stadium for the first time in 17 years to hold off the Arkansas Razorbacks. Although the Mustangs lost signal-caller Ramon Flanigan on the game’s first play, running back Donte Womack ran for a career-high 137 yards, and an inspired SMU defense forced Arkansas to earn every yard. Razorbacks quarterback Barry Lunney drove Arkansas to the SMU six-inch line, but subsequently coughed up the ball. SMU defensive lineman Wilbert Mitchell pounced on it and secured the win with under a minute remaining. The Razorbacks went on to claim the SEC West Division title, lost in the SEC championship game and finished 8-5, while the Mustangs ended their season 1-10.
Sept. 3, 2005
TCU def. No. 7 Oklahoma, 17-10
TCU knocked off its highest-ranked opponent since 1961, defeating Oklahoma in Norman, 17-10. The Horned Frogs defense showed up in a big way to open the 2005 season, holding returning Heisman Trophy runner-up Adrian Peterson to a mere 63 yards on the ground. TCU’s offense made Oklahoma pay through the air as quarterback Tye Gunn threw for 226 yards and one touchdown. TCU also wrestled two fumbles and an interception away from Sooner signal-callers Paul Thompson and Rhett Bomar, with the second fumble leading to the game-clinching score by tailback Robert Merrill. The game marked the first time Oklahoma had lost in the month of September under head coach Bob Stoops. TCU finished the season ranked No. 11 with an 11-1 record and a Houston Bowl victory over Iowa State. Oklahoma finished 8-4, defeating No. 6 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl.
Sept. 4, 1989
No. 22 Illinois def. No. 5 USC, 14-13
Los Angeles, Calif.
The Illinois Fighting Illini used a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes from quarterback Jeff George to eke out a Labor Day victory over the USC Trojans. The “Glasnost Bowl”, originally supposed to be played in Moscow, Russia, was moved to Los Angeles after a slew of complications. Illini wide receiver Shawn Key caught the ball off a lucky deflection by USC and raced 53 yards for a touchdown. Then, on the game’s penultimate offensive drive, George hit wide receiver Steven Williams along the left sideline for the game-winning score. Illinois defensive back Henry Jones reeled in an interception to ice the game. USC cornerback Marcus Hopkins scored the Trojans’ only touchdown on his return of a blocked punt. The Illini finished their 10-2 season ranked No. 10 in the country after defeating Virginia in the Citrus Bowl. USC compiled a 9-2-1 record, the No. 8 ranking and a victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl.