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Ugliest Penn State Football Wins Of The Last Five Years

Last weekend, Penn State narrowly defeated Army 20-14. If you look up “miserable” in the dictionary, you’ll most likely find the dreary scene at Beaver Stadium that afternoon. But this is nothing new for Penn State fans.

While the last five seasons haven’t been disappointments by any stretch of the imagination, they’ve brought the Nittany Lions a number of “ugly” wins. You know, those games where you question if what you’re even watching is considered football, but in the end you’re somewhat satisfied because of the “W” in the win-loss column.

So — if you’re ready — we ranked the ugliest Penn State wins dating back to 2011. Without further adieu, take a look at the top five examples of some of the most unsightly victories you’ve had the misfortune of watching.

5. No. 21 Penn State 10, Illinois 7 (2011)

General rule of thumb: When a game ends 10-7, it was a terrible game to watch, and let me tell you, this one was no different. On a snowy October day, Penn State and Illinois set offense back (you’re going to recognize a theme) 20, maybe even 30 years. Both teams were scoreless at halftime, and Penn State didn’t even score a touchdown until there was only 1:08 left to play in the fourth quarter. The teams combined for a total of 495 yards (for reference, Penn State had 471 yards by itself against Rutgers this season), and they committed seven turnovers. While this game did have an awesome ending, the first 58 minutes earned its spot on this list.

4. Penn State 13, Rutgers 10 (2014)

Another general rule of thumb: Any game that finishes 13-10 isn’t all that much better. While this game — like the game above — does get an added bonus because of an exciting finish, the finish couldn’t overcome Penn State’s offensive display. Despite Rutgers’ quarterback Gary Nova throwing five interceptions and essentially giving Penn State the game, the Nittany Lions still needed a late fourth quarter touchdown to complete a 13-10 comeback. While Hackenberg did throw for more than 300 yards, the running game was minuscule, gaining only 64 yards on 33 carries. Little did we know, this game would foreshadow the rest of the John Donovan era.

3. Penn State 20, Army 14 (2015)

I knew this season didn’t quite feel right without one of Penn State’s patented ugly victories. Although Penn State’s offense was able to score more than the two previous games listed, when you consider the opponent, it makes things worse for the Nittany Lions. Army is certainly full of some tough football players, but it gave up 37 points to Fordham…Fordham. I’ll say it again: Fordham. When Penn State needs to rely on its defense to lock up a victory against Army, you can bet that game will qualify as ugly.

2. Penn State 14, Temple 1o (2011)

The 2011 Penn State football team lived and breathed ugly football, and the 2011 Temple game was its golden star of unpleasantness. Really, if there’s one game that describes the 2011 squad, it would be this one. Both Matt McGloin and Robert Bolden saw equal playing time which is obviously a great idea, running back Brandon Beachum was still receiving multiple carries, and wide receiver Evan Lewis attempted — and missed — two field goals. Other than the fact that Penn State was down 10-7 in the late fourth quarter to Temple, what really solidified this as ugly was the 12-play, 44-yard game-winning drive. Nothing exemplifies bad football like needing 12-freaking-plays to go 44 yards to beat Temple.

1. Penn State 13, Indiana 7 (2014)

This game had everything you look for in an ugly win. Penn State’s lone touchdown was a bit flukey, coming off of a 92-yard run by Bill Belton. The teams combined to go 7-of-37 on third down conversions, which is very bad. But everything pales in comparison to the punting. Oh, so much punting. Penn State and Indiana punted 20 times. Just as a reference, Georgia Tech punted 32 times all of last season. If that doesn’t earn the spot as the ugliest win, then I’m not doing my job correctly.

Do you agree with Patrick’s list? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Patrick Koerbler

Patrick Koerbler is a senior Journalism major/History minor from the mean streets of Palmerton, PA. His career goals include becoming the Director of Public Relations for the New York Yankees, and co-hosting a Penn State football podcast with Matt McGloin. Patrick is also a ledge, his interests include sandwiches, and his best friend is Andrew Wiggins. For more fun, you can follow him on Twitter -- @GoodDudePat -- or contact him via email at [email protected] Go Sixers.

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