1983 Cotton Bowl Classic

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1983 Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Pittsburgh 0030 3
SMU 0007 7
DateJanuary 1, 1983
StadiumCotton Bowl
LocationDallas, Texas
MVPSS Wes Hopkins (SMU)
QB Lance McIlhenny (SMU)
RefereeJimmy Harper (SEC)
Attendance60,359 [1]
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersLindsey Nelson, Pat Haden, and Pat O'Brien
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 1982  1984

The 1983 Cotton Bowl Classic was a postseason college football bowl game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and SMU Mustangs on January 1, 1983. It was played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.[1][2]

The game featured SMU running back Eric Dickerson and Pittsburgh quarterback Dan Marino. Both were first round picks in the 1983 NFL Draft and are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Despite the two teams combining for 622 yards, only ten points were scored in the game as there were four turnovers, and the final one decided the game.

Game summary[edit]

Temperatures were around freezing (32 °F (0 °C)) with light rain and sleet as undefeated SMU met Pittsburgh. The Panthers drove to the SMU 1-yard line on the game's opening series, but Panther halfback Joe McCall fumbled, and Mustang safety Wes Hopkins fell on the loose ball at the 2-yard line. SMU and Pittsburgh did not score in the half, the first scoreless first half in the Cotton Bowl in 22 years.[1]

On their first possession of the third quarter, the Panthers scored first when Eric Schubert booted a 43-yard field goal. SMU went on an 80-yard drive, capped by quarterback Lance McIlhenny's nine-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, which was the only touchdown of the day.

Marino then engineered a drive which put the Panthers in scoring position at the SMU 7-yard line. On third-and goal and under pressure, Marino threw a pass, but it was tipped by Hopkins and intercepted in the end zone by Blane Smith, helping to clinch the victory for SMU, who finished without a loss for the season.[1][2][3]


Statistics SMU Pitt
First Downs 22 17
Yards Rushing 226 114
Yards Passing 101 181
Total offense - Yards 327 295
Punts-Average 4-38.0 3-44.7
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 1-1
Interceptions 1 0
Penalties-Yards 2-30 8-74

Rushing: SMU - Dickerson 27-124 Pittsburgh - Thomas 19-69

Passing: SMU - McIlhenny 5-8-101 Pittsburgh - Marino 19-37-181

Receiving: SMU - James 3-39 Pittsburgh - McCall 5-58, Thomas 5-38



  1. ^ a b c d e "Mustangs (11-0-1) cotton to No. 1". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1983. p. 4D.
  2. ^ a b Putnam, Pat (January 10, 1983). "Cottoning on to No. 2, it's SMWho". Sports Illustrated: 21.
  3. ^ http://media.attcottonbowl.com/resource/history/1983/rsrc/1983-Classic-Recap.pdf