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Top 16 Moments of Penn State Football, Part 1

A new era of Penn State Football will begin under Bill O’Brien this fall, but before it does, we decided to take a look back at some of the memorable moments over the past decade.

Onward State has set up a bracket of the top 16 moments of the past ten years. Voting will stay open  for a week before results and another set of matchups are revealed.

Old Main Region:

The Fumble, Part II (Ohio State, 2008)

While trailing in the 4th quarter at Ohio Stadium, Mark Rubin forced a fumble of OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Penn State recovered, and scored the game-winning touchdown on that drive, as the Nittany Lions defeated #10 Ohio State 13-6. It was Penn State’s first win at Ohio State since 1978.


First WhiteHouse (Notre Dame, 2007)

For the first time, all Penn State fans in attendance were asked to wear white. The crowd responded brilliantly, along with the football team, as the Nittany Lions whacked the Fighting Irish 31-10.


409 (Illinois, 2011)

The Lions scored on a Silas Redd touchdown with less than two minutes remaining, and Illinois kicker Derek Dimke (with a little help from the Penn State student section) missed the game-tying kick off the upright, giving Coach Paterno his College Football-record 409th win. This would be Paterno’s last game as head coach.


Captain Clark’s Last Game (LSU, Capital One Bowl, 2009)

Daryll Clark ended his career with a victory in a muddy Capital One Bowl, beating #15 LSU 19-17. The senior quarterback and one of the team captains threw for 216 yards and 1 TD, handing Les Miles his first bowl loss in his tenure at LSU. One of the most popular players in recent history, Clark finished with a 22-4 record as a starter.

James A. Beaver Region:

Derrick Williams’ Record Setting Night (Illinois, 2008)

In a nationally televised, prime-time game, Williams became the first PSU receiver to have a receiving, rushing, and return touchdown in the same game. Williams’s explosion in front of a packed White House crowd led Penn State to a 38-24 victory over #22 Illinois.


First BCS Win (Florida State, Orange Bowl, 2005)

In a matchup of the two winningest coaches in College Football history, JoePa’s Nittany Lions beat Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles 26-23 in 3OT. Kevin Kelly’s game-winning kick gave Penn State its first ever BCS Bowl victory.


Larry Johnson’s Big Day (Michigan State, 2002)

Larry Johnson ran for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns in just the first half, as Penn State beat Michigan State 61-7. Johnson’s performance made him just the 9th player in NCAA history to rush for 2000 yards in a season.


The Drive (Northwestern, 2005)

Trailing by two with under two minutes remaining, Michael Robinson orchestrated an 80-yard drive to win the game 34-29 and keep the undefeated season alive. The drive included a converted 4th-and-15, and a 36 yard touchdown pass to Derrick Williams with 51 seconds left. Jay Paterno called this “the greatest moment in my coaching career.”

***Your Selections***

Check back next week for the second half of the bracket!


About the Author

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson was Onward State's Acting Managing Editor/Resident Old Man. He lived in Harrisburg almost his whole life, but he says he's from California -- where he was born -- because that's more fun. He loves cats and Chinese food, but only separately. He met both Ben Affleck and Kanye West within a half hour, so the three of them are basically best friends. If you want to hear his #scorching #hot #takes, you can follow him at @ARobinsonPSU or email him at [email protected]



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Staff Picks: Grabbing A Drink With A Prominent Penn Stater

If you had the chance to hear about Penn State from (or throw down at a State College bar for a night with) some of its most prominent figures, who would you want to grab a beer with?

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