College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.
Unlike most other sports in North America, no minor league farm organizations exist in American or Canadian football. Therefore, college football is generally considered to be the second tier of American football in the United States and Canadian football in Canada; one step ahead of high school competition, and one step below professional competition. However, in some areas of the country, college football is more popular than professional football, and for much of the early 20th century, college football was seen as more prestigious than professional football.
It is in college football where a player's performance directly impacts his chances of playing professional football. The best collegiate players will typically declare for the professional draft after three to four years of collegiate competition, with the NFL holding its annual draft every spring in which 256 players are selected annually. Those not selected can still attempt to land an NFL roster spot as an undrafted free agent.
The 1993 Independence Bowl kicked off at 12:30 p.m. EST on December 31 amid sunny skies and 62 °F (17 °C) temperatures. Indiana took an early 7–0 lead, but Virginia Tech responded, taking a 14–7 lead with two touchdowns—one late in the first quarter, and the other early in the second. Indiana closed the gap to 14–13 with two field goals in the second. In the final 23 seconds of the first half, however, Virginia Tech scored an additional 14 points. Tech's defense recovered and returned a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown, then blocked a 51-yard field goal attempt and returned the ball 80 yards for the first blocked-kick touchdown in Virginia Tech history. After a scoreless third quarter, Virginia Tech scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to secure an insurmountable lead. Indiana scored one more touchdown and brought the game's final score to 45–20.
The game paid $700,000 to each team in exchange for their participation. The official attendance for the game was 33,819. Maurice DeShazo of Virginia Tech was named the game's offensive most valuable player (MVP), while Antonio Banks, also of Virginia Tech, was named the game's defensive MVP.
Several Independence Bowl records were set during the game, some of which still stand. Indiana's Thomas Lewis returned eight punts in the game and earned 177 receiving yards, including the third-longest pass in Independence Bowl History—a 75-yard reception from quarterback John Paci. Hokie Kicker Ryan Williams set the record for the most extra points in an Independence Bowl game with six, a mark that was tied during the 1995 Independence Bowl.