1975 Sugar Bowl
42nd edition
1234 Total
Penn State 0033 6
Alabama 3073 13
DateDecember 31, 1975
StadiumLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPRichard Todd (Alabama QB)
FavoriteAlabama by 13 points[1]
RefereeClint Fuller (Southwest)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersKeith Jackson, Bud Wilkinson
Sugar Bowl
 < 1974  1977

The 1975 Sugar Bowl, was the 42nd edition of the college football bowl game, played at night in the new Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Wednesday, December 31. Part of the 1975–76 bowl game season, it matched the fourth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the independent #8 Penn State Nittany Lions. In the first Sugar Bowl played in the recently completed Superdome, favored Alabama won 13–6.

This was the last of four consecutive editions played at night on New Year's Eve; it returned to January 1 in 1977 as a day game.


Main article: 1975 NCAA Division I football season


Main article: 1975 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

Alabama completed the regular season as SEC champions with a 10–1 record. The only defeat was a 20–7 non-conference loss to Missouri in week one. On November 17, bowl officials announced that Alabama would face Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.[2] It marked the seventh appearance for Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and their 29th bowl game.

The Tide entered the Sugar Bowl as a thirteen-point favorite,[1] but without a win in its last eight bowl games.

Penn State

Main article: 1975 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

Penn State completed the regular season with a record of 9–2. Their only defeats were a 17–9 loss to Ohio State in week three and a 15–14 loss to the North Carolina State in week ten. On November 17, bowl officials announced that Penn State would face Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.[2] The invitation for Penn State was controversial as Alabama's Bryant personally selected Penn State as their opponent instead of the Big Eight runner-up (#6 Nebraska), ranked higher than the Nittany Lions. Bryant was miffed that the Orange Bowl, which was committed to the Big Eight champion (#3 Oklahoma), had snubbed the Crimson Tide in favor of the Big Ten runner-up, #5 Michigan (the Big Ten (and Pac-8) allowed multiple bowl teams for the first time this season). In Bryant's view, this effectively killed Alabama's chances for a national championship.[3] It was the second appearance for Penn State in the Sugar Bowl, and their fourteenth bowl game.

Game summary

The game kicked off shortly after 6:30 p.m. CST on New Year's Eve, televised by ABC.[4][1]

After Penn State's Chris Bahr missed a 62-yard field goal, Alabama scored on a 25-yard Danny Ridgeway field goal.[5] The second quarter was scoreless, and the Crimson Tide led 3–0 at halftime.

Penn State tied the game at three on a 42-yard Bahr field goal in the third quarter.[5] Alabama responded on the following drive with the lone touchdown of the game, a 14-yard Mike Stock run, to take a 10–3 lead.[5][6]

A 37-yard Bahr field goal reduced the lead to four points with under twelve minutes remaining. The Crimson Tide responded with an extended drive, resulting in a 28-yard Ridgeway field goal to push the lead back to seven at 13–6, the final score.[5][6] For his 210 yards passing after completing ten of twelve pass attempts, Alabama quarterback Richard Todd was named the games outstanding player.[5]

It was Alabama's first bowl win in nine years (since January 1967) and started a string of six straight bowl victories.

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Penn State Alabama
1 5:33 9 72 Alabama 25-yard field goal by Danny Ridgeway 0 3
3 4:33 69 Penn State 42-yard field goal by Chris Bahr 3 3
3 1:42 Alabama Mike Stock 14-yard touchdown run, Danny Ridgeway kick good 3 10
4 11:19 Penn State 37-yard field goal by Chris Bahr 6 10
4 3:19 Alabama 28-yard field goal by Danny Ridgeway 6 13
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 6 13


Statistics Penn State  Alabama 
First downs 12 14
Rushes–yards 41–157 49–106
Passing yards 57 210
Passes 8–14–1 10–12–0
Total offense 55–214 61–316
Punts–average 4–48.5 5–40.8
Fumbles–lost 1–0 1–0
Turnovers 1 0
Penalties–yards 0–0 3–22

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Alabama trio benched for curfew violation". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 31, 1975. p. 11.
  2. ^ a b McKenize, Mike (November 17, 1975). "Alabama vs. Penn State in Sugar". Tuscaloosa News. p. 9. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  3. ^ McKenize, Mike (November 18, 1975). "Bryant defends picking Penn State as foe". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 9. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  4. ^ "Sugar, Peach Bowls on tap". Victoria Advocate. (Texas). Associated Press. December 31, 1975. p. 1B.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Axelrod, Phil (January 1, 1976). "Lions bow to Alabama". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 48. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Wilson, Austin (January 1, 1976). "Sugar Bowl is sweet for Alabama". The Gadsden Times. The Associated Press. p. 17. Retrieved January 19, 2011.