Colorado 10
Notre Dame 9

January 1, 1991 – Orange Bowl Stadium
Buffs Hang On to Win Title
The 1991 Colorado Buffaloes, a team of comebacks and controversy, overcame the loss of top quarterback Darian Hagan to earn their first national championship with a 10-9 victory over Notre Dame.
Colorado's Eric Bieniemy led both teams as he gained 86 tough yards on the ground and 19 yards through the air and scored the Buffaloes lone touchdown. But the MOP was back-up quarterback Charles S. Johnson, who completed all three of his passes for 32 yards in a third-quarter drive that led to Bieniemy's one-yard dive into the end zone—the eventual winning score. Trailing 10-9 with 43 seconds remaining, Notre Dame's Raghib "Rocket" Ismail broke the Colorado punt coverage and ran 91 yards for the winning score—only to have it nullified by a late clipping penalty.
Five plays later, frustrated Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer threw his third interception of the day. Colorado defensive back Deon Figures grabbed the ball to seal the Colorado victory.
The Buffs took an early 3-0 advantage on a 33-yard Jim Harper field goal, but a Ricky Watters 2-yard run gave Notre Dame a 6-3 lead before halftime.
Notre Dame running backs Tony Brooks and Watters, who ran for 46 and 44 yards, respectively, each fumbled on consecutive third-quarter possessions. From there, the Colorado defense took over and kept the Fighting Irish out of scoring range the rest of the way.

First Downs 19 18
Rushing Attempts 54 35
Rushing Yards 186 123
Passes Attempted 19 31
Passes Completed 9 13
Had Intercepted 0 3
Passing Yards 109 141
Total Offense 295 264
Punts/Avg. 7/40.4 3/51.0
Fumbles/Lost  2/1 2/2
Penalties/Yards 6/50 3/45


Colorado 0 3 7 0 - 10
Notre Dame 0 6 3 0 - 9

COLO: Harper 22-yard FG; ND: Watters 2-yard run (kick blocked); ND: Hentrich 24-yard FG; COLO: Bieniemy 1-yard run (Harper kick) MOP: Charles S. Johnson (Colorado), Chris Zorich (Notre Dame)
Colorado Head Coach: Bill McCartney
Notre Dame Head Coach: Lou Holtz



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