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Throwback Thursday: The Last Time Penn State Faced An Undefeated Minnesota Team

Minnesota will stride into Happy Valley with an unblemished 3-0 record this weekend. This confidence and momentum hasn’t been too evident in the Golden Gophers’ football program over the last few years, and it has us thinking: What was the world like the last time Minnesota faced off with Penn State as an undefeated team?

Strangely enough, the last meeting between the two teams happened exactly 11 years to the day of this Saturday’s game. With an offense led by Michael Robinson and Tony Hunt, the Nittany Lions rumbled for 364 rushing yards in a 44-14 romp over the No. 18 Golden Gophers. Minnesota’s star running back, future NFL player Laurence Maroney, entered the game as the nation’s leader in rushing and all-purpose yards, yet was held to just 46 yards on 16 carries.

The Nittany Lions proceeded to knock off No. 6 Ohio State the following week in one of the most memorable nights in the history of Beaver Stadium. Penn State finished the season as the nation’s third-ranked team with an 11-1 record. Joe Paterno was awarded eight different Coach of the Year titles, including the Associated Press, AFCA, and Sporting News awards.

With the current state of Penn State football following last week’s embarrassment at the hands of Michigan, this type of success seems like a lifetime ago, right? Now that you’re feeling all nostalgic, here’s a quick look back at what was happening in our lives during this week in 2005:

News: Hurricane Rita hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, re-flooding and devastating areas that were already in ruin following Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast in August. An estimated 125 people died, and there was well over $12 billion in damages.

Convicted bank thief and Boricua Popular Army leader Filbert Ojeda was killed in Puerto Rico by the FBI. John Roberts was sworn in as the new Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Penn State celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Music: Kanye West‘s Gold Digger (ironically relevant as “Yeezy” performs at the Bryce Jordan Center this Friday) enjoyed its second week atop the Billboard Hot 100 Chart after dethroning Mariah Carey’s We Belong Together. Other top five songs included Carey’s Shake It Off, Bow Wow and Ciara’s Like You, and the Black Eyed Peas’ My Humps.

Cinema: Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard, sat atop of the weekend box office, closely followed by Serenity, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, A History Of Violence, and Into The Blue, which starred the late Paul Walker.

TV Shows: September 2005 saw the debut of popular shows such as Prison Break, Bones, How I Met Your Mother, Criminal Minds, Supernatural, and Everybody Hates Chris. Among other fall season shows, ABC featured mega-hits such as Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, while CBS benefited off of the popularity of its CSI brand, NCIS, Survivor, and Big Brother. Fox’s feature shows included Arrested Development, House, COPS, The O.C., American Idol, That ’70s Show, The Simpsons, and Family Guy. NBC showcased current presidential nominee Donald Trump as the host of his own hit show The Apprentice, and was also successful with shows such as ER, Fear Factor, The Law & Order brand, Medium, The Office, and Scrubs. The core shows from The WB’s fall schedule were 7th Heaven, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls, Reba, and Smallville.

Some famous shows many current students probably grew up watching include: UPN’s Veronica Mars, MTV’s Total Request Live (TRL), Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and Real World, Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Zoey 101, Disney’s That’s So Raven, Phil of the Future, and The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody, and Cartoon Network’s Ed, Edd n Eddy, Codename: Kids Next Door, and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.

Consumer Culture:  The most popular children’s items of 2005 include the Playstation 2 and the Xbox 360, along with other toys such as Bratz, Barbie, Pokémon, and Beyblades.  Apple introduced the first generation iPod Shuffle and Nano, while Motorola’s RAZR and Nokia ruled the cell phone industry. Average gas prices around the country during September sat in between $2.80 and $3.00, and Ford’s F-Series trucks were the most purchased car model in 2005.

Any other Fall 2005 memories come to mind? Have more ideas for Onward Flashbacks? Share with us in the comments.

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About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism from Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to being an editor for Onward State, Mitch loves to watch sports, talk about sports on PSU CommRadio, and tries his hardest to avoid the agony that being a Mets fan brings. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him and his garbage opinions on Twitter @mitchystew.


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