1981 Cotton Bowl Classic
45th Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Alabama 67314 30
Baylor 2000 2
DateJanuary 1, 1981
StadiumCotton Bowl
LocationDallas, Texas
MVPWarren Lyles (Alabama NG)
Major Ogilvie (Alabama RB)
FavoriteAlabama by 3½ points[1]
RefereeVance Carlson (Big Eight)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersLindsey Nelson (Play-by-play)
Roger Staubach (Color)
Frank Glieber (Sideline)
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 1980  1982

The 1981 Cotton Bowl Classic was the 45th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, January 1. Part of the 1980–81 bowl game season, it matched the ninth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the #6 Baylor Bears of the Southwest Conference (SWC). Favored Alabama shut out the Baylor offense and won, 30–2.[2][3][4]


Main article: 1980 NCAA Division I-A football season


Main article: 1980 Alabama Crimson Tide football team


Main article: 1980 Baylor Bears football team

Game summary

Televised by CBS, the game kicked off shortly after 1 p.m. CST, at the same time as the Sugar Bowl on ABC.[5]

Alabama took a 6–0 lead on a pair of Peter Kim field goals.[6] Baylor responded later in the first quarter with its only points of the game when Tommy Tabor sacked Alabama quarterback Walter Lewis in the end zone for a safety to bring the score to 6–2.[7] The Crimson Tide extended their lead to 13–2 at the half following a one-yard Major Ogilvie touchdown run in the second quarter.[6]

After a third Kim field goal in the third, Alabama closed out the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns; Don Jacobs scored on a one-yard run, followed by Mark Nix from three yards out to make the final score 30–2.[6] Alabama linebacker Warren Lyles was named the defensive MVP,[8] and running back Ogilvie took the offensive honors.


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter



Statistics Alabama  Baylor 
First Downs 17 13
Rushes–yards 67–241 35–54
Passing yards 98 104
Passes 5–12–0 12–27–3
Total Offense 79–339 62–158
Punts–average 6–37 7–35
Fumbles–lost 5–1 5–4
Turnovers 1 7
Penalties–yards 5–89 6–59


This was the final collegiate game for Baylor's All-American linebacker Mike Singletary, a future College and Pro Football Hall of Famer.

In the final AP poll, Alabama climbed to sixth and Baylor dropped to fourteenth.


  1. ^ "The latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 1, 1981. p. 25.
  2. ^ a b c "Bama's Bear outwits Baylor Bears, 30-2". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 2, 1981. p. 13.
  3. ^ a b c "Alabama bombs Baylor in Cotton". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. January 2, 1981. p. 3D.
  4. ^ a b c Browning, Al (January 2, 1981). "Bama dee-fense big in Big D". Tuscaloosa News. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Sports menu: television". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 1, 1981. p. 29.
  6. ^ a b c 1980 Season Game Recaps (PDF). The University of Alabama. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
  7. ^ Jones, Mike (January 2, 1981). "Tidal wave spoils Baylor's Cotton". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
  8. ^ Martin, Steve (January 2, 1981). "Lyles' play sacks MVP award". Tuscaloosa News. p. 13. Retrieved November 16, 2010.