Ht. 5-11 Wt. 183 Class: Junior/Senior
Position: Linebacker/Defensive Halfback
Hometown: Austin, Texas
1969 Classic: Texas 36, Tennessee 13
1970 Classic: Texas 21, Notre Dame 17
1969 Defensive Statistics: 2 tackles, 1 unassisted, 2 interceptions, 4 PBU
1970 Defensive Statistics: 6 tackles, 4 unassisted, 1 interception
Texas defensive ace Tom Campbell erased all doubt that in pressure-packed situations lightning can strike twice. After batting down four passes and picking off two others against Tennessee in the 1969 Classic, Campbell stepped onto an even bigger stage as a senior. In a month's time, the Longhorn defender came up with a pair of last-second interceptions that are firmly entrenched in Texas football lore. In the "Big Shootout" he picked off an Arkansas pass that preserved a 15-14 victory and sent the top-ranked Horns packing for Dallas to face Notre Dame. With under a minute to play and Texas holding a 21-17 lead, Mr. Clutch stepped up to do it all over again. Campbell intercepted Notre Dame's final pass to ice the game and the national title for Texas.
Couch Lou Holtz
Hometown: East Liverpool, Ohio
Classic Coaching Record: 2-1-0
1988 Classic: Texas A&M 35, Notre Dame 10
1993 Classic: Notre Dame 28, Texas A&M 3
1994 Classic: Notre Dame 24, Texas A&M 21
He's known for being a quick wit, his motivational speeches, a stern taskmaster, best-selling author and television analyst. Above all else, Lou Holtz was a highly-successful football coach. Holtz led Notre Dame to three Cotton Bowl appearances, winning twice. In 1993, the Irish manhandled Texas A&M, 28-3, although it didn't start out that way. A defensive stalemate ensued until Holtz pulled the middle screen out of his bag of tricks with 45 seconds before the half. The pass went to receiver Lake Dawson who sailed 40 yards for the Irish's first score. It was a brilliant decision by Holtz and cracked the game wide open. A master of preparation, Holtz taught his players never to leave anything to chance. Come ready to play and prepare to win.
Brigham Young University
Ht. 6-0 Wt. 240 Class: Senior
Position: Middle Linebacker
Hometown: Norco, California
1997 Classic: BYU 19, Kansas State 15
Defensive Statistics: 12 tackles, 11 unassisted
Tackles For Loss: 6 QB sacks for -38 yards
Eluding the grasp of BYU middle linebacker Shay Muirbrook was virtually impossible. No one got by Muirbrook, a four-year starter and the heart of a stingy defensive unit. More often than not, he stopped opponents in their tracks for lost yardage. Kansas State found that out the hard way in the 1997 Classic. Muirbrook registered a Cotton Bowl record six sacks for 38 yards in losses. His first sack of the day set the tone for the BYU defense. Taking advantage of a punt that pinned K-State on its two-yard line late in the first quarter, Muirbrook nailed the quarterback for a safety and the first points of the game. It was the start of an incredible performance of 11 solo tackles that led to a 19-15 victory for BYU.
Ht. 6-2 Wt. 198 Class: Sophomore/Junior
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
1986 Classic: Texas A&M 36, Auburn 16
1987 Classic: Ohio State 28, Texas A&M 12
1986 Rushing: 4 attempts, -9 yards
1986 Passing: 16-26-1, 292 yards, 1 TD
1987 Rushing: 5 attempts, 12 yards
1987 Passing: 12-31-5, 143 yards
Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray used the glow of the Classic's 50th anniversary game to outshine Bo Jackson, Auburn's Heisman Trophy winner. Murray enjoyed a phenomenal game against the Tigers, setting a Cotton Bowl record with 292 yards through the air. Holding a tenuous 21-16 lead, the sophomore quarterback took charge late in the game and marched the Aggies 72 yards in nine plays for the game-clinching touchdown. Only 2:22 was left on the clock when Murray completed the drive on a nine-yard pass play and secured A&M's first Cotton Bowl victory in 18 years. The Classic has witnessed some incredible passing performances, but the aerial show Murray delivered against Auburn was one for the record books.
Ht. 6-2 Wt. 205 Class: Junior/Senior
Position: Defensive Tackle
Hometown: Forrest City, Arkansas
1965 Classic: Arkansas 10, Nebraska 7
1966 Classic: LSU 14, Arkansas 7
1965 Defensive Statistics: 11 tackles, 4 unassisted, 3 sacks for -34 yards, 1 tackle for -2 yards
1966 Defensive Statistics: 5 tackles, 2 unassisted
CBAA Chairman: 1988-1990 (Coordinated first CBAA title sponsorship with the Mobil Corporation)
There were a lot of heroes on the field for Arkansas in the Hogs' 10-7 victory over Nebraska in the 1965 Classic, but in the end, it was junior defensive tackle Jim Williams that saved the day for the unbeaten Razorbacks. Nebraska appeared to have the game in hand with a 7-3 lead and the clock ticking past the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter. But, the Hogs came alive and drove 80-yards for what proved to be the winning score with 4:41 to play. That's when Williams proceeded to dash whatever hopes the Huskers had to regain the lead with three clutch tackles on the final drive, including two quarterback sacks. On the Huskers' last play he nailed the Nebraska quarterback for a 15-yard loss to help secure Arkansas' first national championship.