DIEGO, Dec. 19(AP)- One observer said the 1980 Holiday Bowl was actually
two ball games--the first a contest that lasted most of four quarters,
the other that was of four minutes duration. SMU seemed in control the
first game, while the Cougars, behind 20 points with only minutes
remaining, surged to a stunning 46-45 win.
Unfortunately, many fans either turned off their TV sets or left the
stadium in San Diego before the "second game" began. For 56 minutes the
Mustangs taught the Cougars a lesson in running the football. The
Mustang's two great runners, Craig James and Eric Dickerson, rushed for
a combined total of 335 yards.
In the first quarter, Eric Dickerson flew around the left side for a
touchdown of 15 yards and James took a fake punt 45 yards for another. A
bad snap by BYU on a field goal attempt and safety put the score at
16-0. Eddie Garcia's field goal put SMU in command with a 19-0 lead.
But, BYU's Clay Brown's catch that he pinned with one hand to his hip
before running 64 yards brought the score to 19-7 at the end of one
period. In the second quarter, McIlhenny hit James for a 3 yard TD and
Garcia booted another field goal for a 29-7 lead. Vai Sikahema returned
a punt 83 yards for BYU, cutting the SMU lead to 29-13 at the half.
A one-yard TD leap by Dickerson got SMU started in the second half. But
BYU responded with a Jim McMahon to Clay Brown 13-yards TD catch
BYU within 16. SMU came right back with Garcia's field goal for a 38-19
lead. In the fourth quarter, Scott Phillips' 1 yard TD for the Cougars
cut the lead to 38-25. But, James seemingly put the game out of reach
for good with a cutback run of 42 yards that put SMU up 45-25. Inside
three minutes left in the game, McMahon drove the Cougars to the SMU 15.
From there, he hit Matt Braga diving and tumbling for a catch to come up
with the ball and the official paused and paused again before signaling
touchdown. The next time BYU touched the ball, McMahon hit Bill Davis
with a bomb of 40 yards and ended at the one-foot line, a play that
Davis missed that audible call by McMahon, and went the wrong way, but
still got the ball from his quarterback. Scott Phillips' run around the
right end and his two-point pass conversion, brought the score to 45-39.
On Indiana's last possession, the Mustangs' recovered a BYU onside kick.
On fourth down with 15 seconds remaining, SMU attempted a field goal,
but Bill Schoepflin hurtling through the SMU line to block Eric Kaife's
kick. The Cougars had the ball back with 13 seconds to play. With three
seconds to play and after throwing two incompletions, McMahon fired a
Hail Mary to the endzone which was caught by Brown amidst a hoard of
Mustangs. Kurt Gunther kicked the extra point to give BYU as miracle
46-45 victory (video).
Sophomore Craig James rushed for 225 yards and scored three touchdowns.
The Mustangs had 393 yards rushing to minus 2 for B.Y.U.