This is part of a five-part series by Victory Bell Rings on the ten greatest performances by Penn State players in Super Bowl history. You can catch up by following the links below.
6. Matt Suhey – Fullback, 1986, Chicago Bears: In Super Bowl XX, the Chicago Bears faced off against the New England Patriots at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA. Chicago entered the game as 10 point favorites and rolled the cinderella Patriots 46-10. Chicago held New England to -19 yards in the first half, and only 123 for the game, and defensive end Richard Dent was named MVP.
Matt Suhey, drafted in the 2nd round (46th overall) in the 1980 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, is a true Penn Stater. Matt Suhey’s father Steve Suhey lettered at Penn State, as did Matt and two of his brothers. Matt’s son, Joe Suhey also played for the Nittany Lions. During the 1985 season, Matt only had one rushing touchdown in 16 games. He matched that effort in the Super Bowl, carrying the ball 11 times for 52 yards and a touchdown; he also added a 24 yard reception. Suhey’s main role on the team during the season was blocking for future Hall of Famer Walter Payton, however, in the Super Bowl the Patriots defense keyed on Payton.
After an opening series which was ended by a Payton fumble, the Bears ran Suhey twice for 12 yards, compared to only one carry for Payton. The drive ended with a field goal to tie the game 3-3. Late in the first quarter a fumble by the Patriots Craig James gave the Bears the ball at the New England 13. Suhey ran the ball two consecutive plays, the second attempt being an 11 yard carry for a touchdown to put Chicago up 13-3.
New England responded by going three and out and on Chicago’s first possession of the 2nd quarter, it was more Suhey. Quarterback Jim McMahon found Suhey for 24 yards down the left sideline, and handed the ball off to him three consecutive plays for 7 yards, 1 yard, and 3 yards to set up a first and goal on the 4. On the second play, McMahon took the ball himself the rout was on, 20-3 with 7:24 left in the half. Suhey had a potentially game-changing fumble on the next possession, but the revolutionary Chicago 46 defense bailed him out. To help close out the game in the second half, Suhey had three carries for 15 yards.
5. Franco Harris – Running Back, 1979, Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl XIII was the first rematch in the game’s history as the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Dallas Cowboys at the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL. Pittsburgh won 35-31 behind MVP Terry Bradshaw, who threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Interesting notes: 1) Both Dallas and Pittsburgh were trying to become the first team ever to win three Super Bowls. 2) Future Hall of Famers involved in the game included 14 players, both head coaches, and four front-office personnel. 3) Dallas is the only team, to date, that scored 30 points and lost in Super Bowl history.
Franco Harris, drafted in the 1st round (13th overall) in the 1972 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl Champion. In this game, Harris carried the ball 20 times for 68 yards and a touchdown and caught a 22 yard pass. Dallas and Pittsburgh had the top ranked defenses in the league, and behind “Too Tall” Jones did a good job bottling up Harris most of the day. On their first possession, they ran Harris twice but gained only one yard. They opened the second possession with Harris again, this time for five yards, and then two plays later Bradshaw found him for the 22 yard reception but the drive ended after a Bradshaw interception.
On the Steelers’ third possession, Harris started the drive with two carries for 15 yards, but Bradshaw fumbled the next play which led to a Dallas touchdown to tie the game 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. To start the second quarter, after a 10 yard pass, Pittsburgh ran Harris for 7, 1, and then 3 yards for a first down. Bradshaw threw two incompletions and collided with Harris causing him to fumble. It was picked up by “Hollywood” Henderson of Dallas and returned for a touchdown. When Pittsburgh got the ball back, it pounded Harris twice to the left side of the line before Bradshaw was able to find John Stallworth for a 75 yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14 with 10:25 left in the half.
Franco Harris carried the ball six times for -3 yards from that point leading up to the 4th quarter, twice being tackled for a loss by “Too Tall” Jones. On Pittsburgh’s first possession of the final quarter, Harris carried three times but only for nine yards. Then, with 7:10 left in the game, he broke loose for a 22 yard touchdown to give the Steelers as 28-17 lead. Dallas fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Pittsburgh added another touchdown to ice the game.
Check back tomorrow for numbers 3 and 4!
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