Top 5 Unforgettable College Football Games Of All Time

College Football has been around since 1869 when Rutgers and Princeton played the first official game in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Rutgers won the game 6-4 and since then, they haven’t won much. Now, let’s get back to the main focus here. College Football has given fans over the years a number of games that they will never forget. Some of these games even bring experiences and memories that people share with their kids and grandkids years down the road. That’s the beauty of the sport. With that being said, let’s take a look at five of the most memorable College Football games in history.

5. Penn State 14 Miami 10 (1987)

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I was born 12 years, five months, and eight days later, but this is still one of my favorite games to re-watch. NBC moved the game to January 2nd in a primetime slot and the hype surrounding the game was unlike anything people had ever seen before. The Hurricanes entered the game as the clear-cut number one team annihilating every team in their path. Penn State won games with its stout defense and its hard-hitting linebackers and defensive backs.
The Hurricanes stepped off the plane in Tempe, Arizona wearing army fatigues because “they were going to war.” Well, we saw how that went. The electricity in the stadium that night could be felt all around the country. Miami wide receiver Michael Irvin had shot his mouth off to Penn State linebacker Shane Conlan saying that their defensive backs weren’t very big. Conlan simply replied: “You haven’t been hit by them yet.”
I’m just going to keep this as simple as possible. This game turned College Football upside down twice and shook it like an absolute rag doll. Everything you could have imagined happening happened and my god it was absolutely beautiful in every single way, shape, and form.
Once the game started, it seemed as if Miami would rip Penn State’s heads off. The Lions had an answer for the Canes. Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde was the Miami ringleader and the Penn State defense threw as many things at Testaverde as they could. The Lions’ defense threw about 150 different looks at Testaverde throughout the game and he had no idea how to react.
Penn State safety Ray Isom laid the lumber on Michael Irvin on a pass over the middle causing Irvin to fumble the ball. That’s when the Lions sent the message that they were there to play and they were not backing down. Testaverde was frustrated the entire night and his fourth interception led to a touchdown drive that gave Penn State a 14-10 lead.
Miami had one final chance to take the lead but the Penn State’s Pete Giftopolous picked off Testaverde one more time at the goal line with nine seconds left to preserve the win for the Nittany Lions. The Hurricanes were clearly the better team on paper but they underestimated the toughness and stubborn behavior of the Nittany Lions. For the Glory of Old State!


4. Auburn 34 Alabama 28 (2013)

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This game was absolutely fantastic and the play simply known as “kick six” was etched into College Football lore forever. The SEC West title was on the line and Alabama was looking for its third straight national title. Auburn was 3-9 the season before and they were looking to prove that the 2012 season was just a fluke. Auburn needed a win against Alabama and in the conference title game alongside an Ohio State loss in the Big Ten Championship to play for the National Championship. Well, everything fell into place.
Auburn tied the game at 28 with 39 seconds left after Nick Marshall threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates. The next Alabama possession, T.J. Yeldon broke free on a 24-yard run and was knocked out of bounds. Time had supposedly expired but replay showed that there was one second left. Nick Saban sent his freshman kicker, Adam Griffith, on the field to try a 57-yard field goal.
Chris Davis was planted under the goalpost in case of the kick falling short. In that case, he could return the missed kick. Griffith got a solid boot into the ball but it fell short and to the right. Davis fielded the kick and sprinted out of the end zone. He had a convoy of blockers down the sideline and darted back to the middle of the field. It had seemed as if Davis was untouched. 109 yards later, Auburn had won the game on one of the most dramatic plays in College Football history. Auburn won, and Alabama’s title hopes were gone.


3. Boise State 43 Oklahoma 42 OT (2007)

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Number 68’s facial expression says it all. This was the textbook definition of David v. Goliath. Oklahoma was led by Adrian Peterson and they were expected to absolutely beat the brakes off of a Boise State team that came from the WAC. Boise showed that they were for real after building a 28-10 lead but that 18 point advantage evaporated rather quickly. Adrian Peterson took over from that point on and the game was later tied at 28.
Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky was intercepted by Marcus Walker with 1:02 to go and Walker returned that interception for a touchdown to give the Sooners a 35-28 lead. People thought the game was over. It wasn’t even remotely close to being over. On fourth down and eighteen, the Broncos successfully completed the hook-and-ladder trick play and the end was result was a touchdown with seven seconds remaining. The game was tied at 35 and overtime was next.
In overtime, Oklahoma made quick work of Boise’s defense and took a 42-35 lead on yet another Adrian Peterson run. The Broncos got the ball back and were faced with yet another do or die fourth down and two from the six. Zabransky rolled out into the slot and Vinny Perretta lined up as the quarterback. Perretta took the snap, rolled to his right, and found Derek Schouman in the end zone for the touchdown. Boise had enough and decided to go for two and the win.
Zabransky took the snap, faked a throw to the right, and handed the ball off to Ian Johnson behind his back in a play known as the Statue of Liberty. Johnson had a convoy of blockers to his left and he raced to the end zone to give Boise State its biggest win in school history and easily one of the most dramatic bowl endings in the 2000’s era.


2. Miami 31 Nebraska 30 (1984)

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In 1982, Nebraska won the Orange Bowl but a 27-24 loss to eventual national champion Penn State destroyed their chances of making the title game. The Cornhuskers destroyed every team in their path in 1983 and were poised to win. In a return trip to the Orange Bowl, Nebraska faced the Miami Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were ranked fifth and had other ideas for the game.
Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier was expected to run all over all Miami’s defense but he was kept in check. Miami raced out to a 17-0 lead and it had seemed as if the game was decided. Nebraska came roaring back and they pulled the game to within one with 48 seconds left after Jeff Smith took an option pitch from quarterback Turner Gill and raced to the end zone on fourth down.
Miami led 31-30 and Nebraska coach Tom Osbourne was throwing all of his chips into the center of the table. He didn’t want to settle for a tie and he wanted to win that National Championship more than anything. Turner Gill took the snap, rolled to his right and looked for Jeff Smith. Miami defensive back Kenny Calhoun got his hand on the ball and knocked it away. Miami ended up hanging on to its 31-30 lead and won the game.
With No. 2 Texas losing the Cotton Bowl, No. 3 Auburn barely escaping the Sugar bowl, and No. 4 Illinois getting clobbered in the Rose Bowl, the No. 5 Hurricanes were named the National Champions and the rest of the 1980’s were dominated by the Canes. Osbourne had to wait another 11 years for his first national title and he got it after beating Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl. Imagine a Penn State and Nebraska national title game during the 1994 season. I’d put my money on Penn State in that game and it wouldn’t even be close.


1. Texas 41 USC 38 (2006)

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If you don’t think that this game is number one, you’re wrong. Two giants on College Football’s biggest stage in the “Grand Daddy of Them All.” ¬†USC and Texas were No. 1 and No. 2 respectively and there was star-power on each side. USC was led by Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, and Dwayne Jarrett. Texas was led quarterback Vince Young, Jamaal Charles, Billy Pittman, and Limas Sweed.
This game also had a much bigger purpose for broadcaster Keith Jackson. It was his final game in the booth and his voice has been linked to the glory days of College Football. When you hear his voice, you know it’s football season and it just gets you in the mood at any time.
USC was the clear favorite in the game and they were riding a 34 game winning streak. Even though Texas was extremely talented, the Trojans were expected to come out on top when the night was finished. The Trojans led 16-10 at the half and extended their lead to 38-26 in the fourth quarter. 38-26 then became 38-33. USC had a chance to run out the clock but LenDale White was stopped on a fourth and two turning the ball back over to the Longhorns.
Young marched the Horns down the field and they were faced with a fourth and five with 26 seconds left. Young rolled to his right and raced to the end zone to give Texas an improbable 39-38 lead with 19 seconds left. After a two-point conversion, Texas led 41-38 and they could smell the roses. A last gasp by USC fell short and the Horns had upset the perennial giant in USC and ended their 34 game winning streak.

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