Rutgers 50 ... Virginia Tech 49, October 31, 1992
At the time:
in the midst of its only winning season for more than a decade led by
Miami transfer Brian Foray. The Scarlet Knight quarterback was the star
of a 4-3 team that hadn't beaten anyone of note. Virginia Tech wasn't
the Virginia Tech you now know starting the year 2-4-1 only beating
James Madison and a miserable Temple team.
The setup: It was a fun shootout with several wild plays and
major mistakes by both sides. Fortay, who threw five interceptions
including one for a touchdown, was benched several times only to come
back and lead Rutgers to points. Down 49-44 with less than three minutes
to play, Fortay threw one of his worst interceptions of the day
apparently sealing the win for Virginia Tech. But Rutgers was able to
use all of its timeouts and got the ball back with 1:32 to play
The ending: On the Virginia Tech 15, Fortay threw a floating pass
to the back right corner of the end zone to Chris Brantley for his third
touchdown of the day coming with no time left on the clock for the win.
How they ended up: Virginia Tech went on to lose the final three
games of the season to finish 2-8-1. The following year, the Hokies went
9-3 and haven't looked back since. Rutgers went in the opposite
direction after 1992, but this win was part of a great finish winning
four out of the final five games to end up 7-4.
Utah 35 ... Minnesota 29,
September 8, 1990
At the time:
started the season with a 19-0 road win over Utah State. This was
Minnesota's home opener.
The setup: Utah jumped out to an early 19-0 lead, but Minnesota
battled back in the turnover-fest and eventually tied it at 29 late in
the third quarter on a two-point conversion. Using the field position
off a blocked punt, Minnesota had the ball set up for a 29-yard
game-winning field goal with eight seconds to play.
The ending: Utah's Greg Reynolds barreled through the middle of
the line to block the kick. LaVon Edwards picked it up and raced 91
yards for the game-winning touchdown as time ran out.
How they ended up: Utah scored 35 points against Minnesota, but
it only scored 37 points over the next four games for a 2-3 start. The
offense struggled all season long as the Utes finished 4-7 in the first
year of the Ron McBride era. Minnesota went on to win six of the final
ten games to finish 6-5.
Kentucky 14 ... Vanderbilt 7,
November 6, 1971
At the time:
stunk. Kentucky had finally broken a six-game losing streak with a 33-27
win over Virginia Tech while Vanderbilt had just broken a four-game
losing streak with a 13-9 win over Tulane. It was a very cold, very
rainy day between the two SEC lightweights. Kentucky was trying to break
a 17-game SEC losing streak.
The setup: Kentucky's Jim Reed scored on a 44-yard touchdown run
early in the third quarter. Vanderbilt broke a 15 quarter home scoreless
streak with a four-yard Jamie O'Rourke touchdown run. Kentucky kicker
Tom Kirk missed three field goals, so UK elected to punt with 50 seconds
to play from its own 44 rather than try to get into field goal range.
The ending: Vandy started on its own 30 and ran a conservative
play to try to run out the clock and take the tie. With the home crowd
booing on homecoming day, Vanderbilt tried one more last gasp play. QB
Steve Burger threw a horrible pass which was easily picked off by
Kentucky's Darryl Bishop who raced up the sidelines and into the end
zone for the 43-yard touchdown as time ran out.
How they ended up: Vanderbilt beat Tampa the following week
before closing out with a loss to Tennessee. The Commodores finished
4-6-1 only scoring 136 points. Kentucky lost it final to game to finish
3-8 only scoring 144 points.
Georgia Tech 31 ... Clemson 28,
November 28, 2000
At the time:
Tech had won three straight and was looking to make a statement in the
ACC title race. Number four Clemson had started off the season 8-0 and
was looking forward to a showdown with Florida State the following week
with the hopes of securing a conference title.
The setup: It was a tremendous game with long scoring drives and
an 88-yard punt return for a score from Clemson's Brian Mance. The
Tigers took a 28-24 lead with under two minutes to play on a Rod Gardner
touchdown catch. Kelly Campbell finished with 209 receiving yards for
the Yellow Jackets, and was the focus of the Clemson defense on the
The ending: Tech QB George Godsey, who finished with a school
record 454 passing yards, had the ball on the Clemson 16 with time
running out. He lofted a pass into the end zone for Kerry Watkins, but
it appeared to be out of reach. Watkins dove, making a one-handed grab
for the game-winning score with just seven seconds to play.
How they ended up: Clemson got steamrolled 54-7 by Florida State
the following week before beating South Carolina in 16-14 classic. The
Tigers ended up 9-3 after losing 41-20 to Virginia Tech in the Gator
Bowl. Georgia Tech won its next three games to end the regular season
with a seven-game winning streak before losing 28-14 to LSU in the Peach
Bowl for a 9-3 record.
No. 96 Miami
10 ... West Virginia 7,
October 26, 1996
At the time:
trying to break a two-game losing streak after getting blasted by East
Carolina and Florida State by a combined score of 65 to 22. At 4-2, the
Canes were trying to turn their season around. West Virginia was rolling
and in the hunt for the Big East title having won its first seven games
of the year.
The setup: It was a defensive battle as Miami was only able to
manage field goal. Up 7-3 late in the fourth quarter, West Virginia
couldn’t run out the clock and had to give the ball back, hoping its
defense would be able to stop the Cane offense as it had done all game
The ending: With just :26 to play, Miami's Tremain Mack roared in
and blocked West Virginia's punt. Jack Hallmon picked it up and handed
it to Nate Brooks who took it twenty yards for a touchdown and a Miami
How they ended up: West Virginia never recovered. The following
week, Syracuse blasted the Mountaineers 30-7. After blowing out a
hapless Rutgers team 55-14, Don Nehlen's team lost to Virginia Tech
before losing to North Carolina in the Gator Bowl to finish 8-4. Miami
ended up winning five of its final six games culminating in a 31-21
Carquest Bowl win over Virginia to finish 9-3.
Florida State 38 ... Florida 34,
November 29, 2003
At the time:
on a five-game winning streak and had appeared to finally get rolling
under head coach Ron Zook. A win over Florida State would do loads for
national respect and keep the momentum rolling. The Noles were having a
slight crisis losing to Clemson and then surviving a 50-44 classic
against NC State to 9-2 going into the showdown in Gainesville.
The setup: Florida fans will forever complain about questionable
officiating, which had been a problem all game long, taking the luster
off a great game. Keiwan Ratliff returned a Rix fumble 77 yards for a
third quarter score, but Florida State would answer as Pat Watkins
returned what appeared to be a downed Ciatrick Fason fumble for a score.
Florida appeared to have the game won on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ben
Troupe with just under three minutes to play, but Florida State had one
The ending: Down three with under a minute to play and on its own
48, Florida State’s Chris Rix rolled to his right and flung it deep. P.K.
Sam fought his way through the Florida defenders, leapt up, and came
down with the grab and the win. For the game, Rix completed 14 of 19
passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a score.
How they ended up: Florida State couldn't maintain the mojo. In a
rematch with Miami, the Noles couldn't avenge a 22-14 loss and fell
16-14 in the Orange Bowl. The Gator season went from bad to worse
getting blasted 37-17 to Iowa in the Outback Bowl to finish 8-5.
No. 94 Tennessee 34 ... Syracuse 33,
September 5, 1998
At the time:
It was the
season opener for each team. Tennessee was in game one following the
Peyton Manning era, while Syracuse and quarterback Donovan McNabb were
trying to get off to a big start after closing out 1997 with eight
straight wins before a Fiesta Bowl loss to Kansas State.
The setup: In an exciting see-saw game, Syracuse got a late
19-yard field goal for a 33-31 lead and an apparent victory. Jamal Lewis
had rushed for 141 yards for the Vols, but new starting quarterback Tee
Martin struggled despite running for a touchdown and throwing two scores
to Peerless Price. Martin would get one final drive to try to make
amends for a rocky start.
The ending: Helped by a questionable pass interference call on
fourth down to keep the drive alive, Martin coolly and calmly lead the
Volunteers into field goal position. With the Carrier Dome crowd
roaring, Jeff Hall connected on a 27-yard field goal as time ran out.
How they ended up: Syracuse overcame the heartbreaker to shock
Michigan 38-28 in the Big House. Despite losses to NC State and West
Virginia, the Orangemen ended up in the BCS losing 31-10 to Florida in
the Orange Bowl. Tennessee had a dream season winning tight games with
Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi State to get to the Fiesta Bowl
against Florida State for the national title. The Vols won 23-16.
16 ... Syracuse 10,
November 21, 1992
At the time:
Miami was on yet another apparent national title run
coming into Syracuse 9-0 led by Gino Torretta and its high-powered
offense. Syracuse was also on a roll winning seven straight following an
early season loss to Ohio State. The year before the bowl coalition
kicked in, the winner of this game would be the Big East champion and
earn a spot of the Sugar Bowl. The loser would likely end up in the
Fiesta, though that wasn't confirmed at the time.
The setup: The Carrier Dome was rocking. Miami was up by six late
in the game, but Syracuse was on the march. Marvin Graves and the
Orangemen were in range for a possible program-changing win with time
ticking off the clock.
The ending: Graves went back to pass and found tight end Chris
Gedney on the three-yard line. All he had to do was turn get into the
end zone with no time left on the clock and the win, barring a missed
extra point, and the title was Syracuse's, and Miami’s national title
shots would be crushed, but Gedney was stopped just short as time ran
How they ended up: Syracuse was still granted a major bowl slot,
and took advantage with a 26-22 win over Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl for
its fifth straight bowl win and a 10-2 season. Miami was expected to win
the national title in the Sugar Bowl, but Alabama's defense came through
with a 34-13 win.
Ohio State 27 ... Iowa 26,
November 11, 1990
At the time:
Iowa was 7-1 and ranked sixth in the nation with the
only loss coming at Miami early in the season. Ohio State was also on a
bit of a roll winning three straight and was looking to slow down Iowa's
march to the Big Ten title and Rose Bowl. A home win for Iowa would
clinch a trip to Pasadena.
The setup: Iowa appeared to be on the way to the win jumping out
to a 17-7 first half lead, but Ohio State got a miracle play just before
halftime as Jeff Graham caught a touchdown pass that bounced off the
shoulder pads of Hawkeye defensive back Merton Hanks. Iowa came back
roaring to take a 26-14 lead, but OSU got a 21-yard touchdown pass to
Bobby Olive with just over six minutes to play to close the gap to five.
The Buckeyes got the ball back at around midfield with :59 to play and
no timeouts. Quarterback Greg Frey got OSU down to the Iowa three with
seven seconds to play.
The ending: Frey and Olive connected for their second touchdown
pass of the fourth quarter on a diving grab in the back of the end zone
with one second left to play.
How they ended up: The Hawkeyes beat Purdue the following week to
earn the trip to Pasadena. However, they lost to Minnesota to close out
the regular season and lost 46-34 to Washington in the Rose Bowl to
finish 8-4. Ohio State beat a hapless Wisconsin team the following week
before losing a 16-13 heartbreaker to Michigan. A 23-11 Liberty Bowl
loss to Air Force ended the year at 7-4-1.
Mississippi State 6 ... Alabama 3,
November 1, 1980
At the time:
defending national champion Alabama was 7-0 and held the nation's
longest winning streak at 28 games. Mississippi State, led by head coach
Emory Bellard, better known as the creator of the wishbone offense, was
6-2 coming off wins over Miami and Auburn. The week before this
showdown, Alabama beat Southern Miss 42-7. Southern Miss had beaten
Mississippi State 42-14 a few weeks earlier.
The setup: Fumbles led to all the early points in a 3-3 tie as
the defenses dominated. MSU was able to go on its only sustained drive
of the game early in the fourth quarter culminating in a 22-yard field
goal and a 6-3 lead. MSU had another late field goal attempt with just
over two minutes to play, but it was blocked leading to a last-gasp Bama
drive. QB Don Jacobs got the Tide down to the MSU 20 with no timeouts
and :40 remaining even though he couldn't hear over the roaring Bulldog
The ending: Even with the cowbells and the screaming, Jacobs
still got the Tide down to the MSU four. The clock kept ticking. There
wasn't enough time to get the field goal unit on the field for a
last-gasp attempt, so Jacobs took the snap and ran the option to the
right only to be met by MSU's Tyrone Keys, who forced a fumble. MSU's
Billy Jackson made his second fumble recovery of the game sealing the
win ... or so the Bulldog fans thought. There were still six seconds
left to play meaning MSU had to snap the ball one more time. Quarterback
John Bond fumbled the snap on the MSU one leading to a mad pileup, but
the Bulldogs recovered.
How they ended up: MSU ended the regular season with a five-game
winning streak and a 9-2 record before losing 31-17 to Nebraska in the
Sun Bowl. Alabama recovered to throttle LSU 28-7 the following week
before losing 7-0 to Notre Dame. The Tide ended up 10-2 finishing with a
30-2 win over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.