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Famous Fiesta Bowl Games

Famous Fiesta Bowl Games

The 2017 Fiesta Bowl

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Famous Fiesta Bowl Games

The 1975 Fiesta Bowl was a game to remember. Nebraska was headed into the bowl game with a record-tying six-game bowl win streak, and it was up to Arizona St. to put an end to the reign. At the half, Nebraska was up 7-6 over the Sun Devils. The Cornhuskers took the field and the ball at the second-half kickoff, marching 91 yards up the field to go up by eight points. However, Arizona St. had a comeback in store for the Huskers, as back-up Fred Mortensen hit John Jefferson for the TD then hit Larry Mucker for the two-point conversion. Nebraska tried on one final drive to put the ball in the end zone, but Cornhusker Tony Davis was hit hard at the 21-yard line to force a fumble. Arizona St. recovered the ball and ran down the clock for a 17-14 win.

The 1987 Fiesta Bowl was played in front of a crowd of 73,000 and a television audience of millions. The stage was set and ready for No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions to take on the No. 1 Miami Hurricanes. The game was a perfect match between both squads, as the first half ended in a stalemate 7-7 tie. Early in the fourth quarter, the Miami Hurricanes picked up an extra 3 points to put them in the lead, 10-7. However, Chris Conlin picked-off a Vinny Testaverde pass and returned it 38 yards to the Miami 5-yard line. Two plays later, the Nittany Lions scored for a 14-10 lead. The Lions held off the Hurricanes for one more deep Miami possession, and won the bowl and the National Championship, 14-10.

The year was 1989, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were looking for their first National Championship in 11 years. In order to bring home the trophy, however, they would have to face #3 West Virginia in the 1989 Fiesta Bowl. The game started on a sore note – literally – as West Virginia QB Major Harris was hit hard by Michael Stonebreaker and Jeff Alm. The impact dislocated his left shoulder. Harris continued to play since his throwing arm was well, but the pain may have adversely affected the outcome of the game. Notre Dame's Tony Rice threw strong all game long, and the Irish defense demolished WV's chances of ever getting back in the game. Notre Dame won, 34-21.

The 1997 Fiesta Bowl was an exciting game between Penn State and the Texas Longhorns. Penn State defeated the Horns, 38-15. However, what is notable about this game is what occurred prior to the bowl. Brigham Young University, ranked #5 heading into the postseason, was passed-over for selection to participate in the Fiesta Bowl in favor of #7 Penn State. A group of BYU students led by Professor Dennis Martin burned Tostitos tortilla chips in a bonfire and called for a ban on Tostitos products. This act of protest was fueled by BYU's disappointment with the bowl selection process. Thus, BYU stood second-in-line for the Fiesta Bowl selection, although they boasted a better season record.

The 2003 Fiesta Bowl was your just your average bowl game – until the fourth quarter. Miami would not let Ohio State take their #1 spot away, as the Hurricanes' Todd Sievers sent the game into overtime with a 40-yard field goal on the final play of the fourth quarter. However, it was the Buckeyes who were willing to put it all on the line. In the very end, Maurice Clarett went five yards for the TD, and Ohio State defeated the #1 ranked Miami in second overtime.

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