1984 Fiesta Bowl
13th edition
1234 Total
Ohio State 77014 28
Pittsburgh 07016 23
DateJanuary 2, 1984
StadiumSun Devil Stadium
LocationTempe, Arizona
MVPJohn Congemi  (Pitt QB)
Rowland Tatum (OSU LB)
FavoriteOhio State by 2½ points[1][2]
RefereeGene Wurtz (WAC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersCharlie Jones, Bob Griese
Nielsen ratings7.9
Fiesta Bowl
 < 1983  1985

The 1984 Fiesta Bowl was the thirteenth edition of the college football bowl game, played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Monday, January 2.[3] Part of the 1983–84 bowl game season, it matched the fourteenth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes of the Big Ten Conference, and the #15 Pittsburgh Panthers, an independent. Slightly favored,[1] Ohio State rallied late in the fourth quarter to win 28–23.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

New Year's Day was on Sunday in 1984, and the college bowl games were played the following day.


Main article: 1983 NCAA Division I-A football season

Ohio State

See also: 1983 Ohio State Buckeyes football team

The Buckeyes were ranked third until a loss at Iowa in late September; they later lost on the road to Illinois and rival Michigan. This was their second Fiesta Bowl appearance.


See also: 1983 Pittsburgh Panthers football team

The Panthers opened with two wins, but lost two road games at Maryland and West Virginia. They won six straight, then tied rival Penn State. This was Pittsburgh's third Fiesta Bowl appearance.

Game summary

The first game of a tripleheader (Rose, Orange) on NBC, the Fiesta kicked off shortly after 11:30 a.m. MST, as did the Cotton Bowl on CBS.

Ohio State scored first when quarterback Mike Tomczak scored on a three-yard quarterback keeper. Pittsburgh tied the score at seven on a 6-yard pass from John Congemi to wide receiver Clint Wilson. Running back Keith Byars scored on an 11-yard run before halftime, to give Ohio State a 14–7 halftime lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, the action increased in the fourth. Pitt wide receiver Clint Wilson recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game at 14. Byars took the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, and Ohio State reclaimed the lead at 21–14. Congemi then found Dwight Collins for a touchdown, but the two-point conversion attempt failed, and Ohio State held on to a one-point lead. A 37-yard field goal from Tom Everett with 2:39 left, gave Pittsburgh a 23–21 lead. Tomczak threw a 39-yard touchdown strike to Thad Jemison for the game-winning touchdown, with 39 seconds left, and Ohio State escaped with a 28–23 win.[4][6][9][10]


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter



Statistics Ohio State Pittsburgh
First Downs 21 27
Yards Rushing 46–184 37–146
Yards Passing 226 341
Passing 15–32–1 31–46–2
Return Yards 17 72
Total Offense 78–410 83–487
Punts–Average 4–37.3 3–39.0
Fumbles–Lost 3–1 2–1
Turnovers 2 3
Penalties–Yards 8–70 8–60
Time of Possession 29:13 30:47


Ohio State climbed to ninth in the final AP poll, and Pittsburgh fell to eighteenth.


  1. ^ a b "The latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 30, 1983. p. 12.
  2. ^ "Harrah's Odds: college football". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 2, 1984. p. 17.
  3. ^ "Fiesta Bowl". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire services reports. January 2, 1984. p. 3B.
  4. ^ a b c d Scott, Gerald (January 3, 1984). "Buckeye quarterback saves best for last". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (Los Angeles Times). p. 3D.
  5. ^ McMillan, Tom (January 3, 1984). "Buckeyes rally, defeat Panthers, 28–23". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 13.
  6. ^ a b c d Wheatley, Tom (January 3, 1984). "Replay". Pittsburgh Press. p. D1.
  7. ^ Patterson, Jack (January 3, 1984). "Ohio State passes Pitt on late TD". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Knight-Ridder. p. 21.
  8. ^ Taylor, Jim (January 3, 1984). "OSU's Tomczak stings Pitt for Fiesta Bowl victory". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 21.
  9. ^ a b Berry, Walter (January 3, 1984). "Buckeyes' rally drops Pittsburgh in Fiesta, 2823". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. C1.
  10. ^ "Bowl Championship Series - 1984 - Ohio State 28, Pittsburgh 23".