1991 Florida Citrus Bowl



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1991 Florida Citrus Bowl

1991 Florida Citrus Growers Association Florida Citrus Bowl
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Nebraska Cornhuskers
(10–0–1) (9–2)
ACC Big Eight
45 21
Head coach: 
Bobby Ross
Head coach: 
Tom Osborne
APCoaches
22
APCoaches
1913
1234 Total
Georgia Tech 717714 45
Nebraska 01470 21
Date January 1, 1991
Season 1990
Stadium Florida Citrus Bowl
Location Orlando, Florida
MVP Georgia Tech QB Shawn Jones
Attendance 73,328
United States TV coverage
Network ABC
Announcers Brent Musburger and Dick Vermeil

The 1991 Florida Citrus Bowl was a college football bowl game played after the 1990 regular season, with national championship implications. The game was played on January 1, 1991, in Orlando, Florida. The 45th edition of the Citrus Bowl featured the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Georgia Tech came into the game with a 10–0–1 record and #2 ranking, whereas Nebraska came into the game with a 9–2 record and #13 Coaches' poll ranking. After their win, Georgia Tech was moved from #2 to #1 in the Coaches' Poll, enabling the Yellow Jackets to claim their fourth national championship.

Background

ACC Champion Georgia Tech came into the Citrus Bowl as Division 1-A's only undefeated team at 10-0-1 and ranked #2 in both the AP and the Coaches' Polls behind 10-1-1 Colorado. They had begun the 1990 season unranked, but worked their way up the polls over the course of the year, helped greatly by a 41-38 win over then-#1 Virginia in week 8. Their one blemish on the year was a 13-13 tie against North Carolina. A potentially controversial situation would arise in the polls if Georgia Tech could win the Citrus Bowl and finish the year undefeated, pending the outcome of the 1991 Orange Bowl to be played later that night between Notre Dame and Colorado.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers, meanwhile, were 9–2, and ranked #13 in the Coaches' poll. Though they had been in the top ten of both polls for most of the season, and as high as #3 with three games to go, two losses in their last three games plummeted them to 13th. Regardless, Nebraska came into the Citrus Bowl as the favorite, despite their inferior record and ranking.

Game recap

Shawn Jones, Georgia Tech's sophomore quarterback, rushed for 46 yards on the fourth play of the game which set up the first touchdown. The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 21-0 lead during the first half, but Nebraska responded with two touchdowns, narrowing the deficit to 21-14. GT was forced to punt after Nebraska's second touch down. However, Nebraska's punt returner fumbled the ball with Jay Martin of Georgia Tech recovering, which led to a 37-yard field goal by Scott Sisson and a 24-14 halftime lead. GT coach Bobby Ross said after the game, "I thought the fumbled punt was the key to the game. That changed the momentum of the game...Here we were with what we thought was a comfortable lead, and they came back within a matter of a minute, ready to establish momentum. Even though we only got three points out of it, that was one of the big plays we capitalized on."

After blocking a Nebraska field goal on the first possession of the second half, Georgia Tech drove for a touchdown to make the score 31-14. Nebraska's final score of the game made it 31-21 going into the 4th quarter. Georgia Tech's William Bell rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to seal the win, 45-21. During the game, Shawn Jones completed 16 of 23 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for one touchdown, and he was selected the game's most valuable player. Georgia Tech also played well defensively. Nebraska averaged 330 rushing yards during the season. However, Georgia Tech held the Cornhuskers to only 126 rushing yards during the game.




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