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The 2021 Cotton Bowl Classic

Tickets Cotton Bowl Event Guide Famous Cotton Bowls Cotton Bowl History Cotton Bowl Champions

Famous Cotton Bowl Games

The 1947 Cotton Bowl game was memorable for its lack of competition. Known as the “Ice Bowl,” both LSU and Arkansas finished the game 0-0. Though it is argued that LSU had the upper-hand most of the game, there was no scoring and will be remembered as one of the most disappointing match-ups in bowl history.

The 1954 Cotton Bowl will go down in history as an instance of a most bizarre play heretofore unseen. Rice's Dicky Maegle set all-time records on the day, running for 265 yards and three touchdowns against Alabama. One of those touchdowns was scored on a play oddity. As Maegle approached midfield on a run against the Crimson Tide, Alabama's Tommy Lewis jumped of the sideline bench, ran downfield and threw a perfect block to Maegle's blind side, effectively ending the run. Referee Cliff Shaw saw the play develop, and put his arms up to signal a touchdown. There is still some debate as to whether Maegle would have scored, but the consensus seems to point to the fact that Maegle had a teammate handy to block Bill Oliver, the only Alabama player in position to tackle Maegle. Rice won the game, 28-6.

The 1970 Cotton Bowl game featured memorable performances by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Texas Longhorns. Returning to the bowl game scene after a 45-year self-imposed ban, the Irish were on a mission to win. The Irish scored early on a field goal and touchdown, leading 10-0. Texas roared back with the help of Jim Bertelsen. The Irish scored one more, but could not hold to the might Longhorns and QB James Street. Longhorns win, 21-17.

The 1971 Cotton Bowl was a repeat of 1970, matching Notre Dame and Texas once again. This time around, the Irish ended the Longhorn's 30-game winning streak and won the National Championship, 24-11.

The 1979 Cotton Bowl, also known as the “Chicken Soup Game,” was a game glazed in ice. Notre Dame QB Joe Montana, although suffering from the flu, led his Notre Dame squad to 12 points in the first quarter. The Houston Cougars used the wind to their advantage in the second quarter, to add 20 points to the board. In the third quarter, while Montana stayed in the locker room to keep warm, Houston added another 14, making the score 34-12. But Montana went back outside. Steve Cichy grabbed a blocked Cougar punt and scrambled downfield for a TD. A two-point conversion put Notre Dame within two touchdowns with 7:25 left in the game. On the next possession, The Irish drove downfield and Montana rushed in for the TD – adding another two-point conversion to make the score 34-28 with 4:15 remaining. As time ran out, Montana connected with Kris Haines for a TD, and the extra point was good. Notre Dame wins, 35-34.

The 1997 Cotton Bowl game hosted two teams who had never seen a New Year's Day bowl invitation. Brigham Young University fought Kansas State for the Cotton Bowl Trophy. Brian Kavanagh had a fly-day that New Year's, preferring the Hail Mary as the method of attack. He launched a Hail Mary downfield to Kevin Lockett, which was deflected. Andre Anderson was in the right spot at the right time, diving to catch the deflected ball for the first touchdown of the game. Kavanagh repeated this feat with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Lockett, increasing the Wildcat lead 15-5. However, BYU put the pressure on the ‘Cats, and put in enough points in the final quarter to bring home the trophy, 19-15.