As families across the US gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, college football enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the annual feast of gridiron action that accompanies the holiday weekend. Over the years, Thanksgiving has served as the backdrop for some of the most memorable moments in college football history. Let CollegeWeekends take you on a stroll down the hallowed turf and revisit our top 5 Thanksgiving weekend memorable moments that have left an indelible mark on the sport.
1. “The Game of the Century” – 1971 Nebraska vs. Oklahoma
Thanksgiving Day in 1971 witnessed a clash of titans as the top-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers faced off against the second-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. The game lived up to its billing, ending in a 35-31 victory for Nebraska. This showdown is often referred to as “The Game of the Century” and remains a high-water mark in college football history, showcasing the intensity and drama that the sport can deliver.
2. “Iron Bowl Miracle” – 2013 Auburn vs. Alabama
In 2013, the Iron Bowl between the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide produced one of the most unforgettable endings in college football lore. With one second remaining on the clock, Alabama attempted a long field goal to win the game. However, a missed kick led to an improbable return by Auburn’s Chris Davis, who weaved his way through the Alabama special teams to score a game-winning touchdown. The “Kick Six” stands as one of the most iconic moments in Thanksgiving weekend football.
3. “Bush Push” – 2005 USC vs. Notre Dame
The annual clash between the USC Trojans and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2005 added another chapter to the storied rivalry. With seconds remaining, USC quarterback Matt Leinart scored on a controversial play that involved a push from running back Reggie Bush. The “Bush Push” propelled USC to a 34-31 victory, extending their winning streak and contributing to the heated debate around the play’s legality.
4. “Johnny Football’s Heisman Moment” – 2012 Texas A&M vs. Alabama
In 2012, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, also known as “Johnny Football,” had a Heisman Trophy-defining moment on Thanksgiving weekend. Manziel led the Aggies to a stunning 29-24 upset over the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, showcasing his dynamic playmaking abilities and earning the respect of football fans nationwide. This victory solidified Manziel’s place in college football history and left an indelible mark on Thanksgiving weekend lore.
5. “Miracle in Miami” – 1984 Boston College vs. Miami
With just seconds remaining on the clock and Boston College trailing 45-41, Flutie launched a desperation pass from around his own 37-yard line. The pass traveled approximately 63 yards and found the hands of wide receiver Gerard Phelan in the end zone, securing a 47-45 victory for Boston College. The play remains one of the most famous moments in college football history and solidified Doug Flutie’s status as a legendary figure in the sport.
Thanksgiving weekend in college football has provided fans with an abundance of thrilling moments and unforgettable memories. From historic clashes to game-winning heroics, these top 5 moments showcase the essence of what makes college football a cherished American tradition during the holiday season.