1975 Fiesta Bowl
5th edition
1234 Total
Nebraska 0770 14
Arizona State 33011 17
DateDecember 26, 1975
Season1975
StadiumSun Devil Stadium
LocationTempe, Arizona
MVPJohn Jefferson  (ASU WR)
Larry Gordon     (ASU LB)
FavoriteNebraska by 14 points[1]
Attendance51,396
United States TV coverage
NetworkCBS
AnnouncersPat Summerall,
Tom Brookshier
Fiesta Bowl
 < 1974  1976

The 1975 Fiesta Bowl was the fifth edition of the college football bowl game, played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Friday, December 26. Part of the 1975–76 bowl game season, it matched the sixth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Eight Conference and the undefeated #7 Arizona State Sun Devils of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).[1][2] The underdog Sun Devils won, 17–14.[3][4]

Played at ASU's home venue, this was the Fiesta Bowl's first matchup between teams ranked in the top ten; the next was six years later.

Teams

Main article: 1975 NCAA Division I football season

Nebraska

Main article: 1975 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The Cornhuskers won their first ten games of the season and climbed to second in the AP poll; they were set up for a Big Eight title and potential national championship until a fourth consecutive loss to rival Oklahoma on November 22.[5] This was Nebraska's first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl; the Huskers had won their previous six bowl games, and the last five were major bowls.

Arizona State

Main article: 1975 Arizona State Sun Devils football team

The Sun Devils won all eleven games in the regular season to take their fifth WAC title in six years; it was their fourth Fiesta Bowl appearance in five years.[6]

Game summary

The game kicked off shortly after 1 p.m. MST, following the Sun Bowl, both televised by CBS.[7][8]

Placekicker Danny Kush started and ended the scoring in this game that arguably put the Fiesta Bowl on the map. He gave ASU an early lead in the first quarter, but I-back Monte Anthony gave Nebraska the lead in the second quarter with his one-yard touchdown run. With less than a minute remaining in the half, the Sun Devils drove down the field and narrowed the lead to a point with another Kush field goal.

Anthony scored another touchdown in the third quarter to extend Nebraska's lead to 14–6. Wide receiver John Jefferson caught a ten-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Fred Mortensen, who had taken over after sophomore starter Dennis Sproul was briefly hurt on a successful sneak on fourth down at the Nebraska thirteen to extend the drive. Head coach Frank Kush opted for a two-point conversion attempt, and wingback Larry Mucker caught a pass from Mortensen at the end zone's left edge to tie the game at fourteen early in the final quarter.[3][4]

Nebraska punted twice after short drives, with Mortensen throwing an interception in between. Sproul returned at quarterback and he drove the Sun Devils down the field to the Nebraska twelve; Kush kicked a 29-yard field goal for a three-point lead with under five minutes remaining. The Huskers then got their offense going, and with just over a minute remaining, fullback Tony Davis caught a third-down pass over the middle inside the Devils' thirty. He was hit by John Harris and fumbled, ASU's Rocky Mataalli recovered, and the offense ran out the clock.[3][4]

Arizona State held Nebraska scoreless in the fourth quarter to win their fourth Fiesta Bowl in as many attempts; Jefferson was named offensive MVP with eight receptions for 115 yards. Linebacker Larry Gordon was the defensive MVP, but was ejected early in the fourth quarter for fighting (along with Nebraska's consensus All-American center Rik Bonness). Nebraska led in rushing yards, but ASU outgained them in passing and total yards, had fewer turnovers, and scored just one touchdown.[3][4][9]

Scoring

First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter

Statistics

Statistics   Arizona  
State
Nebraska
First Downs 20 20
Rushes–Yards 37–162 57–198
Passing Yards 173 90
Passes 15–37–2 12–23–1
Return Yards 0 20
Total Offense 74–335 80–288
Punts–Average 5–37.2 7–39.4
Fumbles–Lost 0–0 2–2
Turnovers 2 3
Penalties–Yards 6–54 4–38
Source:[3][4]

Aftermath

Arizona State (12–0) was second in the final AP poll, their best finish ever; Nebraska (10–2) dropped to ninth.[10] ASU won another WAC title in 1977 and moved to the Pac-10 in 1978. Both teams returned multiple times to the Fiesta Bowl, Nebraska five times (next in January 1986) and ASU twice (next in December 1977).

References

  1. ^ a b "Sun Devils underdogs". Victoria Advocate. (Texas). Associated Press. December 26, 1975. p. 1B.
  2. ^ "Arizona State squad may try to gamble". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 25, 1975. p. 57.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Sun Devils' 4th-down gamble pays". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 27, 1975. p. 3B.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Sun Devils measure Nebraska". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. December 27, 1975. p. 13.
  5. ^ "Oklahoma rides fumbles to Miami". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 23, 1975. p. 3B.
  6. ^ "Sun Devils go unbeaten, make Fiesta". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 30, 1975. p. 4B.
  7. ^ "Bowl games at a glance". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 26, 1975. p. 12.
  8. ^ "Football bowl games". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). December 25, 1975. p. 57.
  9. ^ "1975 Fiesta Bowl - Arizona State vs. Nebraska". fiestabowl.org. Archived from the original on January 3, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  10. ^ "No. 1: Sooner voted national champions". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 3, 1976. p. 3B.