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Joey Johnston | Tampa Tribune | December 27, 2015

Outback Bowl turns 30: Three decades of memories in Tampa

  Barry Alvarez enjoyed a shower in Raymond James Stadium in last year's Outback Bowl.

The Outback Bowl will celebrate its 30th anniversary Friday, when the Northwestern Wildcats meet the Tennessee Volunteers at Raymond James Stadium. Here are some things to remember from the bowl game's time in Tampa.


1. 2012: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3OT)

You like that? You bet. Spartans QB Kirk Cousins, out of timeouts, led a 10-play, 85-yard tying drive with less than two minutes to play. Georgia PK Blair Walsh was wide on a 42-yard field-goal attempt in the first overtime. His 47-yarder to force a fourth overtime was blocked on the game's final play.

2. 2015: Wisconsin 34, Auburn 31 (OT)

Athletic director Barry Alvarez, filling in as head coach, got a victory ride after the Badgers rode the strong running of RB Melvin Gordon (251 yards) and a 25-yard field goal from Rafael Gaglianone in overtime. For Auburn, Daniel Carlson's 45-yard field-goal attempt hit the right upright and bounced back on the game's final play.

3. 2010: Auburn 38, Northwestern 35 (OT)

Crazy game. Northwestern rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the final minutes behind QB Mike Kafka, who was 47 of 78 for 532 yards, but with five interceptions, including two in the end zone. Northwestern went for the victory in overtime, trying a "fumble-rooskie" play from a field-goal formation, but Auburn's Neiko Thorpe tackled the runner, Zeke Markshausen, at the 2-yard line.

4. 2000: Georgia 28, Purdue 25 (OT)

Another crazy game. Georgia rallied from a 25-0 deficit but staged what was then the largest comeback in bowl history to win in overtime, despite Purdue QB Drew Brees' 378 passing yards.

5. 1988: Michigan 28, Alabama 24

The Wolverines led 21-3, but Alabama rolled off three straight touchdowns to claim momentum. Michigan won it on a 20-yard touchdown pass from QB Demetrius Brown to WR John Kolesar with 50 seconds left.


1. Big Hit (2013): South Carolina 33, Michigan 28

Gamecocks DE Jadeveon Clowney burst into the backfield and smashed into RB Vincent Smith as he was getting the handoff, sending Smith's helmet rolling several yards backward and causing a fumble that Clowney recovered with one hand. The takeaway led to South Carolina's go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

2. Hail to the Victors (1988): Michigan 28, Alabama 24

Facing fourth-and-3 from Alabama's 20-yard line, Michigan disdained a tying field-goal attempt. Wolverines QB Demetrius Brown lofted a pass to the end zone's corner, where WR John Kolesar dove for the winning touchdown reception with 50 seconds left.

3. Pick Six (2011): Florida 37, Penn State 24

Penn State drove to Florida's 26-yard line with less than two minutes to play. But Gators DB Ahmad Black stepped in front of the intended receiver and raced 80 yards with the clinching interception. It was Urban Meyer's final game with UF.

4. Deflection (2000): Georgia 28, Purdue 25 (OT)

Georgia rallied from a 25-point deficit, getting the tying touchdown with 1:13 left in regulation. Bulldogs QB Quincy Carter escaped two pass-rushers, then his end-zone toss was deflected by a Purdue defender, but TE Randy McMichael dove for a spectacular TD catch to complete a 13-play, 94-yard drive.

5. Another big hit (1989): Auburn 31, Ohio State 14

With Auburn trailing 14-3 in the second quarter, Tigers RB Stacy Danley drifted from the backfield on a screen-pass attempt and was laid out by Ohio State SS Zack Dumas. Danley was motionless for about four minutes. But he got up, then sprinted off the field, pointing back at the Buckeye players. It sparked an emotional change and Auburn rallied for the victory.


1. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon (2015)

He made a run at the all-time Football Bowl Subdivision single-season rushing record, logging 34 carries for an Outback Bowl-record 251 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-31 overtime win against Auburn. Gordon finished with 2,587 yards, just short of the 2,628-yard season of Oklahoma State RB Barry Sanders in 1988.

2. Georgia QB Mike Bobo (1998)

He completed 26 of 28 passes -- including an NCAA-record 19 consecutive completions -- for 235 yards and one touchdown as the Bulldogs defeated Wisconsin 33-6.

3. Wisconsin RB Terrell Fletcher (1995)

He had 39 carries for 241 yards, including the 49-yard clinching touchdown, in a 34-20 victory against Duke.

4. Michigan RB Chris Perry (2003)

He scored a bowl-record four rushing touchdowns, while also catching six passes for 108 yards, in the Wolverines' 38-30 victory against Florida.

5. Michigan RB Jamie Morris (1988)

He rushed 23 times for 234 yards and three touchdowns, including a 77-yarder, in the Wolverines' 28-24 victory against Alabama.


1. LB Derrick Thomas, Alabama (1988)

The nine-time Pro Bowler with the Kansas City Chiefs had 126.5 career sacks, including an NFL-record seven in one game. He died in 2000 and was elected posthumously to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

2. DB Charles Woodson, Michigan (1997)

Woodson was the only true defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in the modern era. He's a nine-time Pro Bowler, a former Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year and the only player in NFL history with 50 career interceptions and 20 sacks. In his 18th season, Woodson just announced his retirement.

3. QB Drew Brees, Purdue (2000)

Brees is a nine-time Pro Bowler who was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIV with the New Orleans Saints and Sports Illustrated's 2010 Sportsman of the Year. He has a career 66.3 completion percentage, while passing for 60,168 yards and 424 touchdowns.

4. DB Champ Bailey, Georgia (1998)

A 12-time Pro Bowler with Washington and Denver. The shutdown cornerback made the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team.

5. RB Shaun Alexander, Alabama (1997)

A three-time Pro Bowler with Seattle, he was named AP's NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2005, when he scored a league-record 28 touchdowns.


1. One Singular Sensation (1988)

The second game, then known as the Hall of Fame Bowl, was staged on Jan. 2, 1988 -- an NBC-TV presentation that made it the exclusive bowl game on that day. It drew a 9.3 rating -- fourth among all bowls -- and Michigan outfought Alabama 28-24 in the first football meeting between those programs. Interim coach Gary Moeller led the Wolverines in the absence of Bo Schembechler, who was recovering from open-heart surgery.

2. Duke Was Here (1995)

The Duke Blue Devils headed to Tampa for only the school's second bowl bid in 35 years. After winning their first seven games, and competing well against Wisconsin, losing 34-20 -- Duke hoped to make bowl games a regular occurrence. Not quite. Seventeen seasons later, Duke got its next bowl bid.

3. New Millennium Kickoff (2000)

The Georgia-Purdue game was the first major sporting event in 2000 -- and there was special care to make certain the Outback Bowl kicked off before the Cotton Bowl, which also began at 11 a.m.

4. Opening Act (1993)

On the night of Tennessee's arrival, a group of Volunteer players returned to the downtown Tampa Hyatt with a dancer from the Mons Venus nightclub. There were repeated "transactions" (police report terminology) with the players. The woman was later accused of stealing money, concealed in the hotel room's Bible, by Vols LB Willie Richards, who produced a gun. The woman ran naked from the hotel room. No charges were filed. Three days later, though, Richards was sent home "for a violation of team rules." Tennessee defeated Boston College 38-23.

5. I Don't Feel Good (1986)

Legendary singer James Brown was the scheduled halftime performer at the inaugural game between Boston College and Georgia. But after torrential rain all day and through the first half, the performance was canceled because there was a fear the sound equipment might electrocute Brown.


1. Ohio State (2002)

One year after losing against South Carolina 31-28 in Tampa, the 2002 Buckeyes went 14-0, defeating top-ranked Miami 31-24 in the Fiesta Bowl's double-overtime national-championship game.

2. Florida (2006)

One year after beating Iowa 31-24 in Tampa, the 2006 Gators (13-1) downed top-ranked Ohio State 41-14 in the BCS Championship Game to clinch Urban Meyer's first national title.

3. Auburn (2010)

One year after defeating Northwestern 38-35 in overtime at Tampa -- and landing QB Cam Newton -- the Tigers (14-0) beat Oregon in the BCS Championship Game.

4. Michigan (1997)

One year after losing to Alabama 17-14 in Tampa, the Wolverines went 12-0 and captured the Rose Bowl to finish No. 1 in The Associated Press poll. Michigan split the national title with Nebraska, which was No. 1 in the coaches' poll at 13-0.

5. Wisconsin (1998)

One year after losing 33-6 against Georgia in Tampa, the 1998 Badgers went 11-1, losing only to Michigan, and finished sixth in the AP poll after a 38-31 win against UCLA at the Rose Bowl.

This article was written by Joey Johnston from The Tampa Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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