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1991 Orange Bowl

1991 Federal Express Orange Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
Notre Dame 0 6 3 0 9
Colorado 0 3 7 0 10
Date January 1, 1991
Season 1990
Stadium Miami Orange Bowl
Location Miami, Florida
MVP Colorado QB Charles Johnson[1], and Notre Dame NG Chris Zorich
Attendance 77,062
United States TV coverage
Network NBC
Announcers Dick Enberg and Bill Walsh

The 1991 Orange Bowl was a 1990–1991 college football bowl game that was played on January 1, 1991, for the national championship. The 57th edition of the Orange Bowl featured the Georgia Tech.


  • Setup 1
  • The game 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4


Colorado came into the Orange Bowl 10–1–1. In their first game, the Stanford on October 6. The second loss came when Penn State's Craig Fayak kicked a 34-yard field goal to hand the Irish a 24–21 loss. The Penn State loss resulted in Notre Dame's number one ranking falling to Colorado. Sophomore quarterback Rick Mirer passed for 1824 yards and 8 touchdowns, while Raghib Ismail accounted for 1726 all-purpose yards, putting him on the All-American team as a wide receiver.

The game

After a scoreless first quarter, Colorado struck first blood, as Jim Harper kicked a 22-yard field goal to give the first points of the game. A few minutes later, on 2nd and goal, tailback Ricky Watters plunged in from 2 yards to give the Fighting Irish the lead. But when Ronnie Bradford blocked Craig Hentrich's PAT attempt, the score remained 6–3. This cost Hentrich his 73 straight successful PAT attempts, a school record. Things would turn sour for the Buffaloes, however, as Hagan ruptured his tendon in his left knee just before the half, where the score remained the same.

The 1991 Orange Bowl is also remembered for a controversial finish. Raghib Ismail returned a punt 92 yards for the seeming winning touchdown with 43 seconds left. This would have sealed the victory for Notre Dame and cost Colorado a share of the National Championship. However, the touchdown was called back on a highly questionable clipping penalty, and Colorado held on for the 10–9 victory.


  1. ^ a b Two players named Charles Johnson played in the 1991 Orange Bowl for Colorado. One of these, the backup quarterback who was named co-MVP, is mentioned in this article. However, this player never played in the NFL and has no WorldHeritage page because he is deemed non-notable. The other Charles Johnson, who was a wide receiver in the 1991 Orange Bowl but is not mentioned in this article, is deemed notable because of his later NFL career and has his own WorldHeritage page.


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