American Football Database
1976 Independence Bowl
Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Tulsa University 7 0 6 3 16
McNeese State University 3 3 8 6 20
Date December 13, 1976
Season 1976
Stadium State Fair Stadium
Location Shreveport, Louisiana
MVP Terry McFarland (offense)
Terry Clark (defense)
Attendance 19,164
Independence Bowl

The 1976 Independence Bowl was a post-season college football bowl game between the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and the McNeese State Cowboys on December 13, 1976 at State Fair Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. McNeese State upset a heavily favored Tulsa 20–16. This was the first-ever edition of the Independence Bowl, which drew its name from the ongoing celebrations of the United States Bicentennial.[1][2]:140


Between 1976–1980 the Independence Bowl featured the Southland Conference champion against an at-large opponent, with the Southland team playing host.[3] McNeese State clinched the championship and spot in the bowl game after defeating Southwestern Louisiana 20–19 on November 20.[4] For the at-large opponent the bowl organizers initially pursued Rutgers, which was then 10–0 and would finish the season undefeated. Rutgers declined the invitation, feeling snubbed by more prestigious bowls.[5] Rebuffed, the organizers considered Tulsa, Cincinnati, Memphis State, Boston College, and Ball State before selecting Tulsa, co-champion of the Missouri Valley Conference.[6]

Prior to the game, coverage favored Tulsa over McNeese State due in large part to sixteen of McNeese State's players being unable to play in the bowl.[7] Ten players were declared ineligible because they had redshirted in their freshman year and were thus fifth-year seniors. At the time, NCAA rules prohibited such players from participating in postseason play. Six more players were suspended from the team for violating team and school rules.[8] The players were accused of having a girl in their dormitory room, which McNeese State then prohibited. Some newspaper accounts alleged that "sexual molestation" had occurred.[9] Even before the game was played F. A. Dry, Tulsa's head coach, had accepted the head coaching job at TCU, though he stayed on at Tulsa for the bowl game.[10]

Scoring summary

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring Information Score
Plays Yards TOP Golden Hurricane Cowboys
1 Golden Hurricane Thomas Bailey 1-yard touchdown run, Steve Cox kick good 7 0
1 Cowboys 42-yard field goal by Jan Peebles 7 3
2 Cowboys 34-yard field goal by Jan Peebles 7 6
3 Cowboys Mike McArthur 1-yard touchdown run, 2-point run good 7 14
3 Golden Hurricane Mel McGowen 65-yard blocked field goal returned for touchdown, kick no good (blocked) 13 14
4 Golden Hurricane 38-yard field goal by Steve Cox 16 14
4 Cowboys Oliver Hadnot 25-yard touchdown run, 2-point pass incomplete 16 20
"TOP" = Time of Possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 16 20



  1. "McNeese Upsets Tulsa In Independence Bowl". Argus-Press. December 14, 1976.,3791303. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  2. Otto, David (2010). Insiders' Guide to Shreveport. Globe Pequot.
  3. "About the Southland". Retrieved 2012-01-12.
  4. "Four make claim: Most bowl bids settled, who's No. 1?". Spokesman-Review. November 22, 1976.,2690792. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  5. "Rutgers Votes to Skip Independence Bowl" in The Washington Post (23 November 1976). Page D6. (No further authorship information available).
  6. "Rutgers win streak on line". St. Joseph News-Press. November 24, 1976.,5039447. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  7. "McNeese wins despite problems". The Telegraph-Herald. December 14, 1976. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  8. "Jim Murphy remembers the 1976 McNeese State football team". CBS Sports Network. October 6, 2006. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  9. "Six Gridders Accused of Molesting Girl". Youngstown Vindicator. December 4, 1976.,1222240. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  10. "Dry Quits Tulsa Job". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 29, 1976.,3664582. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  11. "2010 Media Guide". Independence Bowl. 2010. Retrieved 2012-12-01.

External links