1998 Orange Bowl

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1998 FedEx Orange Bowl
National Championship Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Tennessee 0 3 6 8 17
Nebraska 7 7 21 7 42
Date January 2, 1998
Season 1997
Stadium Pro Player Stadium
Location Miami Gardens, Florida
MVP Nebraska RB Ahman Green
Favorite Nebraska by 7½
Referee Terry McAulay (ACC)
Attendance 74,002
United States TV coverage
Network CBS
Announcers Sean McDonough and Terry Donahue
Nielsen ratings 13.3
Orange Bowl
 < 1996 (Dec) 1999
Bowl Alliance National Championship Game
 < 1997 1999 (BCS Era)

The 1998 Orange Bowl was played on January 2, 1998 and served as the Bowl Alliance's designated national championship game for the 1997 season. This 64th edition of the Orange Bowl featured the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee came into the game with an 11–1 record and #3 AP ranking, whereas Nebraska came into the game with a 12–0 and #2 AP ranking. Notably the #1 ranked Michigan Wolverines were not a participant, as the Big Ten champion was still obligated to appear in the Rose Bowl.

Game summary

Nebraska opened up a 7–0 lead after the first quarter and led 14–3 lead at halftime. Nebraska put the game away in the opening drive of the third quarter via their power running game, driving the opening kickoff for a touchdown to push the lead to 21–3. Nebraska's lead jumped to 28–3 after a Scott Frost touchdown. Quarterback Peyton Manning fired a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Peerless Price to cut the lead to 28–9. The ensuing two-point conversion failed and the lead remained at 19. Nebraska then drove 59 yards in 3 plays, before running back Ahman Green scored on a 22-yard touchdown run to move the lead up to 35–9 going into the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Scott Frost added a 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to put the game away for Nebraska. Tennessee's back-up quarterback Tee Martin threw a touchdown pass in the final minutes, and the ensuing two-point conversion was successful, making the final margin 42–17.

Nebraska's Green was named game MVP after rushing for an Orange Bowl record 201 yards and two touchdowns. In his final game at Tennessee, Manning completed 21-of-31 attempts for only 131 yards passing. The game was also the last for Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne, who had been at the helm since 1973.

Scoring summary

First quarter

Nebraska-Ahman Green 1 yd touchdown run (Kris Brown kick) 1:10 Nebraska 7 Vols 0

Second quarter

Nebraska-Shevin Wiggins 10 yard touchdown run (Kris Brown kick) 11:28 Nebraska 14 Vols 0

Vols-Jeff Hall 44 yd field goal 8:28 Nebraska 14 Vols 3

Third quarter

Nebraska-Scott Frost 1 yd touchdown run (Kris Brown kick) 10:11 Nebraska 21 Vols 3

Nebraska-Scott Frost 11 yd touchdown run (Kris Brown kick) 5:07 Nebraska 28 Vols 3

Vols-Peerless Price 5 yd touchdown pass from Peyton Manning (2-pt pass failed) 1:58 Nebraska 28 Vols 9

Nebraska-Ahman Green 22 yd touchdown run (Kris Brown kick) 0:29 Nebraska 35 Vols 9

Fourth' quarter

Nebraska-Scott Frost 9 yd touchdown run (Kris Brown kick) 4:24 Nebraska 42 Vols 9

Vols-Andy McCullough 3 yd touchdown pass from Tee Martin (Travis Stephens 2-pt reception) 0:58 Nebraska 42 Vols 17


Nebraska won a share of the national championship, capturing the top spot in the Coaches Poll and receiving the AFCA National Championship Trophy. The Cornhuskers finished the season ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll, behind the also-undefeated Rose Bowl champion Michigan Wolverines.

Tennessee finished the 1997 season 11–2. This was the last loss by the Volunteers until September 18, 1999.

The two teams met exactly two years later, on January 2, 2000, in the Fiesta Bowl.

The next season the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was formed, allowing the Big Ten Conference and Pacific-10 Conference champions to participate in bowl games other than the Rose Bowl.


External links

  • Associated Press Article
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