1980 Sugar Bowl

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1980 Sugar Bowl
1234 Total
Alabama 14307 24
Arkansas 3060 9
DateJanuary 1, 1980
StadiumLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPMajor Ogilvie (RB, Alabama)
FavoriteAlabama by 6½ to 10 points [1]
RefereeBill Jennings (Big 8)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersKeith Jackson and Ara Parseghian
Sugar Bowl
 < 1979  1981

The 1980 Sugar Bowl was played on January 1, 1980, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It featured the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference, and the Arkansas Razorbacks of the Southwest Conference. Alabama won 24–9,[2][3][4] and gained their third national championship of the decade.[5]



Led by head coach Lou Holtz, the Razorbacks entered the game at 10–1, sharing the SWC title with Houston. Greg Kolenda was an All-American offensive tackle. The Hogs' defense gave up 9.8 points per game on the year, the sixth-best scoring defense in Division I.


Alabama entered the game undefeated, and had won two national championships already in the decade, in 1973 and 1978. Three of their conference victories in 1979 were by close margins, including a 3–0 win at LSU.

Game summary[edit]

Arkansas scored first in the first quarter, on a 34-yard Ish Ordonez field goal, to give the Razorbacks a 3–0 advantage. Alabama running back Major Ogilvie scored on touchdown runs of 22 and 1 yard and Alabama led 14–3 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Alan McElroy kicked a 25-yard field goal for the Crimson Tide, and they held a 17–3 advantage at halftime.[3]

In the third quarter, Kevin Scanlon of Arkansas threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Robert Farrell and the score tightened to 17–9. In the fourth quarter, Steve Whitman scored on a 12-yard run as Alabama won by a 24–9 margin. Ogilvie was named Sugar Bowl MVP. He rushed for a touchdown in three consecutive Sugar Bowls.

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP UA ARK
1 12:54 3 8 ARK 34-yard field goal by Ish Ordonez 0 3
1 6:37 82 7 UA Major Ogilvie 22-yard touchdown run, Alan McElroy kick good 7 3
1 3:48 22 4 UA Major Ogilvie 1-yard touchdown run, Alan McElroy kick good 14 3
2 0:25 UA 25-yard field goal by Alan McElroy 17 3
3 11:37 80 11 ARK Robert Farrell 3-yard touchdown reception from Kevin Scanlon, 2-point run no good 17 9
4 8:59 98 9 UA Steve Whitman 12-yard touchdown run, Alan McElroy kick good 24 9
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 24 9


Later in the day at the Rose Bowl, Ohio State was defeated 17–16 by USC.[6] For the first time since 1964, Alabama was voted to the top spot in both final polls.[7][8] It was the Tide's first perfect season since 1966.


  1. ^ "Bryant's Crimson Tide faces Razorbacks' stern challenge". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 1, 1980. p. 20.
  2. ^ Browning, Al (January 2, 1980). "High Tide swamps Hogs, 24-9". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 1.
  3. ^ a b "Alabama defense stymies Arkansas, 24-9, for Sugar Bowl triumph". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. January 2, 1980. p. 3B.
  4. ^ DelNagro, Mike (January 14, 1980). "A good thing came to those who waited". Sports Illustrated. p. 30.
  5. ^ "46th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic ~ January 1, 1980." Article. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  6. ^ Looney, Douglas S. (January 14, 1980). "A beautiful Rose, even for Bama". Sports Illustrated. p. 28.
  7. ^ Browning, Al (January 3, 1980). "Could be best ever, Bryant says of champ". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 11.
  8. ^ "It's Bama". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 3, 1980. p. 23.