1992 Sugar Bowl
|1992 USF&G Sugar Bowl|
|Date||January 1, 1992|
|Location||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Referee||James Sprenger (Pac-10)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Frank Gifford, Al Michaels and Dan Dierdorf|
The 1992 Sugar Bowl was the 58th edition to the annual game. It featured the third-ranked Florida Gators and the 18th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Using a come-from-behind performance, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upset the highly favored Gators 39–28. The game is also known as "The Cheerios Bowl", due to the comment a waiter supposedly told Lou Holtz at a restaurant that "The difference between Cheerios and Notre Dame is that Cheerios belong in a bowl".
The Florida Gators built an early 7–0 lead when their Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Shane Matthews, found All-SEC wide receiver Willie Jackson on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Florida led 10–0 at the end of the first quarter, after Arden Czyzewski added a 26-yard field goal to cap the quarter.
Czyzewski added a 24-yard field goal, early in the second quarter, allowing the Gators to take a 13-0 lead. Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer capped a methodical drive with a perfect 40-yard touchdown pass to wideout Lake Dawson, making it 13–7 Gators. The Gators led 16-7 at half, after Czyzewski's third field goal of the game. In the third quarter, Notre Dame got a 23-yard field goal from Kevin Pendergast, and a 4-yard touchdown pass form Rick Mirer to Irv Smith to take a 17-16 lead. Czyzewski's 37-yard field goal made it 19-17 at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Czyzewski's fifth field goal of the game gave the Gators a 22-17 lead with just 13:45 remaining. Notre Dame's Jerome Bettis then took over the game, as he rushed for touchdowns of 3 and 49 yards, as Notre Dame grabbed a 32-22 lead. Florida quickly responded with a 36-yard score from Shane Matthews to Harrison Houston with 2:28 left to make it 32-28.
Notre Dame put the game out of reach following Jerome Bettis's third rushing touchdown of the game, a 39-yarder, to make the final score 39–28. Bettis finished the game with 150 yards rushing. Florida quarterback Shane Matthews set Sugar Bowl records for passing yards (370), and completions (28). Florida lost despite outgaining Notre Dame 511–433, and having 2 turnovers, compared to Notre Dame's 3.