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ASU Football Bowl History: The 1970 Peach Bowl Victory

The 1970 Peach Bowl was the first time Arizona State won a bowl game in school history. It also capped off an undefeated season, one that began to put Tempe on the college football map.

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(Photo: ASU)

Arizona State played in four bowls from 1940 to 1969 - two trips to the Sun Bowl, and two trips to the world-renowned Salad Bowl. In every bowl game, there was a common theme: the Sun Devils lost.

All that changed in 1970, as ASU earned its first-ever bowl victory against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Peach Bowl.

Arizona State was 10-0, led by legendary head coach Frank Kush and superstar wide receiver J.D. Hill. The Tar Heels were 8-3 after a solid campaign in the ACC. At the time, ASU was in the WAC, and even though they were undefeated, were not nationally respected enough to entire the championship conversation.

The Peach Bowl was a chance to rectify that perception, and the Sun Devils came through big time, destroying UNC 48-26.

The Devils raced out to a 14-0 lead behind two Bob Thomas touchdown runs, but the Tar Heels exploded for 26 second-quarter points, including three rushing touchdowns from All-American halfback Don McCauley. A 67-yard J.D. Hill touchdown catch kept ASU in the game as they went into halftime down 26-21.

As the snow came down in torrents, the Sun Devils shone through the blizzard. The offense was able to score four rushing touchdowns, while the defense rebounded from their atrocious second quarter to post a second-half shutout.

When all was said and done, the AP Poll ranked the Sun Devils #6, behind Nebraska, Notre Dame, Texas, Tennessee, and Ohio State, a clear sign that ASU had achieved a great deal over the course of their 11-game season.

In 2010, ASU Athletics released a short video documenting the 1970 team, and we're happy to supply it below. Enjoy!