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Legends Luncheon celebrates 1970 Peach Bowl football champs

Annual Homecoming event hosted by ASU Alumni Association will honor players and coaches from historic football season


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November 01, 2018

While the Sun Devils have racked up many impressive winning seasons over the years, the 1970 football team achieved its first ever top 10 national ranking, an undefeated season and the school’s first nationally televised bowl game. The Sun Devils defeated the University of North Carolina Tar Heels 48-26 in the third annual Peach Bowl, one of just 11 bowl games that year.

To get to the Peach Bowl, the Sun Devils won the Western Athletic Conference for a second consecutive year and scored wins against conference rivals in addition to Kansas State, Washington State and San Jose State.

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

ASU’s 1970 Peach Bowl players and coaches will be honored at the 11th annual Legends Luncheon event hosted by the ASU Alumni Association and the Sun Devil Club on Friday in Phoenix. More than 30 players and coaches from the 1970 squad will be returning for the luncheon.

J.D. Hill, Steve Holden, Jim Kelley, Steve Matlock, Mike Messenger, Joe Spagnola, Mike Tomco and Kevin Woudenberg are among the players returning for the luncheon. Coaches who will take part in the event include ends-linebackers coach Larry Kentera, receivers coach Joe McDonald, offensive line coach Al Tanara and defensive line coach Jerry Thompson.

WATCH: 1970 Peach Bowl trivia

The most striking and historic element of the game was the unusually severe weather conditions, which brought wind, rain, sleet and snow. While the Sun Devils scored first, they ended the second quarter behind 26-21. But the ASU team came out of the locker room after halftime ready to take on the Tar Heels, who would not score another point in the game.

The Peach Bowl victory became football head coach Frank Kush’s 100th victory at Arizona State. The game’s outstanding defensive player award went to Junior Ah You, and the outstanding offensive player award went to Monroe Eley, who was the game’s leading rusher with 173 yards.

Top photo: The Sun Devils take on the Tar Heels in the 1970 Peach Bowl, winning the school's first ever bowl game. Photo courtesy ASU Archives

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