Your Favorite Penn State Football Moments, Elite 8

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 final decade of the Joe Paterno era.

Onward State has set up a bracket of the top 16 moments of the past ten years. You’ve voted, and now we have an Elite Eight.

Vote for your favorites this week, and check back next week for your results and the Final Four matchups!

Week Two Results

Smelling the Roses 17%

–400 83%


Goal Line Stand 35%

–Blue-Out 65%


–The Fumble 81%

Robinson’s Hit 19%


–Record Attendance 66%

The Safety 34%

Old Main Region Final

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.


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 Division 1A-record 409th win. This would be Paterno’s last game as head coach.

James A. Beaver Region Final

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.


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.”

Tom Bradley Region Final

400 (Northwestern, 2010)

Trailing 21-0 late in the second quarter, the Lions scored 35 unanswered points, highlighted by four Matt McGloin touchdown passes, to give Coach Joe Paterno his 400th win. This also matched the largest comeback under Paterno.


Blue-Out (Nebraska, 2011)

Penn State lost this game to #19 Nebraska. This game will be remembered, however, by the students wearing blue in honor of the victims of child abuse, the sky-high emotions of the game and Senior Day festivities, and the sportsmanship displayed by both programs in a truly trying time for Penn State.

John Cappelletti Region Final

The Fumble (Ohio State, 2005)

In front of the first ever White Out crowd, Penn State beat the #6 Buckeyes 17-10. A Tamba Hali strip sack of Troy Smith with less than two minutes left in the game closed the deal, and put Penn State Football back on the map.


Beaver Stadium Attendance Record (Nebraska, 2002)

A record 110,753 fans watched Penn State beat #7 Nebraska 40-7. It was Penn State’s first win over a Top-Ten team since 1999.

Check back next week to see your winners and the Final Four matchups!

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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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