American Football Database
American Football Database
1944 Sun Bowl
10th Sun Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
University of New Mexico 0 0 0 0 0
Southwestern University 0 0 0 7 7
Date January 1, 1944
Season 1943
Stadium Kidd Field
Location El Paso, Texas
MVP William Collins, Southwestern
Bill Thompson, New Mexico
Attendance 18,000
Payout US$6,181

Sun Bowl
 < 1943  1945

The 1944 Sun Bowl was the tenth edition of the annual postseason college football bowl game. The game was held at Kidd Field in El Paso, Texas, on January 1, 1944, with a crowd of approximately 18,000 spectators in attendance.[1] The game featured the Southwestern Pirates (9–1–1)[2] and the New Mexico Lobos.[3]

Game summary

The game began in cloudy weather with a temperature of 60 °F before the sun came out in the second half. Southwestern entered the game as the favorites and possessed a potent rushing offense. However, the game remained scoreless throughout the first three quarters and well into the final period. New Mexico threatened to score twice, in the first and in the second quarter, but could not advance beyond their opponent's 16-yard line. Southwestern began the fourth quarter with possession on their own 13-yard line. Pirates tailback R. W. MacGruder completed a pass to fullback R. L. Cooper for 27 yards, and soon afterward, MacGruder rushed 22 yards to the Lobos' 19-yard line. However, New Mexico held firm and recovered the ball on downs, but making no progress themselves, were forced to punt.[3] Cooper then completed a pass to the New Mexico 37-yard line for a first down, and then with seven minutes remaining to play, he connected with MacGruder for the game-winning touchdown.[3] William "Spot" Collins kicked the extra point.[3][4]

After the game, New Mexico lineman Bill Thompson[5] and Southwestern team captain Spot Collins were named the most outstanding players.[4] New Mexico tied a record set two years earlier by Texas Tech University for the fewest first downs. The 1944 game featured the fewest combined offensive yards at a Sun Bowl game.[6]

Southwestern returned in the 1945 Sun Bowl to win back-to-back championships. New Mexico returned to win the 1946 Sun Bowl.


Statistics New Mexico Southwestern
First Downs 4 12
Rushing Yards 38 214
Passing Yards 10 65
Passing 3-10-0 7-10-1
Total Offense 48 279
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-20 4-20
Punts-Average 11-38 5-35
Punt Returns 2-7 4-66
Kickoff Returns 1-17 1-30


  1. "Sun Bowl Year By Year Results". Archived from the original on 2 December 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
  2. "Football! Navy! War!": How Military "Lend-Lease" Players Saved the College Game and Helped Win World War II, p. 168, McFarland, 2009, ISBN 0-7864-4219-0
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Bowl History (PDF), 2003 New Mexico Football Media Guide, p. 15, University of New Mexico, 2003.
  4. 4.0 4.1 William Harold Collins, Southwestern University, retrieved July 26, 2009. Archived 2009-07-29.
  5. Ken Sickenger, One of Lobos' Biggest Fans Also Was Star on Field, The Albuquerque Journal, September 22, 2007.
  6. "Sun Bowl Team Records". Archived from the original on 4 January 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2009.

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