Harvard Beats Yale 29-29: ...and Other Great Comebacks from the Annals of Sports

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On fourth down at the yard line, Finley dropped back to pass instead of punting and launched a risky deep ball that he perfectly dropped over two defenders and into the hands of Wilson, who hauled in a brilliant catch and scored. SMU held Baugh -- who attempted 44 passes, according to the AP -- and the Horned Frogs on their final few possessions and secured the Southwest championship. The first game was supposed to matter. The second game -- and the subsequent opinions of poll voters -- made sure that it did not.

Harvard–Yale football rivalry

The final score was close, but in reality, despite FSU scoring first, Notre Dame controlled most of the game. Florida State scored on a yard tipped Charlie Ward pass on fourth-and-goal, and when Notre Dame botched a punt, FSU had a chance to erase the seven-point deficit in the final minute. The last play of the game, however, was a pass batted down at the goal, vaulting Notre Dame to No. The Irish's stay atop the polls lasted one week. The Eagles led at halftime, quickly went ahead , then recovered an onside kick but missed a field goal.

Notre Dame thought it had escaped, but with the help of a personal foul on the kickoff, Boston College responded, and a Glenn Foley completion to the yard line with five seconds left set up David Gordon for the game-winning yard field goal. Despite having the same record and a head-to-head win over the Seminoles, Florida State moved back up to No. In one afternoon on Stagg Field in Chicago, college football took two major steps toward becoming more of a national sport: A football game was broadcast nationally on the radio for the first time portions of the game can actually be viewed here , and the Chicago Tribune published full play-by-play charts , and it marked the first time one of the Ivy League Big Three -- Harvard, Yale and Princeton -- made a trip west.

In , Chicago went east and beat Princeton A year later, the Tigers made the return trip for a highly anticipated rematch. In the book "Stagg's University," Robin Lester writes that "Chicago received well over a hundred thousand ticket requests," even though the stadium made room for just 31,at the time.

Chicago controlled the game for three quarters behind its running. But up in the fourth quarter, Chicago's backup center let loose a bad snap that bounced to Princeton's Howdy Gray, who ran 43 yards for a touchdown.


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Princeton soon went on a drive and scored again to take a lead. Chicago's offense responded, all the way down to the one-yard line in the closing moments -- "Perhaps never in the annals of football has a more dramatic march down field been seen," the Chicago Tribune wrote in its play-by-play account -- but the Tigers held onto their comeback with a goal-line stand, stopping John Thomas short for the win. Princeton's "Team of Destiny" went on to finish Notre Dame's early powerhouse teams were most famous for their battles with Army and USC, but the actual best game the Fighting Irish took part in during the first half of the 20 th century happened in , in their first visit to Ohio Stadium.

The Buckeyes were and had won 10 in a row, with coach Francis Schmidt boasting an excellent offense. The highly anticipated contest became a legendary affair. Ohio State led at halftime, its first touchdown coming on an interception by Frank Antenucci, who lateraled to Frank Boucher, who ran 70 yards for the touchdown. The Irish squandered their next chance with a fumble in the end zone, but on their next drive, Pilney led the Irish downfield, finishing with a TD pass to Mike Layden. Again, the PAT was no good, and the Irish still trailed late in the game.

Ohio State recovered the onside kick, but Dick Beltz lost a fumble at the yard line. Pilney dashed 36 yards inside the 20, but he was forced to leave because of a knee injury.

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The Game Won Without Winning

Bill Shakespeare entered, and with 32 seconds, he found Wayne Milner in the end zone for the touchdown to complete the shocking comeback. A significant portion of the college football world wanted to dance on the grave of the Bowl Championship Series as the playoff era was ushered in, but the 16 th and final BCS title game allowed the divisive system to go out on a high note.

Florida State had been dominant all season, crushing everybody to go as Jameis Winston won the Heisman.


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  6. FSU trimmed Auburn's lead to early in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for a tremendous final five minutes. Auburn kicked a yard field goal. FSU's Kermit Whitfield returned the ensuing kickoff the length of the field for a touchdown. Auburn responded with a yard drive that ended with Tre Mason's yard go-ahead TD with only left. That left the ball in the hands of the Heisman winner at his own 20, BCS title on the line.

    With several completions, including a yard pass in which Rashad Greene slipped through the defense for a big gain after the catch, FSU had the ball at the two with 17 seconds left. Winston dropped back and tossed high to the 6-foot-5 Benjamin, who went up and nabbed the game-winning touchdown to complete a perfect Seminoles season.

    Harvard Beats Yale and Other Great Comebacks from the Annals of Sports -

    It's hard to ask for much more from a rivalry game. The Trojans dropped from No. Playing with bruised ribs, Beban threw a yard pick-six to Pat Cashman in the first quarter, and USC led at halftime after a Simpson touchdown. On USC's next drive, it needed seven yards on third down at its own yard line. It got much more: Simpson, whose foot wasn't percent , unleashed one of the best runs in college football history.

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    QB Toby Page called an audible and handed off to Simpson, who went left, darted upfield, bounced off a tackler, broke down the sideline and accelerated into the open field to score a yard touchdown. USC held on to win the game, move back to No. Beban won the Heisman, but Simpson won it a year later. Entering the bowl season, the top six teams in the AP poll all had zero losses: No.

    The UPI still crowned its champion before the bowls, ensuring Alabama a split of the title. However, with Oklahoma on probation and banned from the postseason, the undefeated tilt between Alabama and Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl served as a de facto national title game on a rainy New Year's Eve at Tulane Stadium. The first-ever showdown between the two historic powers lived up to the hype, despite the fact that Alabama was held to zero yards in the first quarter.

    With the help of a yard kick return TD by Al Hunter, Notre Dame led at halftime, and the teams proceeded to trade scores. Wilbur Jackson led a big Alabama touchdown drive. A big pass from Tom Clements to Dave Casper set up Notre Dame's go-ahead field goal with left, and after a Bama punt, Notre Dame got the ball back at its own one-yard line, trying to run out the clock. From his own end zone on third down, Clements fooled Alabama and completed a yard pass to Robin Weber that moved the chains and allowed the Irish to run out the clock and claim the national title. The UPI finally relented and began publishing its final poll after the bowls the next year.

    Jimmy Johnson lost only nine games in five seasons as head coach of Miami after inheriting the defending national champions from Howard Schnellenberger. Five of those losses came in his first season, including perhaps the most gut-wrenching back-to-back losses ever. Ranked No. That's game No.

    After a week off, Miami, now No.

    The game stood at entering the fourth quarter. Boston College went back ahead, , with left.

    Film, reunions mark 40th anniversary of legendary 29-29 tie

    Bratton converted a fourth down to kick start a Miami drive, and at the two-yard line, he scored to push Miami ahead with 28 seconds to play. Boston College got to the yard line, one play for the game. Flutie dropped back, evaded a defender to the right and faded all the way back to his own yard line. As time expired, Flutie launched a Hail Mary to the end zone. It sailed just over the heads of three Miami defenders and landed perfectly in the hands of his roommate, Gerard Phelan, who caught it while falling down for the touchdown.

    Less than two weeks after allowing what was then the biggest comeback in college football history, Miami lost on what is still remembered as the greatest Hail Mary. When Cal and Stanford kicked off in their regular-season finale, two things were on the line: typical rivalry bragging rights and the possibility of John Elway playing in a bowl game. That's it. Cal was Despite the presence of Elway, who finished second in the Heisman race, Stanford was , needing a win to be eligible for a minor bowl in Elway's senior season. What happened next would have been an excellent rivalry game without the ending; the ending made it one of the most memorable games in sports history.

    Cal kicked a field goal, then got a spectacular yard TD catch by Wes Howell diving in the corner of the end zone. Stanford kicked a field goal to trim the lead to two.

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    Elway lost a fumble with left, but Stanford forced a punt. Facing fourth-and at his own 13, Elway threw a dart between defenders to convert. Another great Elway pass got Stanford inside the 40, and a big run pushed the Cardinal into the red zone. With four seconds left, Mark Harmon made a yard field goal to take the lead. A celebration penalty backed up Stanford's kick, and Harmon squibbed it. What happened next was something so spectacular that it can be described simply as "The Play": Cal fielded the ball at the Five hectic laterals later, the ball ended up in the hands of Kevin Moen at the yard line.

    By this point, the Stanford band had already come onto that end of the field. Moen found a lane through the Cardinal and the band and punctuated the most improbably bizarre touchdown in football history by running over a trombone player in the end zone. The stars aligned perfectly for an all-time great midseason battle in South Bend, the game that would come to be known as Catholics vs. Convicts because of T-shirts with the slogan being sold before the game.

    Miami was No. Notre Dame was No. Miami humiliated Notre Dame in their previous two meetings, and the Irish were poised for revenge. A pregame fight added to the intensity, and the game was tied at halftime. After cutting the lead to seven, Miami's Cleveland Gary lost a fumble just short of the goal line, although replays indicated afterward that he was likely down.