1998 Orange Bowl
|1998 FedEx Orange Bowl|
|National Championship Game|
|Date||January 2, 1998|
|Stadium||Pro Player Stadium|
|Location||Miami Gardens, Florida|
|MVP||Nebraska RB Ahman Green|
|Referee||Terry McAulay (Atlantic Coast Conference)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Sean McDonough and Terry Donahue|
The 1998 Orange Bowl a 1997-1998 Bowl Alliance game was played on January 2, 1998. This 64th edition to the Orange Bowl featured the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee came into the game with an 11-1 record and #3 AP ranking, whereas Nebraska came into the game with a 12-0 and #2 AP ranking.
Nebraska opened up a 7-0 lead after the first quarter and led 14-3 lead at halftime. Nebraska put the game away in the opening drive of the third quarter via their power running game, driving the opening kickoff for a touchdown to push the lead to 21-3. Nebraska's lead jumped to 28-3 after a Scott Frost touchdown. Quarterback Peyton Manning fired a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Peerless Price to cut the lead to 28-9. The ensuing two-point conversion failed and the lead remained at 19 at the end of the third quarter.
Nebraska drove 59 yards in 3 plays, before running back Ahman Green scored on a 22-yard touchdown run to move the lead back up to 35-9 to start the fourth quarter. Quarterback Scott Frost later added a 9-yard touchdown run to put the game away for Nebraska. Back-up quarterback Tee Martin threw a touchdown pass in the final minutes, and the ensuing two-point conversion was successful, making the final margin 42-17.
Nebraska's running back Ahman Green was named game MVP after rushing for an Orange Bowl record 201 yards, and two touchdowns. Peyton Manning's final game at Tennessee capped a brilliant college career, completing 21-of-31 attempts for only 131 yards passing. The game was also the last for Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne who had been at the helm since 1973.
Nebraska won the National Championship, capturing the number 1 spot in the Coaches Poll and receiving the AFCA National Championship Trophy.
Despite an undefeated 13-0 season by Nebraska and winning the Coaches Poll National Championship, the Cornhuskers finished the season ranked number 2 in the AP Poll, behind the also-undefeated Rose Bowl champion Michigan Wolverines.
Tennessee finished the 1997 season 11-2. This game would be the Vols' last loss until September 18, 1999.
Both teams would meet exactly two years later, on January 2, 2000, in the Fiesta Bowl.
The next season the Bowl Championship Series would be formed, allowing the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions to participate in National Championship games outside the Rose Bowl.