Greatest Plays in Sugar Bowl History

Here’s a look at some of the greatest plays in Sugar Bowl history. These are not in any particular order as it would be quite possibly impossible to properly rank these in order.

Often referred to as the greatest play in Sugar Bowl history, Barry Krauss made a legendary goal-line stop in the 1979 Sugar Bowl. Alabama was clinging to a 14-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter and Penn State had the ball with a fourth-and-one play from the half-yard line. Krauss made history with a brick wall stop of the Nittany Lions’ Mike Guman to all but clinch a national title for the Crimson Tide.

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Tom Clements completes a 36-yard pass to Robin Weber from his own end zone with 2:12 to go to clinch a 24-23 victory over Alabama and the national championship in the 1973 Sugar Bowl.

Deion Sanders picks off a pass in the end zone with five seconds to go to give Florida State a 13-7 victory over Auburn in the 1989 Sugar Bowl.

Ezekiel Elliott breaks free for an 85-yard TD run with 3:24 to go to beat Alabama in the 2015 Sugar Bowl.

Dan Marino to John Brown on fourth down with 35 seconds left to beat Georgia in the 1982 Sugar Bowl.

Todd Blackledge to a diving Greg Garrity to beat Georgia and clinch national title (third quarter) in the 1983 Sugar Bowl.

Steve Slaton 52-yard touchdown with 8:32 to go to give West Virginia a 38-28 lead over Georgia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

By the time Ole Miss star Raymond Brown dropped back deep in his own end zone to punt in the fourth quarter, he already had run for one touchdown and passed for another. But when he snagged an errant snap and then dashed up field, he wrapped up the first unanimous MVP honor in the bowl’s history. The run, officially 92 yards and still the longest run play in Sugar Bowl history, was well over 100 yards of actual distance and it capped Ole Miss’ victory over Texas in the 1958 Sugar Bowl

Alabama’s George Teague snagged his first career interception and returned it for his first career touchdown on the second play of the second half of the 1993 Sugar Bowl against Miami. But on the next possession, he lined up in the wrong position and Hurricane quarterback delivered a strike to a streaking Lamar Thomas who had a wide-open lane to the end zone for an 89-yard score. However, Teague, racing from the opposite side of the field, somehow tracked down Thomas and in one swipe stole the ball out of Thomas’ hand at the Alabama 7 and began running back the other way. “I was out of position,” he told AL.com in 2018. “I was kind of loafing, just thinking we were going to make the play or the stop. Geez, you want to talk about a terrifying moment in the middle of the game? That was definitely one.” Ironically, Alabama was offsides on the play and it was nullified when Miami accepted the penalty – one of the greatest plays didn’t even officially count, however, it made a major impact on the game as it pulled a touchdown off the board for the Hurricanes and it showed that Alabama wasn’t going away.

After archrivals Florida and Florida State traded early field goals in a game dubbed as “The Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter,” the Seminoles took the lead for good with some razzle dazzle. Running back Warrick Dunn, a Louisiana native, swung right and caught a soft toss from quarterback Danny Kanell and then wound up to launch a dart downfield. A streaking ‘Omar Ellison somehow controlled the pass off a Gator defender’s helmet and then dashed 33 yards for the goa-head touchdown – the play covered a total of 73 yards, a record for the longest in Sugar Bowl that lasted about eight minutes before Danny Wuerrfel connected on an 82-yard bomb. Florida State would win the game 23-17.

Ike Hilliard had a sensational performance in the 1997 Sugar Bowl victory for Florida against their archrival Florida State. The great play shown became known as the “Stop and Pop” as he snagged a Danny Wuerffel pass, took one hard step towards the end zone, then stopped on a dime as the Seminole defenders could only wave at him as he dashed the remaining 15 years to the end zone. It was the second of a Sugar Bowl-record three touchdowns for Hilliard and it gave the Gators a 24-10 advantage in what ended as a 52-20 Florida victory.

We have not found video footage of the following plays. If anybody has any leads, be sure to let us know! johns@sugarbowl.org

  • Claude Simons return to beat Temple in 1935 Sugar Bowl.
  • Boston College’s Charlie O’Rourke drops back and fakes a throw before breaking for the end zone, running 24 yards for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter of a 19-13 win over Tennessee in the 1941 Sugar Bowl.
  • Walt Yowarsky pounces on a muffed punt with just over three minutes to go to preserve a 13-7 Kentucky lead as the Wildcats go on to shock undefeated and top-ranked Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl.
  • LSU’s Doug Moreau snags a 57-yard pass from Billy Ezell on the opening possession of the second half to even the game at 10 with Syracuse in the 1965 Sugar Bowl.
  • Lawrence Wright for Florida in 1994 game. Interception at midfield, runs all over field before finally scoring near the end of the first half.
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