1971 Cotton Bowl Classic
35th Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Notre Dame 141000 24
Texas 3800 11
DateJanuary 1, 1971
StadiumCotton Bowl
LocationDallas, Texas
MVPSteve Worster (Texas FB)
Bob Olson (Notre Dame LB)
FavoriteTexas by 7 points[1][2]
RefereeGene Calhoun (Big Ten)
(split crew: Big Ten, Southwest)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersLindsey Nelson,
Tom Brookshier
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 1970  1972

The 1971 Cotton Bowl Classic was the 35th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, January 1.[3] A rematch from the previous year, the undefeated and top-ranked Texas Longhorns of the Southwest Conference were upset by the independent Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 24–11.[2][4][5]


Main article: 1970 NCAA University Division football season

Notre Dame

Main article: 1970 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

Led by head coach Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame's captains were Larry DiNardo and Tim Kelly, and featured Joe Theismann at quarterback and Tom Gatewood as a wide receiver.


Main article: 1970 Texas Longhorns football team

Texas was coached by Darrell Royal, and the captains for the Longhorns were Scott Henderson, Steve Worster, Bobby Wuensch and Bill Zapalac. The team also featured Jerry Sisemore at tackle and Jim Bertelsen at running back.

Texas was trying to win consecutive national championships, while Notre Dame was seeking revenge for the previous Cotton Bowl loss to Texas, its first bowl appearance in over four decades.

Game summary

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9–1) vs. Texas Longhorns (10–0)
1 2 34Total
No. 6 Notre Dame 14 10 0024
No. 1 Texas 3 8 0011

at Cotton BowlDallas, TX

  • Date: Friday, January 1, 1971
  • Game time: 1:00 PM CDT
  • Game weather: Clear, 52 ° F
  • Game attendance: 73,000
  • TV announcers (CBS): Lindsey Nelson, Tom Brookshier
  • Box Score
Game information
First Quarter
  • (15:38) UT – Happy Feller 23 yard field goal, UT 3–0; 5 plays, 67 yards, 1:33
  • (7:58) ND – Tom Gatewood 26 yard pass from Joe Theismann (Hempel kick), ND 7–3; 10 plays, 80 yards, 3:39
  • (5:11) ND – Joe Theisman 3 yard run (Hempel kick), ND 14–3; 6 plays, 13 yards, 2:42
Second Quarter
  • (13:28) ND – Joe Theisman 15 yard run (Hempel kick), ND 21–3; 5 plays, 53 yards, 1:37
  • (1:52) UT – Jim Bertelsen 2 yard run (Lester pass from Phillips), ND 21–11; 18 plays, 84 yards, 7:02
  • (0:24) ND – Scott Hempel 36 yard field goal, ND 24–11; 8 plays, 78 yards, 1:21
Statistics ND TEX
First downs 16 20
Total yards 359 426
Rushes/yards 52/146 55/216
Passing yards 213 240
Passing: Comp–Att–Int 10–19–1 10–27–1
Time of possession
Team Category Player Statistics
Notre Dame Passing Joe Theismann 9–16, 176 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing Cieszkowski 13 car, 52 yards
Receiving Yoder 2 rec, 96 yards
Texas Passing Eddie Phillips 9–17, 199 yards
Rushing Eddie Phillips 23 car, 164 yards
Receiving Deryl Comer 4 rec, 67 yards

After Texas' initial field goal, Notre Dame scored 21 straight points.[6] Texas scored in the second quarter and Notre Dame added a field goal to lead 24–11 at halftime.[4] Parseghian's defense held the Longhorn wishbone offense in check the rest of the game and the second half was scoreless.[7] Texas committed six turnovers (five fumbles and an interception) while Notre Dame had only two turnovers.[8]


It ended the Longhorns' 30-game winning streak,[4] which is currently (as of October 2011) the 12th longest winning streak in NCAA Division I records. Notre Dame had defeated Oklahoma in 1957 to end their 47-game win streak.[9]

Second-ranked Ohio State lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowl, while #3 Nebraska won the Orange Bowl and was named the AP national champion for the 1970 season, with Notre Dame as runner-up.[3]

Texas had been selected as the national champion by the UPI Coaches' Poll,[10] whose final edition was then released at the end of the regular season, prior to bowl games. After a similar occurrence in 1973, the Coaches Poll released its final edition after the bowl games, starting with the 1974 season.


  1. ^ "Texas' eyes on destiny". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. January 1, 1971. p. 1, part 2.
  2. ^ a b "Texas aims to prove it rates No. 1 spot". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 1, 1971. p. 27.
  3. ^ a b Jenkins, Dan (January 11, 1971). "The one-day season". Sports Illustrated. p. 10.
  4. ^ a b c "Irish snap Texas' streak". Milwaukee Journal. wire services. January 2, 1971. p. 15.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-24. Retrieved 2011-10-14.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Notre Dame upsets Texas in Cotton Bowl". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). UPI. January 2, 1971. p. 14.
  7. ^ "Irish defense spills Texas". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. January 2, 1971. p. 10.
  8. ^ "Revenge-minded Irish top Texas". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1971. p. 1B.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-12-28.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Texas first in final UPI poll". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). UPI. December 8, 1970. p. 30.