The 1977 Orange Bowl featured a matchup between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Ohio State Buckeyes.[2][3] The #12 Buffaloes came into the game from the Big Eight Conference with an 8–3 record. The Buckeyes came out of the Big Ten Conference with an 8–2–1 record, ranked 11th in the nation.[4]

1977 Orange Bowl
1234 Total
Colorado 10000 10
Ohio State 71037 27
DateJanuary 1, 1977
StadiumOrange Bowl
LocationMiami, Florida
MVPTom Cousineau (Ohio St. LB)
FavoriteOhio State by 5 points[1]
RefereeRobert Carpenter (ACC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersJim Simpson and John Brodie
Orange Bowl
 < 1976  1978

This was the only Orange Bowl between 1976 and 1981 without Oklahoma, and the only one from 1976 through 1989 without either the Sooners or Nebraska (the 1979 game matched both). The night before, Nebraska won the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, and Oklahoma took the Fiesta Bowl a week earlier.

Underdog Colorado scored quickly, jumping out to an early 10–0 lead. However, Rod Gerald, who had not played since the seventh game of the season due to a bone chip in his lower back, came off the bench to lead the Bucks to its ninth win of the season.[2][3]

Gerald rushed 14 times for 81 yards, including 17 on his first carry setting up a 36-yard scoring run by Jeff Logan. Ohio State was on the scoreboard with 3:11 to go in the first quarter.

The Buckeyes scored on their next two possessions with Tom Skladany;s 28-yard field goal with 9:33 left in the half and Pete Johnson's 3-yard run with 24 seconds remaining before halftime. That capped a 99-yard drive after a blocked Colorado field goal attempt, and gave Ohio State the lead for good. Gerald ended the scoring with a 4-yard run with a minute left in the fourth quarter, and was named the back of the game.

Ohio State with 271 yards rushing, outgained Colorado 330–271.

This was the first Orange Bowl played on natural grass in seven years, since January 1970. Poly-Turf, similar to AstroTurf, was installed for the 1970 season, replaced in 1972, and removed in early 1976, following Super Bowl X. Through 2017, this is the Buckeyes' only Orange Bowl victory.

Scoring summaryEdit

First quarterEdit

CO - Zettenberg 26 field goal, 9:04

CO - Moorehead 11 pass from Knapple (Zettenberg kick), 3:54

OSU - Logan 36 run (Skladany kick), 3:11

Second quarterEdit

OSU - Skladany 28 field goal, 9:33

OSU - Johnson 3 run (Skladany kick), 0:24

Third quarterEdit

OSU - Skladany 20 field goal, 2:30

Fourth quarterEdit

OSU - Gerald 4 run (Skladany kick), 0:45


  1. ^ Snyder, Jimmy "The Greek" (January 1, 1977). "A&M most improved". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 13.
  2. ^ a b "Injured QB leads OSU in Orange". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. January 2, 1977. p. D2.
  3. ^ a b "Rod Gerald rallies Buckeyes". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. January 2, 1977. p. 1B.
  4. ^ "Co-champs hoping to get respect". Lakeland Ledger. (Florida). Associated Press. January 1, 1977. p. 1B.