1966 Orange Bowl
32nd Orange Bowl
1234 Total
Alabama 71787 39
Nebraska 07615 28
DateJanuary 1, 1966
StadiumOrange Bowl
LocationMiami, Florida
MVPSteve Sloan (Alabama QB)
FavoriteAlabama by 3 points[1][2]
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersCurt Gowdy, Paul Christman
Orange Bowl
 < 1965  1967

The 1966 Orange Bowl was the 32nd edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, on Saturday, January 1. The final game of the 1965–66 bowl season, it matched the third-ranked and undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Eight Conference and the #4 Alabama Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).[1][3]

This was the second year that the Orange Bowl was played at night on New Year's Day, after the other college football bowl games. Due to losses by both #1 Michigan State in the Rose Bowl and #2 Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl earlier in the day, the game had turned into a de facto national championship game, as the AP would be taking a final post-bowl vote for the first time ever. Slightly favored,[1][2] Alabama won, 39–28.[4][5]


Main article: 1965 NCAA University Division football season


Main article: 1965 Alabama Crimson Tide football team


Main article: 1965 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

Game summary

Alabama scored first on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Steve Sloan to Ray Perkins. In the second quarter, Nebraska's Bob Churchich threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Tony Jeter to tie the game at seven. Alabama's Les Kelly scored on a four-yard touchdown run as the Crimson Tide regained the lead at 14–7. Sloan and Perkins connected again from eleven yards out, then Alabama recovered the ensuing onside kick; a 19-yard field goal David Ray in the final minute gave the Crimson Tide a commanding 24–7 lead at halftime.[4]

In the third quarter, Churchich threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Ben Gregory as Nebraska narrowed the deficit to 24–13. Steve Bowman scored from a yard out, and a successful two-point conversion, increased the Tide's lead to 32–13.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Churchich ran in from a yard to make it 32–20. Alabama answered with a time-consuming drive, with Bowman scoring on a three-yard run, which put the lead back to nineteen points at 39–20 with just over eight minutes remaining. Churchich threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jeter with less than three minutes to go for the last score as Alabama won 39–28.[4][5] Quarterback Sloan was named the game's outstanding player.


First quarter
Second quarter
Third quarter
Fourth quarter


Statistics Alabama Nebraska
First Downs 29 17
Rushes–yards 57–222 24–145
Passing yards 296 232
Passes (C–A–I) 20–29–2 12–19–1
Total Offense 86–518 43–377
Punts–average 5–31.2 3–41.7
Fumbles–lost 0–0 4–4
Turnovers 2 5
Penalties–yards 8–62 8–86


In the final AP poll, Alabama climbed to first for the national championship, while Nebraska dropped to fifth.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Light 'Bama team Orange Bowl pick". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. January 1, 1966. p. 9.
  2. ^ a b "'Bama choice over Tide (Huskers) in Orange Bowl". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 1, 1966. p. 11.
  3. ^ Land, Charles (January 1, 1966). "Tide, Nebraska tangle tonight". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 6.
  4. ^ a b c d e "39-28 win for 'Bama in Miami". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 2, 1966. p. D1.
  5. ^ a b c d Land, Charles (January 2, 1966). "Stakes were high, so was Tide". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 11.
  6. ^ a b "Game-by-game recaps: 1966" (PDF). 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl media guide. January 2019. p. 33.
  7. ^ a b "Bowl games: 1966 Orange Bowl" (PDF). 2005 Nebraska Cornhuskers football media guide. (supplement). 2005.
  8. ^ Green, Bob (January 4, 1966). "Tide keeps AP title trophy". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). Associated Press. p. 7.