Throwing It Deep: A Look Back at Some of Penn State Football’s Best Catches
After Allen Robinson’s spectacular catch against Michigan on Saturday night, we started thinking about other great catches in Penn State history. There are plenty of options, but some really stick out as legendary moments for the Blue and White.
Starting in 1959 at the First Liberty Bowl. The game marked the first bowl for Penn State since the 1948 Cotton Bowl Classic. The game took place at the Philadelphia Municipal Stadium against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The only touchdown of the game came from a fake field goal, where quarterback Galen Hall took the snap and threw to receiver Roger Kochman for the touchdown.
Jump ahead to the 1983 Sugar Bowl, where the Nittany Lions won the National Championship by defeating Georgia, 27-23. The game gave us one of the most memorable moments in Penn State history, Todd Blackledge’s legendary 47-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gregg Garrity.
A few years later, in 1985, Penn State faced the Crimson Tide at home. Penn State stayed undefeated by beating Alabama, 19-17. In the fourth quarter, QB John Shaffer got injured and was replaced by Matt Knizner. Knizner came in and threw a touchdown pass to Brian Silverling on his first play. Penn State went on the National Championship that year, too.
In the 1989 Holiday Bowl, Tony Sacca threw a bomb to Dave Daniels, who made one of the more amazing catches in school history. Penn State went on to defeat BYU, 50-39.*Video starts at 14:01
The year is 1994. The Nittany Lions needed a win over Illinois to secure the Big Ten Title, their undefeated season, and a bid for the Rose Bowl. The only problem was the team was 96 yards away from the end zone with the best defense in America in front of them. Kerry Collins drove the Lions down the field, and the team scored the winning touchdown in the with less than a minute to go. Penn State went on to win the Rose Bowl that year. All of the catches on this drive were so memorable that we couldn’t choose just one.
The next amazing catch came in 1999 against Miami. There was 1:41 left in the game and the Nittany Lions were losing, but a huge throw from Kevin Thompson to Chafie Fields helped the Lions to secure a 27-23 victory.
In 2001, the Lions faced the Ohio State Buckeyes in Happy Valley. With a win, Joe Paterno would have won his 324th game, making him the winningest coach of all time. The Lions went on to win 29-27. It was a dramatic game full of impressive plays, including quarterback Zack Mills recovering a botched snap and completing a pass to R.J. Luke for a big game.
The 2005 squad leader Michael Robinson at the helm. The Lions had an impressive season and ended up winning the Orange Bowl. The team’s first big win of the year came against Northwestern, 34-29. It came down to the last drive, and Robinson’s throw to Derrick Williams was historic.
The Orange Bowl of that year was a classic one, with the Nittany Lions winning in triple overtine, 26-23. Robinson had a lot of help from his receivers, including Ethan Kilmer. His amazing acrobatic catch was definitely one for the ages and helped PSU to secure their first Bowl victory since 1999.