7 Epic College Football Bowl Upsets


With a national championship on the line, heavy favorites Arkansas (1966), Texas (1971) and Miami (1986 and 1993) flopped. Here’s a look at seven of the most stunning upsets in college football bowl game history: 

1. 1949 Rose Bowl: Northwestern 20, California 14

An overhead view of disputed Rose Bowl play in which fullback Art Murakowski (30) of Northwestern was credited with scoring a touchdown against California before he fumbled the ball during the Rose Bowl in 1949 in Pasadena, Calif. Field judge Jay Berwanger, lower right, was in perfect position to see whether Murakowski had crossed the goal line before losing posesssion, and he called it a touchdown. Ball, hidden by Northwestern's Tom Worthington, right of Murakowski, was recovered by fullback Will Lotter (33) of California. (AP photo/stf)

A view of the disputed touchdown run by Northwestern’s Art Murakowski. 

What made it epic: Two controversial calls

Seventh-ranked Northwestern benefited from two calls in its upset over the undefeated Golden Bears, who were ranked fifth. In the fourth quarter, trailing 14-13, the Wildcats’ Ed Tunnicliff was sent airborne on a tackle attempt and fumbled. California recovered, but referee Jimmy Cain blew the play dead while Tunnicliff was in the air and before he lost the ball.


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