1984 Fiesta Bowl
Ohio State 28, Pittsburgh 23
Offensive Player of the Game: John Congemi, Pittsburgh
Defensive Player of the Game: Rowland Tatum, Ohio State
Sportsmanship Award: Rowland Tatum, Ohio State
Head Coaches: Earle Bruce, Ohio State - Foge Fazio, Pittsburgh
Weather: Mostly cloudy
Payout Per Team: $817,831.82
Ohio State quarterback Mike Tomczak, with ice in his veins on this chilly January day, engineered a 13-play, 89-yard drive in the final 2:39 to lead the Buckeyes to a 28-23 victory over Pittsburgh in the 1984 Fiesta Bowl.
In a game that saved its best for last, Tomczak capped the winning drive with a 39-yard scoring pass to split end Thad Jemison with just 39 seconds remaining. The play was intended to go short to Cedric Anderson, but he was well covered. Tomczak then found Jemison streaking down the sideline.
The teams were engaged in a defensive battle for three quarters before the offensive sparks began to fly. OSU and Pitt combined to score 30 points in the final quarter with the lead changing hands three times.
The Panthers scored what looked to be the game-winner on a 37-yard field goal by Snuffy Everett with 2:39 left in the game. But Tomczak began the drive that included a key fourth-down conversion.
Involved in the fourth quarter scoring burst was a 99-yard kickoff return by OSU’s Keith Byars. The long return followed a scoring drive by Pittsburgh that was blessed with a little luck. Tailback Joe McCall ran the ball to the one-yard line but fumbled into the end zone. Clint Wilson pounced on the ball to give the Panthers a break and a 14-14 tie.
After the 99-yard return by Byars, Pitt scored a touchdown on an 11-yard pass play from John Congemi to Dwight Collins. The Panthers went for the two-point conversion, but the pass attempt fell short.
Congemi completed 31 of 44 aerials for 341 yards and was named the offensive player of the game.
OSU’s Rowland Tatum took defensive player of the game honors.