Oklahoma Sooners football
The Oklahoma Sooners football program is a college football team that represents the University of Oklahoma. The team is a member of the Big 12 Conference, in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association; the program began in 1895 and is one of the most successful programs since World War II with the most wins and the highest winning percentage since 1945. The program has 7 national championships, 48 conference championships, 162 First Team All-Americans, seven Heisman Trophy winners. In addition, the school has had 23 members inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and holds the record for the longest winning streak in Division I history with 47 straight victories. Oklahoma is the only program that has had four coaches with 100+ wins, they became the sixth NCAA FBS team to win 850 games when they defeated the Kansas Jayhawks on November 22, 2014. The Sooners play their home games at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Oklahoma. Lincoln Riley is the team's head coach.
Football at Oklahoma made its start in September 1895, 12 years before statehood and one year after the first organized football game in Oklahoma Territory. The team was organized by John A. Harts, a student from Winfield, Kansas who had played the game in his home state; that first team was composed of non-students, including a local fireman. That first "season" saw the team go 0–1, being blanked 0–34 by a more experienced Oklahoma City Town Team; the first game was played on a field of low prairie grass just northwest of the current site of Holmberg Hall. Several members of the Oklahoma team were injured, including Coach Harts, by the end of the game, the Oklahoma team was borrowing members from the opposing squad so they would have a full lineup. After that year, Harts left Oklahoma to prospect for gold in the Arctic; the team got its first real coach in 1897 when the new modern language professor, Vernon Louis Parrington, was named head coach. Parrington played some football at Harvard and was more exposed to football coming from the East coast.
In his four years as head coach, Parrington's teams racked up nine wins, one loss, two ties. After the 1900 season, football began interfering with his real passion, he stepped down as head coach shortly thereafter and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1928 at the University of Washington. The Sooners had three more coaches over the next four seasons. Fred Roberts led the Sooners to a 3–2 season in 1901, Mark McMahon recorded an 11–7–3 record in his two years as coach in 1902 and 1903, Fred Ewing recorded a 4–3–1 record in 1904; the most notable event of those four years came in 1904 when Oklahoma had its first match against its in-state rival, Oklahoma A&M. The game was played on November 1904 at Mineral Wells Park in Guthrie, Oklahoma; the Oklahoma team soundly defeated the Oklahoma Aggies 75–0, but it was an unusual touchdown, remembered most of that game. Bedlam football, the athletic rivalry between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, was born that day.
After ten years of football, the program began to get serious and started looking for a permanent head coach. They found Bennie Owen, a former quarterback of the undefeated Kansas team of 1899 led by famous coach Fielding H. Yost. Owen's previous team beat Oklahoma twice in 1903 and 1904, so the Sooners were familiar with his ability. Owen's first two years at Oklahoma were spent between Norman and Arkansas City as Oklahoma did not have a big enough budget to keep him there all year; the early years of Owen's tenure were tough because of budget issues. Due to a low travel budget, his teams would have to play as many as three games in one trek. For instance, in 1905, his squad played three teams in three Kansas cities in five days and again in 1909 when they played three games in Missouri and Texas in six days. In Owen's first year, 1905, he gave Oklahoma its first victory over rival Texas, defeating them 2–0. Owen's first dominant team came in 1908 when they went 8–1–1, losing only to the powerful Kansas team.
His 1908 team used hand-offs directly to large runners. His 1911 team, on the other hand, had several small and fast players that the quarterback would pass directly to; that team went 8–0. Owen had two more undefeated seasons in 1915 and 1918. 1920 was Oklahoma's first season in the stronger Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association after three season in the Southwest Conference of which it was a founding member. In the new conference, they went 6–0–1 tying only Kansas State. Owen retired after the 1926 season. During Owen's 22-year career at Oklahoma, he went 122 -- a 67.7 % winning percentage. In 1951, he became the first person from Oklahoma to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in its inaugural year. Adrian Lindsey was hired by Oklahoma to coach the football team in 1927. Before coming to Oklahoma, Lindsey was an assistant football coach at his alma mater. Lindsey is remembered as the coach who resigned after failing to produce a winning team. Lindsey's record was not that shabby, however.
His players were small in size and number and the schedules they faced were too difficult for such a small squad. Lindsey's 1929 Sooners team defeated Nebraska, 20–7, marking the worst defeat the Cornhuskers saw from a Big Six team in two decades. In 1931, he took his team and defeated the Hawaii Warriors in Honolulu by a score of 7–0; this game marked the first time a university located in the central continental U
Baylor Bears football
The Baylor Bears football team represents Baylor University in Division I FBS college football. They are a member of the Big 12 Conference. After 64 seasons at the off-campus Floyd Casey Stadium, the Bears opened the new on-campus McLane Stadium for the 2014 season; the current head coach is Matt Rhule. Baylor University's football team has seen a wide variation in its success through the years, including an undefeated 3–0 perfect record in 1900. Starting in the year 1898, the university played its home games on an unnamed field near the university campus. Beginning in 1905, the team's home games were played at Carroll Field, between the Carroll Science Building and Waco Creek. Baylor did not adopt a mascot until December 14, 1914, after the completion of the 1914 football season. Additionally, Baylor did not join an athletic conference until 1914 after the conclusion of the football season, when it became a founding member of the Southwest Conference. Baylor played its first home game against Toby's Business College in 1899, its first away game on 4 November 1900, at Austin College, its first neutral-site game against Texas A&M in 1901.
For the 1899 and 1900 seasons, the team was coached by R. H. Hamilton, whose 5–1–1 record was distinguished with never having a losing record. W. J. Ritchie coached the 1901 team. Texas Christian University was located in Waco from 1895 to 1910 and was one of Baylor's greatest football rivals until the dissolution of the Southwest Conference in 1995; the 1901 season welcomed Baylor's first Thanksgiving Day football game, with a 28–0 win over St. Edward's University. J. C. Ewing took control of the team in 1902, led it to its first losing season, with a 3–4–2 record. R. N. Watts restored Baylor's winning tradition in 1903, with a record of 4–3–1. No team was fielded in 1906 following a ban opposing the violence of football. Luther Burleson headed the restored football team in 1907, managed a 4–3–1 record. E. J. Mills led the team for the 1909 seasons. To this day, Baylor claims the honor of having the largest homecoming parade in the world. Baylor has many traditions such as the Baylor-TCU rivalry game, one of the most played in all of college football, the Battle of the Brazos, membership in the historic Southwest Conference, a live bear mascot since 1915 and the Baylor Line.
In 1966, John Hill Westbrook of Elgin, Texas became the first African American to play varsity football in the Southwest Conference when he joined the Baylor team. Baylor won the SWC Championship in 1915, 1916, 1922 and again in 1924. In 1956 Baylor came close to the SWC title again but finished second and was sent to face the undefeated #2 Tennessee Volunteers in the 1957 Sugar Bowl. Baylor defeated Johnny Majors and the #2 Volunteers 13–7; this was the highest ranked opponent Baylor had defeated until defeating #1 ranked Kansas State in 2012. The 1924 SWC Championship would be the last for many decades until Baylor won the conference again in 1974 under the leadership of third year head coach Grant Teaff. From the late 1940s until the mid-1960s, Baylor played in the 1952 Orange Bowl, twice in the Gator Bowl, the Bluebonnet and Gotham Bowl. Baylor had finished in last place in 4 of the last 7 seasons including the year before and had not won the conference championship in 50 years. Prior to this season, they had never appeared in the Cotton Bowl.
Furthermore, coming into the 1974 season Baylor had lost 16 consecutive games to the Texas Longhorns. The 1974 Texas vs Baylor game looked like another easy win for Texas as the Longhorns took quick control of the game and went into halftime leading 24–7. Baylor was energized starting the 2nd half however, sparked by a blocked punt early in the 3rd quarter; the Bears rallied to a thrilling 34–24 victory over the Longhorns. Baylor went on to win the conference title that year and a first trip to the Cotton Bowl; the entire 1974 Baylor football season was dubbed the "Miracle on the Brazos" by many sports writers at the time. The win over Texas and the SWC championship have thus become a special part of Baylor's athletic history. One of the most successful coaches in Baylor football history was Grant Teaff, he led the Bears to Conference Titles in 1974, his third year in the program, again in 1980 when he led the Bears to the Cotton Bowl to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. Grant Teaff recruited famous players such as Mike Singletary, Thomas Everett, Walter Abercrombie and James Francis to play football at Baylor University.
Coach Teaff was named National Coach of the Year after the 1974 season. He would go on to serve until 1992 leading Baylor to eight bowl games and two Conference Championships in his 21 years as head coach. Chuck Reedy was coach for four seasons and compiled a record of 23–22, his 1994 team was part of a 5-way co-championship of the Sout
Rice Owls football
The Rice Owls football team represents Rice University in NCAA Division I college football. The Owls have competed in Conference USA's Western Division since 2005. Rice Stadium, built in 1950, hosts the Owls' home football games; the Owls played in the eighteenth Cotton Bowl Classic against the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The game featured one of the most famous plays in college football history when Rice's Dickey Moegle burst free on a sweep play, on his way down the sideline, was tackled by Tommy Lewis, who had come off the Alabama sideline without his helmet to tackle Moegle. Referee Cliff Shaw saw Lewis gave the Owls the 95 yard touchdown. Rice would win the game 28–6, with the only Crimson Tide score coming from Lewis; the yardage added to Moegle's 265 yards rushing, a Cotton Bowl Classic record that would stand until Tony Temple's effort in 2008. This would be the Owls' last bowl win until the 2008 Texas Bowl, a win which secured the Owls their first 10-win season since 1949. Rice Stadium hosted a speech by John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1962.
In it, he used the Rice football team to challenge America to send a man to the moon. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, one which we intend to win, the others, too. Independent Southwest Conference Western Athletic Conference Conference USA † 15–27–2 overall per NCAA due to 1975 forfeit win over Mississippi State. Rice has won four outright and three shared. † Co-championship Rice has participated in twelve bowl games, garnering a record of 7–5. Rice Stadium was built in 1950, has been the home of Owls football since, it hosted the NFL Super Bowl in January 1974.
It replaced the old Rice Field to increase seating. Total seating capacity in the current stadium was reduced from 70,000 to 47,000 before the 2006 season; the endzone seating benches were removed and covered with tarps, all of the wooden bleachers were replaced with new, metal seating benches in 2006, as well. The stadium is currently undergoing further renovations. Rice and SMU were members of the same conference from 1918 through 2012, have played each other 90 times as of 2012 with SMU leading the series 48–41–1; the rivalry is because SMU were two of four private schools in the Southwest Conference. Rice and SMU were the two smallest schools in the conference, were located in the two largest cities of any teams in the conference, have been considered the two best private universities in Texas. SMU leads the series 48–41–1 as of 2017. Rice participates in a crosstown rivalry with Houston. UH and Rice play annually for the Bayou Bucket, a weathered bucket found by former Rice guard Fred Curry at an antique shop.
Curry had it designed into a trophy for $310. The two universities are separated by five miles in Houston; the Cougars lead the series 32–11. The Cougars' 2013 move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference has jeopardized the status of the series. Houston leads the series 31–11 after a win in September 2018. Rice and Texas have maintained a one-sided rivalry beginning in the early days of the Southwest Conference. Texas' 28 consecutive victories from 1966–1993 represents the sixth longest single-opponent winning streak in college football history. In 1994, in a nationally televised ESPN game, Rice scored a major upset win over Texas, but since Texas has resumed series dominance. Despite the dissolution of the Southwest Conference and Rice still play on a "near annual" basis, allowing the Longhorns to keep a high profile in the state's largest city and the fourth largest city in the United States. Texas leads the series 72–21–1 as of the conclusion of the 2017 season. Eight former Rice players and coaches have been inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.
As of 2017, the following 18 players have been named All-America with 6 selection being consensus. † Consensus selection Tony Barker, LB Washington Redskins Chris Boswell, K Pittsburgh Steelers O. J. Brigance, LB multiple teams James Casey, TE/FB multiple teams Bryce Callahan, DB Chicago Bears Earl Cooper, RB San Francisco 49ers Vince Courville, WR multiple teams Christian Covington, DL Houston Texans Patrick Dendy, DB Green Bay Packers Buddy Dial, WR, multiple teams Jarett Dillard, WR Jacksonville Jaguars Michael Downs, S Dallas Cowboys Emmanuel Ellerbee, LB Seattle Seahawks Bert Emanuel, WR multiple teams Phillip Gaines, DB multiple teams Darryl Grant, OL Washington Redskins Courtney Hall, OL San Diego Chargers King Hill, QB, multiple teams Donald Hollas, QB Oakland Raiders Robert Hubble, TE San Francisco 49ers Larry Izzo, LB New England Patriots N. D. Kalu, DE multiple teams Tommy Kramer, QB Minnesota Vikings LaDouphyous McCalla, DB Saskatchewan Roughriders Vance McDonald, TE Pittsburgh Steelers Primo Miller, T Cleveland Rams Cheta Ozougwu, DE, multiple teams Ryan Pontbriand, DS Cleveland Browns Frank Ryan, QB Cleveland Browns Andrew Sendejo, DB Minnesota Vikings Scott Solomon, DE multiple teams Seaman Squyres, HB Cincinnati Reds Jordan Taylor, WR Denver Broncos John Underwood, G Milwaukee Badgers Joe Watson, Detroit Lions Bones Weatherly, LB Chicago Bears Luke Willson, TE Seattle Seahawks Announced schedules as of July
San Jose State Spartans football
The San Jose State Spartans football team represents San José State University in NCAA Division I FBS college football as a member of the Mountain West Conference. San Jose State first fielded a football team in 1893 when the school was called the California State Normal School; the first regular football seasons began in 1898 and consisted of games against local high schools and some colleges and junior colleges. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Spartan football program was considered a powerhouse, posting 12 consecutive winning seasons and earning eight conference championship titles over an 18-year span; the 1932 and 1939 teams went 7–0–2 and 13–0 the only undefeated seasons in school history. San Jose State first appeared in the national rankings in 1939 when the AP Poll ranked the Spartans #19 in week seven; the team would climb to #18 in week eight. Spartan Stadium was completed in 1933 with a capacity of 18,000; the Spartans won the first football game played in the stadium, 44–6, over San Francisco State on October 7, 1933.
The San Jose State Spartans football team served unexpectedly with the Honolulu Police Department during World War II. The team had just arrived in Hawaii to play a series of post-season bowl games against the University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors and the Willamette University Bearcats when the U. S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941; the team was stranded on the islands for a number of weeks following the attack, players were employed by the local police department to help improve island defenses against a possible Japanese amphibious assault and as guards for military bases on the island. The Spartan football program posted just six winning seasons in the'60s. SJSU's first win over a nationally ranked opponent occurred in 1971 when the Spartans defeated #10 Stanford 13–12 on November 13. Stanford would go on to defeat the University of Michigan in the Rose Bowl that season. SJSU's second win over a ranked opponent occurred four years in 1975, when the Spartans defeated #18 Stanford 36–34 in a nationally televised game on September 27.
From 1973 to 1992, San Jose State posted 15 winning seasons, appeared in four bowl games and sent nearly 50 players to the NFL. During this era, San Jose State had two victories over ranked opponents, 30–22 over #10 Baylor in 1980 and 42–7 over #23 Fresno State in 1990. For the first time in over 35 years, San Jose State had a national ranking in 1975 when the team was ranked #20 in the AP Poll in week 13. SJSU garnered its first post-season national ranking in 1990 when the Spartans finished #20 in the Coaches Poll. Two stadium expansions and renovations in the 1980s increased the seating capacity from 18,000 to 30,456. From 1993 to 2004, San Jose State had only one winning season in 2000 when the team went 7–5. However, this time period had two wins over ranked opponents, 25–22 over #24 Air Force in 1997 and 27–24 win over #9 TCU in 2000. By the spring of 2004, the combination of rising costs for the football program and budget cuts from the state led some San Jose State faculty members to advocate dropping football.
In 2004, San Jose State defeated the Rice Owls 70–63 in a game that set the NCAA Division I record for total points scored and total touchdowns for a non-overtime game. SJSU has produced over 70 All-America team members, including five first-team selections. Coach Dick Tomey took over the program in 2005 amid APR shortcomings that would result in severe penalties imposed by the NCAA. After showing moderate improvement that year, the Spartans had a breakout season in 2006, it was the team's best season since joining the WAC ten years prior. Tomey guided the Spartans to a 9–4 record, a win over rival Fresno State, a win in the 2006 New Mexico Bowl, thus ending the team's 16-year bowl drought; the 2006 Spartan squad produced two 2007 NFL draft picks in wide receivers James Jones and John Broussard. From 2007 through the 2009 seasons, the San Jose State football program was hit with heavy NCAA sanctions for failing to meet Academic Progress Rate standards. By the start of 2009 season, the Spartans had lost 57 scholarships over a four-year period.
By the spring of 2010, the NCAA penalties were lifted and a full complement of 85 scholarships was restored. The 2007 San Jose State Spartans football team was not as successful as the previous year's team, with the Spartans going 5–7 and finishing 5th in the WAC; the post-season showed a positive result, with several players being named to all-star games including Dwight Lowery, Marcus Teland, Matt Castelo, Adam Tafralis. The Spartans produced another draft pick in defensive back Dwight Lowery. Lowery was named a 1st-team All-America winner in 2007; the 2008 San Jose State Spartans football team gave the school its best start since joining the WAC. The Spartans led the WAC for 3 weeks until losing to Boise State; the Spartans finished the season in 6th place in the WAC with a conference record of 4–4, a 6–6 overall record. Three players were picked in the 2009 NFL Draft, those being defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert, defensive back Christopher Owens, defensive back Coye Francies After playing an unusually tough non-conference schedule, the 2009 San Jose State Spartans finished 2–10 with wins over Cal Poly and New Mexico State.
Head Coach Dick Tomey announced in November he would retire at the close of the season, thus ending his legendary coaching career. Tomey's record at SJSU was 25–35. On December 17, 2009, Mike MacIntyre was formally introduced as Tomey's replacement. MacIntyre was the defensive coordinator at Duke University. San Jose State finished 1 -- 12 in 5 -- 7 in 2011 under MacIntyre. In MacIntyre's third season, the 2012 San Jose State Spartans football team finished 11–2 including a win over Bowling Green in the 2012 Mi
Oklahoma State Cowboys football
The Oklahoma State Cowboys football program represents Oklahoma State University–Stillwater in college football. The team is a member of the Big 12 Conference and competes at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level; the Cowboys are led by Mike Gundy, in his fourteenth year as head coach. Oklahoma State plays their home games at Boone Pickens Stadium in Oklahoma; the Oklahoma A&M Aggies played their first season of football in 1900 and joined their first conference for the start of the 1915 season, the Southwest Conference. In 1925, the Oklahoma A&M program joined the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association. In 1928, the MVIAA split into the Missouri Valley Conference. A&M was the only large school that joined the smaller MVC. Jim Lookabaugh led the Aggies for eleven seasons, which included a 9–0 campaign and a national championship in 1945 which followed an 8–1 season the year before. Lookabaugh was an OSU alum. In October 2016, Oklahoma State was retroactively awarded the 1945 national championship by the American Football Coaches Association though the 1945 Army team was the unanimous AP champion and is considered one of the greatest football teams of all time.
Lookabaugh stepped down after the 1949 season, finishing his tenure with a mark of 58–41–6. From 1950 to 1954, Jennings B. Whitworth coached at Oklahoma A&M, compiled a 22–27–1 record, which included only one winning season, a 7–3 campaign in 1953. Whitworth departed A&M to accept the head coaching position at Alabama following the 1954 season. In 1951, Oklahoma A&M players and coaches caused the Johnny Bright incident, a violent on-field assault against an African American player from Drake University, Johnny Bright. Cliff Speegle took the reins of the Oklahoma A&M Cowboys. Under Speegle's tutelage, the Cowboys compiled a record of 36–42–3, which included three winning seasons from 1957 to 1959; the losing record, combined with an 0–8 mark against rival Oklahoma, resulted in Speegle's firing following the 1962 season. In 1956, A&M announced; as part of a transition period, the Cowboys went independent for two years. On May 15, 1957, Oklahoma A&M changed its name to Oklahoma State University, they became a part of the renamed Big Eight Conference in 1958.
Longtime Bear Bryant assistant Phil Cutchin led Oklahoma State to its first win over Oklahoma in 20 years, but failed to bring success to Stillwater, compiling a mark of 19–38–2. Cutchin was replaced by the OSU administration eager to see a winning product on the field. Oklahoma State continued to struggle under head coach Floyd Gass, an OSU alum, who led the Cowboy football program for three seasons. During his tenure, he led the team to three straight losing seasons. Fan and administration support became hard to come by as the on-field production slipped. Despite the lack of football success, Gass would serve in multiple capactities at OSU, including athletics director for several years after his resignation as football coach; the Cowboys were able to enjoy a winning season —their first in nine years—in 1974 under the leadership of head coach Dave Smith. However, Smith wouldn't stick around, as he departed for the head coaching position at SMU after just one season in Stillwater. Jim Stanley, a two-time defensive coordinator at OSU, returned to Stillwater to become the head coach of the Cowboys in 1973.
He coached them from 1973 to 1978, amassing a career record of 35–31–2. Stanley's Cowboys earned a Fiesta Bowl victory in 1974 and his 1976 team ended the season 9–3 finishing as a Big Eight tri-champions on their way to a Tangerine Bowl victory, his success at Oklahoma State earned him many accolades, including being invited to coach three collegiate all-star games: the 1973 East–West Shrine Game, the 1977 Hula Bowl, the 1977 Japan Bowl. In 1978, the Big Eight Conference initiated an investigation into the OSU football program in response to allegations of violations of several NCAA rules and regulations while Stanley was head coach. Stanley filed suit against the conference to require them to provide various due process protections in their final hearing on the charges. In 1979, Jimmy Johnson got the head coaching job at Oklahoma State. Johnson's successful rebuilding of the inconsistent Cowboys football program is a hallmark in the long history of Cowboy football. In his final season, he led the Cowboys to an 8–4 record and a 24–14 victory over 20th-ranked Baylor in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl.
The season included a season opening romp over #12 ranked Arizona State in Tempe, a Bedlam matchup between the #2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the #3-ranked Cowboys on November 24, 1984. A game in which the Cowboys lost, 24–14. In 1984, when he was offered the head coaching job at Miami, Jimmy Johnson was unsure if he wanted to leave Stillwater, his good friend Larry Lacewell told Johnson that if he wanted to win a national championship and coach in the NFL he had to take the Miami job. Johnson soon after accepted the head coaching job at Miami. Jimmy Johnson left OSU with an overall record of 29–25–3. Pat Jones was promoted from assistant coach to head coach following Johnson's departure, he served as head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys from 1984 to 1994 after five years as an assistant under Jimmy Johnson. During his 11 years at Oklahoma State, he compiled a 62–60–3 record, including a 3–1 bowl game record. Jones
UNLV Rebels football
The UNLV Rebels football program is a college football team that represents the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The team is a member of the Mountain West Conference, a Division I Bowl Subdivision conference of the National Collegiate Athletics Association; the program which began on September 14, 1968, is coached by former Bishop Gorman High School head coach, Tony Sanchez. The team's home games are played at Sam Boyd Stadium in Nevada. On March 12, 1985, UNLV forfeited all of their wins for the 1983 and 1984 seasons by the order of the National Collegiate Athletic Association due to multiple NCAA violations on ineligible players. In 1967, Nevada Southern University announced that they would field a collegiate football program beginning on September 14, 1968 and announced that the team would be a Division II Independent and that Bill Ireland would be the program's first head coach; the Rebels played their first game of their inaugural season against the St. Mary's Gaels at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.
The Rebels won the game. The Rebels remained undefeated until the last game of the season, losing to Cal Lutheran Kingsmen, 13–17, as the Rebels finished their inaugural campaign 8–1; the following year, the Rebels played their first game against in-state rival Nevada, losing to the Wolf Pack 28–30. UNLV gained revenge, defeating Nevada the following year, 42–30, in the first year that the Fremont Cannon was awarded. On September 25, 1971, the Rebels played their first game against a Division I school, when they played Utah State of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association losing 7–27. On October 23, 1971, the Rebels opened their new home, Las Vegas Stadium, against Weber State, losing 17–30. At the end of the 1972 season with a disappointing 1–10 record, Ireland announced he was stepping down, leaving the Rebels with a 26–23–1 record. Ireland was replaced by Ron Meyer before the start of the 1973 season and Meyer led the Rebels back to powerhouse status with an 8–3 record, including their first victory over a major college opponent, thrashing Marshall 31–9.
The Rebels continued their strong campaign, breaking the national Division II top-10 and announcing their first All-American, running back Mike Thomas, who ran for the Division II national rushing title with 1,741 and setting nine school records in the process. The Rebels' success continued in 1974 with the only undefeated season in school history, finishing 11–0 and ranking second in the national Division II polls, the highest any Rebels football team has placed; the Rebels embarked on their first post-season journey in a national quarterfinal against Alcorn State, defeating the Braves 35–22 in Las Vegas. The Rebels memorable season ended in the national semifinals in the Grantland Rice Bowl, losing to Delaware 11–49. Meyer left the program in 1976 to take the head coaching position at collegiate powerhouse, Southern Methodist University. Former Boise State coach Tony Knap took over the Rebels after Ron Meyer's departure. Knap was able to continue the Rebels prior success under Meyer, with a 9–3 record, a ranking of 7th in the nation and a berth in the Division II playoffs losing to Akron 6–27 in the national quarterfinals.
After ten years as a Division II independent, the program made the jump to the Division I level in 1978, independent of any conference affiliation. On September 9, the Rebels played their first game as a Division I school, losing to Washington State 7–34; the Rebels defeated their first major college opponent away from Las Vegas, with a 33–6 victory over Colorado State in Fort Collins. At the end of the season, the Rebels made a trip to Yokohama, Japan to compete against college football powerhouse Brigham Young, losing 28–24. With the hard end to the season, the Rebels still produced a memorable year, going 7–4 in their first campaign at the Division I level; the 1981 season proved to be the last in Knap's tenure at UNLV, as he retired from coaching after a year of accomplishments, including the Rebels' first appearance in the ABC's Regional Game of the Week, a 45–41 upset of 8th-ranked BYU in Provo and securing the programs 100th win in El Paso, Texas. The 1982 season was a big year in UNLV football history as the program hired its fourth head coach, Harvey Hyde and the Rebels became affiliated with a college athletic conference when they joined the Pacific Coast Athletic Association.
The Rebels first PCAA game was a 27–29 loss to Pacific on October 2. It took the entire season before the Rebels won their first conference game, a 42–23 victory against Cal State Fullerton on November 27; the Rebels won their first conference championship in 1984 as the Randall Cunningham led Rebels finished 11–2, including the program's first trip to a bowl game, a 30–13 victory over Toledo in the California Bowl in Fresno, California. Hyde stepped down after the 1985 season and a 5–5–1 record and the NCAA discovery that several players on the 1984 Rebels were ineligible; the Rebels were forced to forfeit their entire 1984 season, including the California Bowl. Wayne Nunnely became the program's fifth head coach on September 20, 1986 and he coached the Rebels to a 17–7 victory over Wisconsin in front of the first sellout crowd in Silver Bowl Stadium history, a record 32,207 fans. One of Nunnely's key players was Elbert "Ickey" Woods, the first Rebel and PCAA running back to win the national Division I rushing title, as he rushed for 1,658 yards and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1988 NFL Draft.
1994 was another memorable season for the Rebels, as wide receiver Randy Gatewood set two single-game receiving records in a 38–48 loss to Idaho on September 17. The Rebels stunned the fa
Daniel Carl Wuerffel is a former college and professional American football quarterback who won the 1996 Heisman Trophy and the 1996 national football championship while playing college football for the University of Florida. Wuerffel was a prolific passer in coach Steve Spurrier's offense, he led the nation in touchdown passes in 1995 and 1996, set numerous school and conference records. Wuerffel was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013. After graduating from Florida, Wuerffel was drafted by the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League, he spent six years in the league with four teams, finding limited success as a backup and an occasional starter. He played a season in NFL Europe, where he led the Rhein Fire to a league championship and was named MVP of World Bowl 2000. Wuerffel last played professional football in 2002 retiring in 2004, he returned to New Orleans to work with Desire Street Ministries, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development.
Wuerffel had first become involved with the organization while playing for the Saints in the late 1990s, as the organization attempted to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he became its executive director. Under Wuerffel, Desire Street Ministries moved its headquarters to Atlanta and expanded its programs to other inner cities in the American south. Wuerffel was born in Pensacola, Florida, in 1974, the son of a Lutheran minister, a chaplain in the U. S. Air Force. While he was growing up, his family and he lived in South Carolina, Spain and Colorado before he attended Fort Walton Beach High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Wuerffel was a standout high school football and basketball player for the Fort Walton Beach Vikings. In football, he led the Vikings to an undefeated season as a senior quarterback, while winning the Florida Class 4A state football championship in 1991 and earning the number two national ranking in USA Today. Wuerffel was considered the top high school football recruit in the state of Florida, USA Today's high school player of the year in Florida during his senior year.
He graduated from high school as his class valedictorian. Wuerffel accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he played quarterback for head coach Steve Spurrier's Florida Gators football team from 1993 to 1996. One of the most decorated players in Florida's football history, he was a key member of the Gators teams that won four consecutive Southeastern Conference titles between 1993 and 1996. Wuerffel graduated from the university with a bachelor's degree in public relations, was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2006. On September 30, 2006, Wuerffel was inducted into the Gator Football Ring of Honor alongside his former coach Spurrier and two other former Gator players, Jack Youngblood and Emmitt Smith. Wuerffel was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013; the 1993 season was the first. In the second week, quarterbacks Wuerffel and Terry Dean throw a total of seven interceptions against Kentucky.
With eight seconds left, Wuerffel threw a pass down the middle to walk-on receiver Chris Doering for the game-winning touchdown. The next week, Florida recovered and defeated Heath Shuler-led and fifth-ranked Tennessee 41–34 in a "shootout". Wuerffel had split playing time with fellow quarterback Terry Dean for much of the 1993 and 1994 seasons. With Dean graduated, Wuerffel was the clear starter coming into the 1995 season, he made the most of his opportunity; the Gators went through the regular season undefeated, Wuerffel set several Southeastern Conference and NCAA records for passing, including the SEC season record for touchdown passes and the NCAA record for passing efficiency. Highlights included a September win over rival Tennessee in which Florida rallied from a 30-14 deficit to win 62-37 behind Wuerffel's SEC record 6 touchdown passes. Sports Illustrated had sent a team of reporters to cover the top-10 matchup and had planned to put Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning on the cover.
However, after the Gators' win, they decided to put Wuerffel on the cover instead, bringing him his first major national attention. He led the Gators to the Bowl Alliance national championship game following the 1995 season, but lost 62–24 to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl. Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman Trophy, as the outstanding college football player in America, while quarterbacking the Gators into their second consecutive Bowl Alliance national championship game with help from teammates Fred Taylor at running back. Wuerffel and the Gators won the 1996 national championship in decisive fashion by defeating the Florida State Seminoles 52–20 in the Sugar Bowl. Wuerffel was a first-team All-American in 1995, a consensus first-team All-American in 1996, he received the Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1995, the Davey O'Brien Award in 1995 and 1996, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 1996, was named the Quarterback of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus in 1996. Wuerffel declined to be included on Playboy magazine's All-America team as well as its Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, saying, "That's not the type of person I am or would like to portray myself as."
His Gators teammates picked him as the squad's most valuable player in 1995 and 1996. He was named to The Gainesville Sun's Florida Gators Team of th