1970 Cotton Bowl Classic
34th Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Texas 07014 21
Notre Dame 3707 17
DateJanuary 1, 1970
StadiumCotton Bowl
LocationDallas, Texas
MVPSteve Worster, FB, Texas
Bob Olson, LB, Notre Dame
FavoriteTexas by 7[1]
RefereeCliff Domingue (SWC)
(split crew: SWC, Big Ten)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersLindsey Nelson,
Tom Brookshier
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 1969  1971

The 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic[2] was a postseason college football bowl game in the 1969 season, held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, January 1, 1970. The game matched the top-ranked Texas Longhorns (10–0) and the #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8–1–1).[3][4]


Texas was looking to win its second unanimous national championship in seven seasons, previously won in 1963. The Longhorns, who had already won the national championship of the UPI coaches poll prior to the Cotton Bowl, finished with a perfect season and a second straight Southwest Conference championship. The Associated Press would conduct a final poll following the bowl games.

This was independent Notre Dame's first postseason appearance since the 1925 Rose Bowl, 45 years earlier.

By a vote of its players in mid-November, second-ranked Penn State (10–0) opted to return to the Orange Bowl,[5][6] and faced #6 Missouri (9–1). Penn State had several black players and wished to avoid Dallas due to segregation issues.[7] At the time, the top-ranked team was defending champion Ohio State, who lost the next week at Michigan.

Game summary

On a cool, clear day in Dallas, the two teams were even in first downs and were different in total yards by only 28. Both had over 70 offensive plays, the Irish had their passing attack and the Longhorns with their running attack. Notre Dame scored the first ten points; a Scott Hempel made a short field goal in the first quarter and Joe Theismann threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Tom Gatewood early in the second. After the Irish kickoff, Texas went on a 74-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard Jim Bertelsen touchdown run that made the score 10–7 at halftime. After a scoreless third, the fourth quarter saw three touchdowns, each changing the lead. Longhorn Ted Koy culminated a 77-yard drive with his touchdown run with ten minutes remaining to give Texas a 14–10 advantage.

Theismann then led the Irish on an 80-yard drive and threw a 24-yard pass to Jim Yoder for a 17–14 lead with 6:52 left. The Longhorns then went on a 76-yard drive that included a fourth down pass from James Street to Cotton Speyrer that went eight yards down to the two.[8] On third down from the one, Billy Dale's touchdown plunge came with 68 seconds remaining, too little time for the Irish as Texas secured its second consensus national championship in school history.[3][4][9][10]

Despite the loss, Notre Dame climbed four spots in the final AP poll, ending at fifth.[10]

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8–1–1) vs. Texas Longhorns (10–0)
Period 1 2 34Total
No. 9 Notre Dame 3 7 0717
No. 1 Texas 0 7 01421

at Cotton BowlDallas, TX

Game information
First Quarter
  • (8:41) ND – Scott Hempel 26 yard field goal, ND 3–0; 16 plays, 82 yards, 6:14
Second Quarter
Fourth Quarter
  • (10:05) UT – Ted Koy 3 yard run (Feller kick), UT 14–10; 18 plays, 77 yards, 6:10
  • (6:52) ND – Jim Yoden 24 yard pass from Joe Theismann (Hempel kick), ND 17–14; 8 plays, 80 yards, 2:56
  • (1:08) UT – Billy Dale 1 yard run (Feller kick), UT 21–17; 17 plays, 76 yards, 5:39
Statistics ND TEX
First downs 25 25
Total yards 420 438
Rushes/yards 43/189 67/331
Passing yards 231 107
Passing: Comp–Att–Int 17–27–2 6–11–1
Time of possession
Team Category Player Statistics
Notre Dame Passing Joe Theismann 17–27, 231 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing Bill Barz 10 car, 49 yards
Receiving Tom Gatewood 6 rec, 112 yards, 1 TD
Texas Passing James Street 6–11, 107 yards, 1 INT
Rushing Steve Worster 20 car, 155 yards
Receiving Charles Speyrer 4 rec, 70 yards


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 18, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "1970 Cotton Bowl Classic Halftime Show". Texas Archive of the Moving Image. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Jenkins, Dan (January 12, 1970). "Texas hangs on to its No. 1". Sports Illustrated. p. 26.
  4. ^ a b "Texans edge Irish on big fourth downs". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 2, 1970. p. 30.
  5. ^ Yake, D. Byron (November 17, 1969). "State gridders pick Orange Bowl". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. p. 22.
  6. ^ "'Orange' Lions say sun rays". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 18, 1969. p. 20.
  7. ^ Boyles, Bob; Guido, Paul (2009). The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. p. 244. ISBN 9781602396777. OCLC 277203337.
  8. ^ "One Longhorn play took game away from Fighting Irish". Bend Bulletin. (Oregon). UPI. January 2, 1970. p. 8.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 5, 2015. Retrieved December 28, 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b "Final: Texas No. 1 and Penn State No. 2". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. January 4, 1970. p. 57.