1984 Sugar Bowl
50th edition
1234 Total
Auburn 0036 9
Michigan 7000 7
DateJanuary 2, 1984
StadiumLouisiana Superdome
LocationNew Orleans, Louisiana
MVPBo Jackson (Auburn RB)
FavoriteAuburn by 4 to 4½ points[1][2]
RefereeDixon Holman (SWC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersKeith Jackson, Frank Broyles
Sugar Bowl
 < 1983  1985

The 1984 Sugar Bowl was the 50th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Monday, January 2. Part of the 1983–84 bowl game season, it matched the third-ranked Auburn Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and the #8 Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten Conference.[3] Favored Auburn was shut out until the third quarter, but rallied with three field goals to win 9–7.[4][5][6][7]

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


Main article: 1983 Auburn Tigers football team


Main article: 1983 Michigan Wolverines 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.[3][8]

The only scoring in the first half was on a four-yard touchdown run by Michigan quarterback Steve Smith. It was set up by a 19-yard completion from Smith to Triando Makray, and 38 yards rushing by Rick Rogers. The Wolverines finished the first quarter with a 116–61 differential in yardage and took that 7–0 lead into halftime.

Auburn used a tremendous Wishbone rushing attack throughout the game and attempted only six passes. They finished with 301 rushing yards on 21 first downs, with 130 yards by Bo Jackson, the game's MVP. Midway through the third quarter, Auburn kicker Al Del Greco made a 31-yard field goal to get the Tigers on the scoreboard and the quarter ended with Michigan leading 7–3. In the fourth quarter, Del Greco added two more field goals, of 32 and 19 yards, the latter in the last half-minute, to seal a 9–7 victory for Auburn.[4][5][6][7]


First quarter
Second quarter
No scoring
Third quarter
Fourth quarter


Statistics   Auburn    Michigan 
First Downs 21 12
Rushes–yards 67–301 31–118
Passing yards 21 125
Passing (C–A–I) 2–6–1 9–25–1
Total Offense 73–332 56–243
Return yards 8 13
Punts–average 4–42.0 8–38.3
Fumbles–lost 4–3 2–1
Turnovers 4 2
Penalties–yards 3–15 6–49
Time of possession 37:32 22:28


Despite Auburn's victory and a loss in the Cotton Bowl by No. 2 Texas earlier in the day to Georgia (whom Auburn beat in Athens on November 12), the Tigers were not voted national champions in either of the final wire service polls. The #5 Miami Hurricanes vaulted past Auburn to the top spot with their 31–30 victory over top-ranked Nebraska in the Orange Bowl; Auburn remained at third in both final polls.[9]


  1. ^ "The latest line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 2, 1984. p. 22.
  2. ^ "Harrah's Odds: college football". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). January 2, 1984. p. 17.
  3. ^ a b "Today's bowl games: Sugar". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). January 2, 1984. p. 3B.
  4. ^ a b c d Gugger, John (January 3, 1984). "Michigan falls to field goal with 23 seconds left". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). p. 22.
  5. ^ a b c d "No. 3 Auburn makes bid, too". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 3, 1984. p. 1D.
  6. ^ a b Gustkey, Earl (January 3, 1984). "Auburn nips Michigan, makes No. 1 pitch". Pittsburgh Press. (Los Angeles Times). p. D4.
  7. ^ a b Sons, Ray (January 3, 1984). "'Chip shot' carries Auburn to sweet win over Michigan". Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio). (Chicago Sun-Times). p. 14.
  8. ^ "Bowl lineup". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). January 2, 1984. p. 17.
  9. ^ "There's only one No. 1: Miami". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. January 4, 1984. p. 1D.