1990 All American Bowl Recap
NC State 31 • Southern Miss 27
In terms of excitement, the 1990 All American Bowl was second to none during the bowl season. Playing at fabled Legion Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, NC State claimed its second bowl win in three years by beating Southern Mississippi 31-27.
While the pre-game was dominated by talk of the two highly-touted defenses, the game itself was an offensive shootout. The Pack ruined the coaching debut of Jeff Bower, who took over at Southern Mississippi (8-4) when Curley Hallman left after the regular season to accept the LSU job.
USM took the early lead after all-star quarterback Brett Favre spotted receiver Mark Montgomery in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown strike, climaxing a 66-yard drive following a Pack punt. The PAT attempt failed.
NC State came right back with a scoring drive, covering 65 yards in seven plays. Quarterback Terry Jordan completed passes of six, 12 and 20 yards on the way to his 10-yard option keeper for the Pack’s first score. Kicker Mark Fowble was successful, giving the Pack a 7-6 lead.
Southern Mississippi’s Tony Smith fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Pack’s Gregg Giannamore recovered for the Pack at the USM 25. Seven plays later, freshman Gary Downs went over the top from the two for the touchdown.
The Golden Eagles tied the score with 13:42 to go in the first half when Favre hit Montgomery again for a 13-yard score. Favre whipped a pass to Michael Welch on the two-point conversion to tie it at 14.
Then with 1:56 left in the half, Smith again fumbled, this time trying to make a diving catch of a Wolfpack punt. Giannamore was again in the right place, recovering at the USM 23. The Pack, with the aid of a USM pass interference call, got to the two yard line, but had to settle for a 22-yard Fowble field goal and a 17-14 intermission lead.
Southern Miss retook the lead midway through the third quarter. The Eagles’ Pat Wynn blocked a Preston Poag punt and the ball went out of bounds at the NCSU one. On the next play, Smith barreled over.
But State went ahead for good shortly after that. Jordan led the Pack downfield on an 11-play, 68-yard drive, ending in a Jordan to Bobby Jurgens 12-yard scoring strike with 1:02 left in the third. That put the Pack up 24-21.
Behind Favre, who passed for 341 yards on the evening, the Golden Eagles mounted a serious comeback only to be thwarted by two key Wolfpack defensive plays. Reserve linebacker David Merritt picked off a Favre pass with 6:33 to go. On State’s first play following the interception fullback Greg Manior dashed 41 yards for a touchdown and a 31-21 State lead.
But the Wolfpack, which had led in the fourth quarter in three of its five losses and been tied in the fourth quarter in another, had to hang on at the end. Favre quickly took USM downfield and Welch got the touchdown on a 5-yard run with 3:09 to play. USM’s attempt for two points failed, making it 31-27 in State’s favor.
USM Montgomery 10 pass from Favre (kick failed)