1980 Sun Bowl
1234 Total
Mississippi State 00314 17
Nebraska 71077 31
DateDecember 27, 1980
StadiumSun Bowl
LocationEl Paso, Texas
MVPJeff Quinn (QB, Nebraska)
FavoriteNebraska by 13½ points [1]
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersPat Summerall
Tom Brookshier
Frank Glieber
Sun Bowl
 < 1979  1981

The 1980 Sun Bowl was a college football postseason bowl game played on December 27 in El Paso, Texas, between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.[2]


An all-too-familiar loss to #9 Oklahoma in the regular season finale cost the Cornhuskers the Big Eight Conference title and an Orange Bowl invitation, and they settled for the Sun Bowl.

The Bulldogs finished third in the Southeastern Conference behind eventual national champion Georgia and Alabama in Emory Bellard's second year as head coach, closing the regular season on a five-game winning streak. Among those November victories were a 6–3 defeat of two-time defending national champion Alabama, a 55–31 rout of LSU, and a conquest of archrival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. All three of those big victories came at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.

Game summary

Todd Brown gave Nebraska an early 7–0 lead with his 23–yard touchdown run 2:30 into the game. The Huskers scored twice in the second quarter in a span of 86 seconds on a Kevin Seibel field goal from 22 yards and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Quinn to tight end Jeff Finn; the score was 17–0 at halftime.[2]

Dana Moore narrowed the lead with his 47-yard field goal with 7:12 left in the third quarter, but Nebraska responded less than five minutes later on Andra Franklin's two-yard touchdown run to make it 24–3 at the end of three quarters.

John Bond scored the Bulldogs' first touchdown from a yard out with 11:44 remaining, but Tim McCrady caught a touchdown pass of 52 yards from Quinn and it was it 31–10 with 3:21 left. Michael Haddix ended the scoring at 31–17 with his 11-yard touchdown reception with a minute remaining, and Nebraska won by fourteen. Quinn was 9-of-19 for 151 yards with an interception and two touchdown passes en route to being named MVP. The Cornhusker defense forced two interceptions, four lost fumbles, and a muffed punt.[3][4][5]

Nebraska climbed to seventh in the final AP poll and Mississippi State fell to nineteenth.

The attendance of 34,723 was a Sun Bowl record, aided by favorable weather.[2]


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter



Statistics Mississippi
First downs 15 16
Rushes–yards 53–156 56–161
Passing yards 102 159
Total yards 258 320
Passes (C–A–I) 7–19–2 9–19–1
Fumbles–lost 5–4 1–1
Turnovers by 6 2
Penalties–yards 5–50 8–42


  1. ^ "Latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 27, 1980. p. 12.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Huskers play some tricks on Bulldogs". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 28, 1980. p. 3B.
  3. ^ "2014 Capital one Orange Bowl Media Guide : Mississippi State" (PDF). Hailstate.com. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  4. ^ "Bowl History : Mississippi State University All-Time Bowl Results" (PDF). Nmnathletics.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  5. ^ "Nebraska 31, Mississippi State 17 – Recaps – Hyundai Sun Bowl – December 26, 2015 – El Paso, Texas". Sunbowl.org. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
  6. ^ a b "Sun Bowl". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). (box score). December 28, 1980. p. 85.