1980 Cotton Bowl Classic
This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|1980 Cotton Bowl Classic|
|Date||January 1, 1980|
QB Terry Elston (Houston) |
LB David Hodge (Houston)
|Referee||Robert Aillet (SEC)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Lindsey Nelson (Play by Play 1st Quarter only), Frank Glieber (Sideline 1st, Play by play 2nd-4th quarters), and Paul Hornung|
The Cougars were co-champions of the Southwest Conference with Arkansas, who they beat midway through the season. While Arkansas was invited to the Sugar Bowl, the Cougars were invited to the Cotton Bowl Classic for the second straight year, and their third in four seasons. The Cornhuskers finished second in the Big Eight Conference for the fifth time during Tom Osborne's tenure, after losing to Oklahoma in their last game of the regular season. The Huskers were invited to their first Cotton Bowl Classic since 1974 and seventh straight bowl season.
Jarvis Redwine gave Nebraska the lead with a 9-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter after an 85-yard drive. But Houston retaliated midway through the second quarter with their own drive, 71 yards in 6 plays which culminated with a Terry Elston touchdown run that made it 7-7 at halftime. The fourth quarter is when the two teams started to come back to life as Kenny Hatfield kicked a field goal to give the Cougs a 10-7 lead with 8:25 remaining. But Nebraska recovered a Houston fumble at the 31 late in the quarter and scored 6 plays later on a Jeff Finn touchdown run. After the kickoff, Houston started a drive at their own 34, needing a touchdown to win with three minutes, 48 seconds remaining. Elston drove his team to the Nebraska 6 with :19 seconds left. It was fourth and 1 as Elston snapped the ball, scrambling and throwing through two defenders' hands to Eric Herring in the end zone, to give Houston the lead with :12 left. Nebraska could not work a miracle of their own as the Cougars gained their second Cotton Bowl Classic win in three years.
The Cornhuskers would go to 18 more straight bowl seasons under Osborne's tenure before his retirement, with none being in the Cotton Bowl. They would however return in 2007. The Cougars would return five years later to the Cotton Bowl Classic and lose. They have not won a Cotton Bowl Classic since this game.