On Thursday at 10 PM (MT), NBC Sports will air the 1991 Orange Bowl. The top-ranked Colorado Buffaloes faced off against the 5th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish, ultimately winning 10-9 and securing the 1990 National Championship.
The game was not without drama and controversy. The ‘90s Buffs had already endured 5th down, the question of whether Charles E. Johnson actually scored that touchdown against Missouri (he did), and in this game won because of a controversial penalty called.
The Buffaloes, up 10-9 with under a minute to go, punted deep into Notre Dame terrority. Raghib “Rocket” Ismail was there to return the punt — he who finished second in Heisman voting that year and was named to Sports Illustrated’s Team of the Century — and ran it back 92 yards for the game-winning score. However, Notre Dame had been called for a clipping penalty and the return was wiped off, although Irish fans refer to this as a phantom call (it was the correct call).
Other that that wild finish, it was a low-scoring, slow-moving game. CU didn’t really get moving even with Darian Hagan and Eric Bieniemy running the triple option (Hagan was injured just before half), but it’s always fun to appreciate a terrific defense led by Alfred Williams and Kanavis McGhee.