The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC x CFB 150: 1972-1978

323 days ago
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As part of the recognition of the 150th anniversary of college football, the Southeastern Conference is recognizing 150 of the greatest games and moments in the history of the 14 institutions of the SEC.

Each of the SEC's 14 members submitted to the Conference Office 10 great games or moments, and the SEC added 10 conference-wide highlights to produce a total of 150 great moments to be celebrated throughout the 2019 football season. To view the other weeks, click here.

Week 6 - SEC Football 150 Greatest Moments (1972-1978)

Final Score: LSU 17, Ole Miss 16
Date: November 4, 1972
Site: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Head Coach: Charles McClendon
Title: When Time Stood Still
"You are now entering Louisiana. Set your clocks back four seconds," read a sign put up on the Louisiana-Mississippi state line after this game. With undefeated and No. 6 LSU on the ropes, and four seconds remaining in the contest, Bert Jones' pass to Jimmy LeDoux fell incomplete in the endzone sending the Ole Miss sidelines into a celebration. But somehow, the game clock still showed :01 remaining. Following an Ole Miss timeout, Jones hit Brad Davis, who bobbled the football, and then dove into the endzone tying the game at 16-16. Rusty Jackson's extra-point provided the winning margin in what was one of the most improbable wins in school history. The game-winning touchdown came after Jones directed the Tigers 80 yards, which included a pair of fourth down conversions, over the final three minutes of the contest.

Final score: Auburn 17, Alabama 16
Date: December 2, 1972
Site: Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Head coach: Ralph "Shug" Jordan
Title: Punt Bama Punt
Second-ranked and undefeated Alabama (10-0) led by Coach Bear Bryant came into the game as a 14-point favorite over the Ralph "Shug" Jordan-coached 8-1 Tigers, nicknamed the Amazins'. For the first three and a half quarters the Tide seemed to have the game well in hand. Alabama led 16-0 with less than 10 minutes left in the game, when an Auburn drive stalled and AU managed only a field goal, which made it 16-3. Auburn fans booed for the appearance of giving up, while Alabama fans joined in because the field goal ruined the point spread. On the ensuing possession Alabama was forced to punt. Auburn's Bill Newton blocked Greg Gantt's punt and his teammate David Langner ran the ball back 25 yards for an Auburn touchdown, narrowing the score to 16-10. Several minutes later, Alabama was forced to punt again. Like last time, Newton blocked the punt and Langner returned it for a touchdown. Gardner Jett kicked the extra point to give Auburn a 17-16 lead. With the clock winding down, Langner intercepted an Alabama pass to stop their attempted comeback. When Langner reached the sideline, he found Jordan upset. Langner reportedly said, "But coach, I intercepted the pass," to which Jordan said, "Yeah, but our plan was to make them punt."

Final Score: Texas A&M 20, Texas 10
Date: November 28, 1975
Site: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
Head coach: Emory Bellard
Title: Texas Showdown
The only time these two storied teams have met when both were ranked in the Top 5 in the country came in 1975 at Kyle Field. Emory Bellard's Aggies were ranked No. 2 in the land and had a ferocious defense with the likes of Pat Thomas, Ed Simonini and Lester Hayes, and a steady wishbone offense with quarterbacks Mike Jay and David Shipman and running backs George Woodard and Bubba Bean. Darrell Royal and the Longhorns were ranked No. 5 and had running back Earl Campbell. The Aggies drew first blood with a 31-yard field goal by Tony Franklin. The Aggie defense forced a punt and tight end Richard Osborne caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Jay to extend the lead to 10-0 in the first quarter. The two defenses were tough throughout the day. In the second quarter, Longhorn punt returner Raymond Clayborn broke free for a 64-yard touchdown to make the score 10-7 at halftime. To open the fourth quarter, Woodard powered over from the one-yard line culminating a 55-yard drive in nine plays and Franklin kicked the PAT with 10:05 remaining in the game. Texas placekicker Russell Erxleben kicked a 47-yard field goal with 7:01 remaining in the game to cut the lead to 17-10. A 73-yard scamper by Bean set up Franklin for a 19-yard field goal with 3:57 to play in the game and the Aggies ended up winning 20-10 before an overflow Kyle Field crowd.

Final Score: Missouri 22, at Ohio State 21
Date: September 25, 1976
Site: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Head Coach: Al Onofrio
Title: "The Do-Over"
Mizzou had earned a reputation as being "giant killers" under Head Coach Al Onofrio, as evidenced by 10 wins in the previous four-plus seasons over top-15 teams. The 1976 season had started much the same way, with Mizzou claiming an impressive 46-25 season-opening win at 8th-ranked USC. In week three, the task would be just as difficult, as the Tigers traveled to 2nd-ranked Ohio State. Unfortunately for "Uncle Al" he were without the services of starting QB Steve Pisarkiewicz, who engineered the upset of Southern Cal, but who was now out with an arm injury. That put reserve Pete Woods - who had planned to redshirt during the season - in charge in one of the most hostile environments in the country, where OSU hadn't lost a game in five years. The Buckeyes appeared well on their way to victory, as they established a 21-7 halftime lead thanks to a punishing ground attack. However, the Tiger defense, led by standout LB Chris Garlich, adjusted after halftime and pitched a shutout the rest of the way. Garlich intercepted a third-quarter pass to set up a four-yard touchdown run by Curtis Brown that cut the deficit to 21-14 with 8:54 left in the third. The game turned to a defensive stalemate from there, with neither team able to make a move offensively. But with 4:42 left in the game, Mizzou took over on its 20-yardline, and Woods directed them to near midfield. Later in the drive, Brown got loose around the edge for a 31-yard run that took the ball to the Buckeye 9-yardline. A keeper by Woods got six more yards, before Brown gained one on second down, forcing a third-and-goal from the 2-yardline with just :16 seconds left. After the Tigers used their last timeout, Woods floated a pass in the far corner of the end zone for Leo Lewis, who hauled it in for a score with only :12 seconds left to make it a 21-20 game. Onofrio never hesitated to go for the win with a two-point conversion, but when Woods' attempted pass to Brown went incomplete, hearts sunk on the Tiger sideline. But MU got a reprieve, as Ohio State was called for holding on the play, and this time Woods capitalized, as he took the snap, rolled left on a sprint option, slipped a tackle and dove into the end zone to give Mizzou a dramatic 22-21 win. The small contingent of Tiger fans in attendance didn't care that their team needed some help from the referees - the two-pointer that counted went their way and they walked out as victors in yet another stunning early-season upset win for Mizzou.

Date: January 1, 1977
Site: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Title: Agreement begins to send SEC Champ to Sugar Bowl
The Sugar Bowl has had a longstanding relationship with the Southeastern Conference. In fact, the Sugar Bowl did NOT feature an SEC team only four times in its first 60 editions, and an SEC team played in the game in every year but one from 1950 to 1995. But it was beginning with the 1977 game that the SEC formalized an agreement to send its champion to the Sugar Bowl following each season. The SEC-Sugar Bowl relationship remains intact to present day, although the SEC Champion has played in other games as the college football post-season has evolved through the Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, Bowl Championship Series and College Football Playoff eras. When an SEC Champion has played in a different bowl due to bowl agreement requirements, the SEC has generally sent its second highest-ranked team to the Sugar Bowl.

Final Score: Ole Miss 20, Notre Dame 13
Date: September 17, 1977
Site: Mississippi Memorial Stadium, Jackson, Mississippi
Head Coach: Ken Cooper
Title: Upsetting the Eventual National Champions
In one of the most memorable games in Rebel football history, Ole Miss upset Notre Dame, 20-13 in Mississippi Memorial Stadium on Sept. 17, 1977, in Jackson. That loss was the Irish's lone setback of the 1977 campaign, as Notre Dame finished the season with an 11-1 record and claimed the national title. Notre Dame led 13-10 on the strength of two fourth quarter field goals, the second coming with just four minutes, 53 seconds remaining. A screen worked to perfection, and James Storey, all alone, reached slightly behind him to make "a fabulous catch." Touchdown Ole Miss. The Rebels took the lead. And then, after the ensuing kickoff, Irish running back Jerome Heavens fumbled and Moreland recovered. The Rebels tacked on a field goal to secure the upset.

Final score: Kentucky 24, Penn State 20
Date: October 1, 1977
Site: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pennsylvania
Head coach: Fran Curci
Title: Victory at Penn State Highlights 10-Win Season
One of the most dominant defensive units in school history created four turnovers and limited No. 4-ranked Penn State to less than 300 offensive yards as the Wildcats went to Happy Valley and came away with a 24-20 victory. The Wildcats faced an early hole as the Nittany Lions scored on their first two possessions for a 10-0 lead. However, All-SEC defensive back Dallas Owens changed the momentum with a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the third quarter, a field goal by Joe Bryant and a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Derrick Ramsey gave UK a lead it would not relinquish. The Wildcats posted four stops in the fourth quarter, including another interception by Owens, to seal the triumph. Led throughout the season by All-America defensive end Art Still, UK went on to a 10-1 record, 6-0 in the SEC, and a No. 7 final national ranking.

Final score: Arkansas 31, Oklahoma 6
Date: January 2, 1978
Site: Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida
Head Coach: Lou Holtz
Title: Upset in Miami
Lou Holtz piloted his first Razorback squad into the Orange Bowl at 10-1 against the heavily favored No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners, who kicked off as 24-point favorites. Prior to the game, Holtz suspended three players including running backs Ben Cowins and Donny Bobo, who had accounted for 78% of the Razorbacks' points during the regular season. With a national championship hanging in the balance for the Sooners, the Hogs jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter on rushing touchdowns from backup RB Roland Sales and QB Ron Calcagni. Arkansas tacked on 10 more points in the third quarter before finally allowing an Oklahoma TD in the fourth quarter. The Razorbacks added one more score for the 31-6 stunner. Sales ran for a then Orange Bowl record 205 yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP honors.

Final Score: Missouri 35, at Nebraska 31
Date: November 18, 1978
Site: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska
Head Coach: Warren Powers
Title: "Spoiling the Party"
Story lines were as plentiful as the cornfields on the plains of Nebraska, as the Missouri Tigers traveled to Lincoln to take on the 2nd-ranked Cornhuskers. This marked the first time Mizzou had closed the regular season against the Big Red, and MU needed a win to make its first bowl game since 1973. The Tigers were led by first-year Head Coach Warren Powers, who just happened to play at Nebraska and serve as an assistant coach there for eight years. Add to the fact that the Huskers just the week before had beaten No. 1 Oklahoma on the same field, and Nebraska was a big favorite looking to position themselves for a national title. The game couldn't have started worse for Mizzou, as Nebraska took the first play of the game around left end for an 82-yard touchdown run before the fans had even settled in. Mizzou withstood the punch, however, and held on to trail just 17-14 at halftime. Even though Nebraska drove for a score to open the third quarter to take a 24-14 lead, the Tiger offense, led by stars Phil Bradley, James Wilder and Kellen Winslow, took over the game. Wilder scored on a short run, and the Tiger defense followed with a Chris Garlich interception in Nebraska territory to continue the momentum. Wilder answered with his third rushing touchdown of the game for a 28-24 Tiger lead. Nebraska responded late in the third with a touchdown to carry a 31-28 lead into the final period, and when Mizzou fumbled near the Nebraska goal line midway through the fourth, hopes seemed dashed. But Mizzou's defense held strong and set up one final drive for the Tiger offense to go win the game. Starting at its own 26-yardline with just 5:59 to play, Bradley mixed key passes to Winslow with the powerful running of Wilder, and the Tigers took the lead with two minutes left on a highlight-reel seven-yard score by Wilder, who bowled over several Nebraska defenders, throwing the last one out of the way near the goal line to take a 35-31 lead. Mizzou's defense preserved the lead, holding Nebraska on downs to complete the upset, and dash Husker dreams of a national title. Bradley threw for 187 yards and a touchdown in the game, while Wilder ran for 181 yards and an MU-record four touchdowns, which complemented Winslow's 132 yards and one score day. On defense, Chris Garlich won several weekly awards due to his 21-tackle day, and the win propelled MU to the Liberty Bowl, where they would go on to defeat LSU and finish the season ranked 15th in the final polls.

Final score: Vanderbilt 41, Air Force 27
Date: November 18, 1978
Site: Dudley Field, Nashville, Tennessee
Head Coach: Fred Pancoast
Title: "Run, Frank, Run"
Frank Mordica rushed for 321 yards and five touchdowns in Vanderbilt's 41-27 victory over Air Force, setting the SEC single-game record. Mordica, a junior, used 22 carries to scores five touchdowns against the Falcons, which was coached by former Vanderbilt assistant and future NFL head coach Bill Parcells. Mordica came close to breaking the NCAA single-game rushing record, which had been set a week earlier by Georgia Tech's Eddie Lee Ivery (356 yards), also against Air Force. Vanderbilt fans ripped Mordica's tearaway jersey off his back after the game as he made his way to the locker room at McGugin Center.