The 1935 Sugar Bowl was the first Sugar Bowl game and Tulane (9-1) hosted unbeaten Temple (7-0-2) before a crowd of 22,206 in New Orleans. Temple took a 14-0 lead before Tulane came back to win the game 20-14 The game was played at Tulane's home field, so it was technically a home game for the Green Wave. Temple had been ranked 15th in a November 15, 1934 AP Football poll.
The most notable play of the game came in the second quarter when Tulane's quarterback John McDaniel caught a Temple kickoff, ran to the right to draw tacklers, then threw a lateral pass to his teammate Monk Simons who ran 75 yards for the touchdown. Two more Tulane touchdowns in the last half outweighed Temple's early lead.
The Mid-Winter Sports Association of New Orleans was formed in 1934 to formulate plans for an annual New Year’s Day football classic. On December 2, 1934, the Association’s executive board selected Tulane and unbeaten Temple to play in the first game. Columbia and Colgate were also considered by the Association to represent the east.