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Penn State’s Top Plays Of The Season

It’s no secret this has been an exciting season for Penn State football, and it’s been chock full of exciting plays that helped the Lions win every game since losing to Michigan in late September and capture the Big Ten Championship.

Our staff put together some of the most important plays of Penn State’s season:

Ohio State Blocked Field Goal Return by Marcus Allen and Grant Haley

This play needs little explanation; not only did the blocked field goal lead to the winning touchdown that helped down Ohio State, it was named BTN’s top play of 2016. This play is regarded by some as the exact point Penn State turned the season around. Without a doubt it’s a play no Penn Stater will ever forget.

Jordan Smith’s Controversial Swat vs. Ohio State 

Jordan Smith made a great play on James Clark to break up a big pass late in the Ohio State game to help seal the victory for Penn State. While many Ohio State fans, like Lebron James thought Smith should be called on Pass Interference, Kirk Herbstreit defended the call.

Irvin Charles’ 80-Yard Touchdown Run vs. Minnesota

Trace McSorely has been known this season for making big plays downfield, as he was able to scramble and hit Irvin Charles with a great pass that would lead to him scrambling for an 80 yard touchdown. The play would spark Penn State’s second half resurgence that culminated in an overtime victory over Minnesota.

Saquon Barkley’s OT Touchdown To Beat Minnesota

Saquon Barkley did what he does best: finds a hole, and makes guys miss. The play would win the game for Penn State, sparking the Nittany Lions’ now nine game winning streak.

Mike Gesicki’s One Handed Grab vs. Temple

Mike Gesicki’s made some phenomenal catches this season, but this amazing one-handed grab takes the cake. The catch would set the Nittany Lions up in field goal territory and help Penn State take down Temple — avenging the 2015 loss at Lincoln Financial Field.

Saquon Barkley’s 57 yard Touchdown Run vs Iowa: 

Saquon Barkley again doing what he does best: turning on the jets, and making Iowa look like fools on this 57-yard home run. The touchdown run would also allow Barkley to pass Franco Harris on Penn State’s career rushing list.

Brandon Bell’s strip sack vs. Wisconsin

Brandon Bell made a LaVar Arrington-esque play last weekend in the Big Ten Championship Game as he hurdled Badgers running back Dare Ogunbowale to sack quarterback Bart Houston and strip the ball. Even though Wisconsin would recover the ball, the play would result in 13-yard loss for the Badgers.

The Big Ten Championship Winning Stop

Penn State’s Defense showed it’s stuff as it was able to make a critical 4th and 1 stand against Wisconsin to seal the Big Ten Championship. Grant Haley and Marcus Allen were able to stuff First Team All-Big Ten RB Corey Clement to put a potential Badger comeback in its tracks. Also, just listen to that glorious call by Gus Johnson.

Torrence Brown and Manny Bowen Force a James Connor Fumble Deep in Pitt Territory

Torrence Brown and Manny Bowen showed their perseverance in refusing to give up on the play and pulling at Connor’s arms to force the fumble deep in Pitt territory. While the resulting drive did not result in touchdown, the play was massive in helping swing momentum in the game.

Penn State Sack’s J.T. Barrett to Secure Win Over No. 2 Ohio State 

When talking top plays of the season, you can’t leave out the final defensive play of the Ohio State game. Evan Schwan and Kevin Givens were able to step up and swallow up J.T. Barrett, sacking him for a loss of six and sealing the signature win over the No. 2 Buckeyes.


While these are not the only top plays this season, they were some of the most important and impressive plays. Did we miss your favorite play in our Top 10? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Joe Pickard

Former Onward State staffer, now just a washed-up alum. Find him at the Gaff.

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Penn State Hoops Gets Iced Up For NIT Title

A banner raising ceremony will commemorate the achievement prior to the team’s season opener on November 9 against North Florida.

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