'Tales from the BYU Cougars Sideline': Kurt Gunther's kick lifted BYU to win in 1980 Miracle Bowl

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  • dallasfreeways Austin, TX
    July 26, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    I missed the second half of the game because 1. I was very discouraged and 2. my wife had a big headache, so we went home and went to bed. She went into labor a couple of hours later and our first child was born the next morning. My former law partner was an SMU alum and a big fan of SMU football. This game always stuck in his craw.

  • Standingd Davis, UT
    July 26, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    I was only about 12 then, I cried and still cry at these types of things now, today at 48. What a triumph! Outstanding play!

  • Zorro Bakersfield, CA
    July 25, 2013 10:21 p.m.

    I was sitting in the second row of the end zone where Clay Brown caught the pass as well as the extra point. A very funny thing happened after the game. As a bunch of us were still standing at the rail long after the game was over, a little old lady shuffled up to us and asked "Where exactly did it happen?" meaning where did Clay catch the ball. I pointed out the exact spot and shaking her head in amazement she proclaimed "That is sacred ground!".

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    July 25, 2013 9:55 p.m.

    I was there, but to tell the truth, I felt no stress about the extra point. The touchdown was so amazing that the kick seemed like an afterthought and a given. They had erased a four-touchdown deficit already - there was no way they would not win now! At least that's how I felt.

    What I also noticed is that have the crowd had left the stadium by the end - including some of the people in our party. Afterward, I took off my jacket so that everyone could see my BYU sweatshirt - it seemed like everyone leaving the stadium was wearing SMU gear.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    July 25, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    Cool story. I had no idea there was so much drama with the game-winning kick.

    I watched every second of this game at home on TV. I remember my dad told me there was no way BYU would win when I told him the score midway in the 4th quarter. I told him "It's still possible" and I, literally, prayed for a win. Yes, literally, and, no, I don't care what Ute fans will say about that. All I'll say is Austin Collie is right.

    We won.

    I ran outside and in the middle of a crowded, suburban neighborhood screamed my lungs out with joy. It had to be about 11PM and all was absolute calm and quiet around me but I didn't care. I screamed as loud as I could anyway for a very, very long time. If you didn't see it all unfold you just can't understand the sheer happiness Cougar fans experienced.

    God bless Lavell Edwards, Clay Brown and the incomparable Jim McMahon!

    Go COUGARS!!!

  • Pavalova Surfers Paradise, AU
    July 25, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    I was at the game, and my dad said we should leave after SMU scored their last TD. We missed the best 5 minutes of the best game ever....ugh.

  • Lightening Lad Austin , TX
    July 25, 2013 5:58 a.m.

    Beating Miami when they were #1 in 1996 as they had been year before was a a HUGE win but not the best game, BYU dominated the entire 60 minutes, despite losing a little juice when they got conservative late. The Miracle Bowl was all SMU using the best running combo in college football (Eric Dickerson, Craig James now the most hated man in Texas) then all BYU with such a gutsy climb to get back In. Two completely different games but two games that locked in the school as the #25 rated college football dynasty of all time.

  • Lightening Lad Austin , TX
    July 25, 2013 5:51 a.m.

    Nobody on the national scene covering college football, working for ESPN at that time, or just a random fan who happened to be up late on the east coast will forget that game. For 20 years after, people would still be talking about it. ASU coach Frank Kush had been fired a few years back for a helmet slapping incident, privately referred to BYU as The Flying Stagnation because it took the Cougars so long to get started, falling behind in many of their best wins. That was the case with this Holiday Bowl, but come roaring back they did in the best comeback I have ever seen vs one of the best teams in the Southwest Conf even if they had to cheat, pay players to get them. I have overheard coaches all over the country as well as fans call it the greatest college football game ever played and for those old enough to follow football at the time it will never be forgotten. If ESPN claimed they had replayed this game more than any other, it would be easy to believe. Don't forget Doug Scovil who gave BYU the scariest offense of the time.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    July 24, 2013 9:44 p.m.

    I was heading home for Christmas break and mercifully, lost KSL on the radio when the game was gloomy. Unfortunately I didn't try to find it again, and at about 1 am turned the radio back on to try and get the weather. I couldn't believe the short piece that said, in a thriller, BYU came from behind to win the game.

    Students were dispersed far and wide for the Miracle Bowl, but we were all back in Provo for Danny Ainge and the 8 second drive to glory. What a time for the Y!

  • Idaho_Boy Aberdeen, ID
    July 24, 2013 5:44 p.m.

    I wasn't at the game, but I do have vivid memories of it. I was home teaching that night. I was the very junior companion and it my uncle was my partner. After we got done hting, he turned on the game and shut it back off after it looked like it was going to be another bowl game lose for the Cougars and a blowout lose no less.

    The game wasn't broadcast live where we lived. I confess that I had given up hope and wasn't listening to it. My dad must have and we listened to the last minute of the game on KSL after he told us what was happening. The game ending was shocking all by itself, but when you add in that BYU at that point had never won a bowl game and was carrying that burden. Even though we didn't live in the state of Utah we attended many of the home games so the win was amplified in so many ways. Now it is just a win in the record books, but for those of us that lived then, it remains very special. Arguably the top win ever.

  • Reno Cougs Fan 68 Reno, NV
    July 24, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    I was there most amazing come back I have ever seen in a football game!!! I am looking forward to this season!!!

    Go Cougs!!!
    Go Utes!!!