Penn State won Joe Paterno's first consensus national title by defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl, 27–23. The victory was also notable for being Joe Paterno's last game as head coach of the Nittany Lions.
Joe Paterno had been the winningest coach in college football with a record of 409–79. He resigned shortly after being fired by university president Graham B. Spanier. His resignation came one day after he was told that he would be terminated if he could not find a way to explain away a sex-abuse scandal that had engulfed his program. A former assistant coach was convicted on charges of child sexual abuse and is serving a prison sentence.
In addition to his career record, Paterno led Penn State to four more bowl games during his tenure, three Big Ten titles, and two Orange Bowl victories. He also has a.917 career coaching record against Southern California during their time together at Penn State. In addition, Paterno was the longest-tenured coach in NFL history when he died in January 2012 at age 85.
After Paterno's death, Bill O'Brien became the new head coach of the Nittany Lions.
Penn State led the game 14-7 at the half. Penn State added another touchdown in the third quarter, this time on an 83-yard drive finished by a touchdown throw from Blackledge to Kenny Jackson. Penn State led 21-7 after Manca's third extra point.
During the 1982 NCAA Division I-A football season, the Penn State Nittany Lions represented Pennsylvania State University. Penn State won Joe Paterno's first consensus national title by defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl, 27–23.
The Alabama-Penn State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the University of Alabama's Alabama Crimson Tide football team and the Pennsylvania State University's Penn State Nittany Lions football squad. The series had been dormant since 1990, but it was revived in Tuscaloosa in 2010 and State College in 2011.
In 1987, the bowl featured two unbeaten teams—Penn State and Miami—in a game that was the most watched in college football history at the time. Penn State won the national championship by a score of 14-10. In 1989 and 1996, the Fiesta Bowl hosted national championship games once more. Penn State has not appeared in the Fiesta Bowl since its title game appearances in 1987 and 1996.
Miami had never been shut out before their game against Penn State. The game marked the first time that Penn State had ever scored multiple touchdowns in a single quarter (4).
The Fiesta Bowl is played each year in December in Phoenix, Arizona. It is one of four major bowls in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Tournament. The others are the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl. The FCS champion plays off against the National Champion from another division (Division I-A for Nevada, Mountain West for Utah, Pacific 12 for Oregon, and American for Nebraska).
The Fiesta Bowl pays $750,000 to the winner and $1 million to the runner-up.
Penn State has appeared in the Fiesta Bowl twice before winning the game in 1987. They lost to Notre Dame in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl. That season, they went 11-1 and were ranked #2 when they defeated #3 Miami 31-30 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Nebraska won the title by defeating Miami in the Orange Bowl 24-17 on January 1, 1995. The next day, Penn State defeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl by a score of 38-20, securing the No. 2 ranking in the polls. Nebraska entered the game with a 10-0 record and ranked No. 4; Miami was 9-1 and ranked No. 7.
The championship was played over a three-day period in six games that were broadcast on television. The winners of each game went on to meet in Atlanta for the title. This is when most people know the game as "the national championship."
The first two games of the season ended in ties, so they were all-play-all games until finally #3 Michigan beat #6 Ohio State 21-14 in Columbus. That set up a rematch of last year's game between Ohio State and Michigan State for the right to go to Pasadena. The Spartans lost 23-16 at home to drop out of contention.
In Pasadena, California, No. 1 Nebraska met No. 5 Miami (Ohio) in one of the greatest championship games ever. The Cornhuskers raced out to an early lead but gave it up late in the fourth quarter. Then with less than a minute left, Miami (Ohio) drove into Nebraska territory before turning the ball over on downs.
Penn State triumphed 28-7. Following a four-year hiatus, the two teams played again in 2013, this time at MetLife Stadium in front of 61,202 people; Penn State triumphed, 23-17. A b "Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Syracuse Orange Football Series History", Winsipedia.
Last season was the first meeting between these two programs since 2007 when Syracuse defeated Penn State 33-30 in overtime. The game was played before a crowd of 87,317 at Joe Paterno Stadium in State College. It was originally scheduled for November 24, but was moved to December 1 due to snow storms that affected both schools. Syracuse went on to win that game 30-27 in overtime.
Penn State has won five out of the six meetings between these two programs. The only loss came in 2003 by a score of 14-10 when Paul Dantonio was serving as head coach of Michigan State. He resigned after that season to take over at his alma mater.
Syracuse is coming off their first undefeated regular season since 1986 when they finished 10-0. They will face Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl on January 1st.
The last time these two programs met was in 2012 when Penn State defeated Syracuse 34-31 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. That was enough to secure at least a share of the Big Ten Championship title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
In the fourth quarter, Penn State had an opportunity to tie, but Chuck Fusina threw an interception into the Alabama end zone. The Crimson Tide next had an opportunity to seal the game, but fumbled the ball back to Penn State at the Nittany Lion 19-yard line with four minutes remaining. Penn State moved to first-and-goal at the Alabama eight-yard line. On the next play, Joe Paterno called a quarterback sneak for four yards by Terry Allen to put the Lions up 21-17.
Allen would go on to have one of the greatest games in college football history. He finished with 301 yards passing and three touchdowns without an interception. He also ran for 66 yards and a touchdown.
The victory over Alabama gave Penn State an undefeated season and a share of the National Championship. The final score was 42-21 in favor of Penn State.