1982 Sugar Bowl
48th edition
1234 Total
Pittsburgh 03714 24
Georgia 0767 20
DateJanuary 1, 1982
StadiumLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPDan Marino (Pittsburgh QB)
FavoriteGeorgia by 1½ points[1]
RefereeKen Faulkner (SWC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersKeith Jackson and Frank Broyles
Sugar Bowl
 < 1981  1983

The 1982 Sugar Bowl was the 48th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Friday, January 1. Part of the 1981–82 bowl game season, it matched the #2 Georgia Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the defending national champions, and the #8 Pittsburgh Panthers, an independent. The slight underdog Panthers won the game 24–20.[2][3][4]


Main article: 1981 NCAA Division I-A football season


See also: 1981 Georgia Bulldogs football team


See also: 1981 Pittsburgh Panthers football team

Game summary

The game kicked off shortly after 7 p.m. CST, televised by ABC, at the same time as the Orange Bowl on NBC.[5]

Junior quarterback Dan Marino, a future first round draft pick, started for Pittsburgh and Buck Belue for Georgia. The Bulldogs relied on their running game, powered by sophomore Herschel Walker, who rushed for two touchdowns.[6] Scoreless in the first quarter, Georgia led early with an 8-yard run from Walker, then Pitt kicked a field goal and the score was 7–3 at halftime.

Scoring increased in the second half, with five lead changes. The Panthers scored a touchdown to go ahead 10–7; Georgia got the lead back and the game was 13–10 (as a result of a missed PAT) at the end of the third quarter. Marino threw a short touchdown to John Brown to take back the lead at 17–13. Georgia scored again with a 6-yard pass and the game was 20–17. Pitt reclaimed the lead with just 35 seconds to go with a 33-yard pass from Marino to Brown, and won 24–20.[7]


First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter


Statistics Pittsburgh   Georgia  
First downs 27 11
Rushing yards 44–208 36–141
Passing yards 261 83
Passing 26–41–2 8–15–2
Total offense 85–469 51–224
Punts–average 2–44.5 6–39.5
Fumbles–lost 5–3 2–2
Turnovers 5 4
Penalties–yards 14–96 5–35


Pittsburgh moved up to fourth (#2 UPI) in the final polls, while the Bulldogs dropped to sixth (#5 UPI). It has often been called one of the greatest bowl games, and bowl upsets, of all time. It also marks the last time the Pitt Panthers won a major bowl game.[8]


Twenty-two Pittsburgh Panthers were drafted over the next four years by the National Football League.[8] Six of them were selected in the first round, including Marino, Jim Covert, Tim Lewis, Bill Maas, Chris Doleman, and Bill Fralic. Marino and Doleman were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Covert is the only player on the winning team to win a Super Bowl, four years later in Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears, also played in the Superdome. Tom Flynn, Free Safety for Pitt also won a Super Bowl XXI with the New York Giants when they beat Denver


  1. ^ Reid, Ron (January 1, 1982). "Gametime". St. Petersburg Times. (Florida). p. 23.
  2. ^ a b Smizik, Bob (January 2, 1982). "Panthers, Lions claw out bowl wins". Pittsburgh Press. p. A8.
  3. ^ a b "Marino hits final bomb, kills Dawgs". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1982. p. 1B.
  4. ^ Looney, Douglas S. (January 11, 1982). "Sugar Bowl". Sports Illustrated. p. 20.
  5. ^ "Bowl games". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 1, 1982. p. 25.
  6. ^ "1982 Game Recap / Allstate Sugar Bowl". Archived from the original on 2010-09-24.
  7. ^ "Marino hits final bomb, kills Dawgs". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 2, 1982. p. 2B.
  8. ^ a b "PITT TO HONOR 1982 SUGAR BOWL TEAM AT SATURDay's SYRACUSE GAME - PittsburghPanthers.com - University of Pittsburgh Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2010-09-06.