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100 Greatest Finishes - No. 81 to 90

Discussion in 'All Other San Diego Sports' started by BoltsFanUK, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    The basic criteria: 1) These are the greatest finishes, not the greatest games. With few exceptions, the finish means the final play, final drive, or some other wild series of events to end a game. A good fourth quarter of a classic game doesn't necessarily count as a great finish. (For example, the classic 1997 Nebraska win over Missouri was a great game with a wild fourth quarter, but the actual end wasn't that great. It's splitting hairs.)

    2) The better, bigger and more significant the game, the more important the finish.

    3) How memorable was it? It might not have been meaningful to determining a national champion, but it might have been one of the signature moments in college football history.

    No. 90 Washington State 34 ... UCLA 30, November 29, 1988
    At the time: Led by star QB Troy Aikman, UCLA was 7-0 and ranked number one in the nation. Washington State, led by QB Timm Rosenbach, was on a two-game losing streak dropping conference games to Arizona and Arizona State to fall to 4-3. Wazzu led the Pac 10 in offense but was last in defense.
    The setup: UCLA got on an early roll with a 27-6 lead in the third quarter after an eight-yard Eric Ball touchdown run. Rosenbach struck back throwing two touchdown passes to Tim Stallworth including an 81-yard play to tie it at 27. Aikman was able to march the Bruins to a 30-yard field goal, but Rosenbach was better leading the Cougars on a long drive ending in a Rich Swinton one-yard touchdown run for a 34-30 lead with just over six minutes to play. After trading drives, Wazzu had to punt the ball giving Aikman :44 to work with. He got UCLA down to the Cougar six on a 33-yard pass play to Charles Arbuckle with :32 to go.
    The ending: After throwing it away on first down to stop the clock, Aikman's next pass was broken up and his third just missed leading to fourth and goal from the six with :26 to play. Aikman lofted a pass deep into the end zone, but Cougar DB Vernon Todd was able to just get a hand on it knocking it away from UCLA WR David Keating. Rosenbach took a knee to seal the win.
    How they ended up: UCLA's dream season was gone, but it was still in a position to win the Rose Bowl after beating Oregon and Stanford. Unfortunately, Rodney Peete and USC came through with a 31-22 win to go to Pasadena. Aikman and the Bruins went to the Cotton Bowl and beat Arkansas 17-3 to finish with a 10-2 record. This win for Washington State kicked off a five-game winning streak to close out a 9-3 season. Rosenbach and the Cougars beat Houston 24-22 in the Aloha Bowl.

    No. 89 Purdue 15 ... Notre Dame 14, September 26, 1981
    At the time: The first year of the Gerry Faust era at Notre Dame got off to a rocky start beating LSU 27-9 in the opener before getting steamrolled by Michigan 25-7. With the number one ranking gone, the Irish traveled to Purdue which was also 1-1 after beating Stanford and losing a 16-13 battle at Minnesota.
    The setup: Notre Dame couldn't pull away as Harry Oliver missed two 51-yard field goals. However, Irish RB Phil Carter was having a great game scoring on a 30-yard touchdown to break a 7-7 tie with just under three minutes to play. Purdue QB Scott Campbell started the final drive on his own 20. Helped by a fourth down conversion, a 28-yard pass play to Eric Jordan, and a dropped interception, Campbell drove the team down to the one connecting with Steve Bryant on a desperation pass with :39 to play.
    The ending: On fourth and goal from the seven with :23 to play, Campbell lofted a perfect pass to Steve Bryant for a touchdown with :19 to play. Down 14-13, Purdue chose to go for two and the win. Running the same play only to the other side of the field, Campbell's pass wasn't quite as perfect as the touchdown toss but Bryant made a leaping catch for the conversion. Purdue DB Tim Seneff intercepted a Hail Mary Notre Dame pass to seal the win.
    How they ended up: This win was the highlight of the Purdue year. The week after, the Boilermakers lost 20-14 at Wisconsin before winning three straight for a 5-2 start. A four-game losing streak closed out a disappointing 5-6 season. As bad as things were in West Lafayette, life was worse for Faust in South Bend. The Irish bounced back to beat Michigan State 20-7, but lost the next two games before going on a three-game winning streak. Just when things started to turn around, the Irish lost the final two games to Penn State and Miami to finish 5-6.

    No. 88 West Virginia 17 ... Pittsburgh 14, November 8, 1975
    At the time: Bobby Bowden's West Virginia team was starting to get on a bit of a roll following a bad 16-14 loss to a lousy Temple team. The Mountaineers were 6-2 before going against rival Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl in what many considered a make-or-break game for Bowden, who was on a bit of a hot seat. Pittsburgh was also 6-2 coming off a convincing 38-0 win over Syracuse.
    The setup: Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett was the marquee back in the game, but West Virginia's Artie Owens was equally strong rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown. Dorsett ran for 107 yards and caught a short touchdown pass to tie the game at 14 late in the fourth quarter. West Virginia drove deep into Pittsburgh territory and well into field goal range, but fumbled it was to Pittsburgh for what appeared to be a tough tie. Panther head coach Johnny Majors ran two conservative plays from the Pittsburgh 17 before short third down pass left it fourth and two for Pitt on its 25. Unfortunately for the Panthers, QB Matt Cavanaugh thought it was still third down and called a play. Unable to hear the coaches going nuts on the sideline over the yell of the crowd, Cavanaugh went up to the line. To stop the play, Majors and assistant coach Joe Avezzano ran on the field and drew an unsportsmanlike foul call which put the ball back to the 13, but it stopped Cavanaugh from making a huge mistake and allowed Pitt to punt. West Virginia got the ball on the Pitt 48 with ten seconds to play.
    The ending: Mountaineer QB Dan Kendra, who changed Bowden's play call in the huddle, got off his pass a split-second before getting popped. Tight end Randy Swinson hauled it in at the Pitt 22 before going out of bounds with four seconds to play. WVU's Bill McKenzie had only connected on two of his five career field goal attempts, but his 38-yard boot went through as time ran out.
    How they ended up: Pittsburgh closed out its season with a win over Notre Dame (in which Dorsett tore off 303 yards), a loss to Penn State, and a 33-19 win over Kansas in the Sun Bowl to finish 8-4. The following year, the Panthers went 12-0 and won the national title. West Virginia beat Richmond the following week before losing a 20-19 squeaker to Syracuse. Bobby's boys beat Lou Holtz and NC State 13-10 in the Peach Bowl to finish 9-3. The following year, Bowden took the job at Florida State.

    No. 87 Arizona State 21 ... Stanford 17, October 9, 1982
    At the time: It was a battle between Stanford's star QB John Elway and Arizona State's number one defense. In the first five games of the season, the Sun Devils were 5-0 and having given up a mere 30 points. Stanford lost a 35-31 shootout with San Jose State, but bounced back to shock Ohio State 23-20 on the way to a 3-1 start.
    The setup: Elway was amazing early on, leading the Cardinal to a 10-0 lead before the Sun Devil defense clamped down. ASU QB Ton Hons rallied the team back for two solid touchdown drives highlighted by a 31-yard scoring pass to Ron Brown. ASU got down to the Stanford one late, but FB Tex Wright lost a fumble that would've put the game on ice. Elway then showed off some of his magic throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mike Tolliver with :49 to play for an apparent 17-14 win. With 80 yards to go, Hons did his Elway impersonation marching the Sun Devils down to the Stanford one with :13 to play.
    The ending: Wright made amends for his earlier fumble by running the same play he lost the fumble on for the game-winning touchdown. ASU had gone 80 yards in 38 seconds for the win.
    How they ended up: ASU went on to win three more games running the record up to 9-0 before losing 17-13 to number one Washington. The Sun Devils lost the following week 28-18 to archrival Arizona, but finished 10-2 after beating Oklahoma 32-21 in the Fiesta Bowl. Stanford's loss to Arizona State was nothing compared to what came later on against Cal to end Elway's career. The Cardinals lost five of their final seven games to go 5-6.

    No. 86 USC 18 ... Ohio State 17, Rose Bowl January 1, 1975
    At the time: The Rose Bowl was considered by many to be the battle for the 1974 national title. USC, led by Heisman runner-up Anthony Davis, had won four straight games following a 15-15 tie with Cal. The Trojans hadn't lost since the opening week of the season in a 22-7 gaffe at Arkansas, but a stunning 55-24 win over Notre Dame in the season finale had launched them up the polls. 10-1 Ohio State, ranked number two and led by Heisman winner Archie Griffin, were dominant with the only loss coming to Michigan State, 16-13, on a miracle finish (more on that later on down the list). The defense had allowed a mere 111 points on the season allowing ten points or fewer in nine games.
    The setup: The battle of great running backs didn't happen. Davis ran for 67 yards before leaving with a leg injury, and Griffin was held to 75 yards and fumbled twice inside the USC ten. However, the quarterbacks came through. Down 17-10 with under four minutes to play, USC's Pat Haden engineered a long drive culminating with his second touchdown pass of the day connecting with John McKay in the corner of the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown pass with just over three minutes to play.


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