1980 Sugar Bowl

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1980 Sugar Bowl
46th edition
1234 Total
Alabama 14307 24
Arkansas 3060 9
DateJanuary 1, 1980
StadiumLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPMajor Ogilvie (Alabama RB)
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 the 46th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday, January 1. Part of the 1979–80 bowl game season, it matched the undefeated and second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the #6 Arkansas Razorbacks of the Southwest Conference (SWC). Favored Alabama won 24–9,[2][3][4] and gained their third national championship of the decade.[5]



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.


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 and quarterback Kevin Scanlon was the Southwest Conference Player of the Year. The Hogs' defense gave up 9.8 points per game on the year, the sixth-best scoring defense in Division I.

Game summary[edit]

The game kicked off shortly after 1 p.m. CST, televised by ABC, at the same time as the Cotton Bowl on CBS.[6]

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, all Crimson Tide victories.

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP ALA ARK
1 12:54 3 8 ARK 34-yard field goal by Ish Ordonez 0 3
1 6:37 82 7 ALA Major Ogilvie 22-yard touchdown run, Alan McElroy kick good 7 3
1 3:48 22 4 ALA Major Ogilvie 1-yard touchdown run, Alan McElroy kick good 14 3
2 0:25 ALA 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 ALA 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


Statistics  Alabama  Arkansas
First downs 18 21
Rushing yards 53–284 41–97
Passing yards 70 245
Passing 4–7–2 22–40–2
Total offense 60–354 81–342
Punts–average 8–36.2 7–36.2
Fumbles–lost 1–1 1–1
Turnovers 3 3
Penalties–yards 7–61 1–15


Later in the day at the Rose Bowl, Ohio State was defeated 17–16 by USC.[7] For the first time since 1964, Alabama was voted to the top spot in both final polls.[8][9] 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. ^ a b Browning, Al (January 2, 1980). "High Tide swamps Hogs, 24-9". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 1.
  3. ^ a b c "Alabama defense stymies Arkansas, 24-9, for Sugar Bowl triumph". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. January 2, 1980. p. 3B.
  4. ^ a b 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. ^ "Bowl guide: Sugar". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 1, 1980. p. 21.
  7. ^ Looney, Douglas S. (January 14, 1980). "A beautiful Rose, even for Bama". Sports Illustrated. p. 28.
  8. ^ Browning, Al (January 3, 1980). "Could be best ever, Bryant says of champ". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 11.
  9. ^ "It's Bama". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 3, 1980. p. 23.