The 1983 Holiday Bowl represented the final game of their college football career for 33 Brigham Young Cougars. Many of these 33 players had been significant cogs in BYU bringing a 10-1 record and no. 9 national ranking into the game. On
23, 1983, they left a lasting impression in the San
While the record and ranking were impressive by BYU standards, the 7-4 Missouri Tigers weren’t intimidated. They had finished second in the Big 8.
given no. 1 Nebraska a scare
earlier in the year and had shutout Oklahoma
The only points of the first quarter were scored by
on a 2-yard run. All-American quarterback Steve Young was struggling through
the air. Three of his passes in the first half were intercepted. Young was able
to use his legs, however, to tie the game at 7 in the second quarter on an 10-yard
Young would finish the game with -7 yards rushing.
pass rush was furious. The Tigers would sack Young six times.
Although BYU would gain 10 more yards of total offense in the first half (167 to 157),
would take the lead into the locker room with a 37-yard field goal before the
Trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, BYU would take its first lead of the game on a 33-yard pass from Young to Eddie Stinnett. Stinnett would finish the day with 60 yards receiving on a game-high five receptions. The Cougars would take the 14-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
It was the failure to convert a 4th-and-1 ten yards away from the end zone against
that led to the Tigers’ demise. This failed fourth down conversion would be
just as fatal.
With to play, BYU needed to drive 93 yards. A 53-yard pass from Young to Mike Eddo helped move the ball into scoring territory. Rather than try a game tying field goal with less than a minute to play, Young threw an 11-yard pass to Waymon Hamilton on 4th-and-10 to pick up a first down at the
The next play history was made.
Young handed the ball off to Stinnett. While Stinnett had been a weapon out of the backfield as a receiver, he had just one carry on the night for just two yards. On this play, the design wasn’t for Stinnett to run the ball.
After he ran towards the right side, Stinnett pulled up and floated a pass back across the field to Young. The ball was nearly tipped by a
defender. Young barely caught the back end of the ball and proceeded to weave
through the defense. One Missouri
defender was able to get a hit on Young and knock him down, but it wasn’t until
he crossed the goal line.
This play became Young’s signature play. He raised the ball and danced around in the end zone. With 23 seconds to play, he had given BYU a 21-17 lead. He also completed the very rare feat of rushing, throwing, and catching a touchdown in the same game.
Kyle Morrell sealed the win by intercepting a
The game was sloppy with nine total turnovers (BYU 5,
4). Missouri had a dominating
advantage in time of possession (37:07 to ).
Other than the negative rushing total and three interceptions, Young had a solid game completing 24 of 36 passes (66.7%) for 314 yards.
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