Penn State Football: Ranking the top 20 wins in program history

Grant Haley #15 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Grant Haley #15 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Dan Marino
Quarterback Dan Marino #13 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers stands behind center Jim Sweeney #53 during a college football game against the Penn State University Nittany Lions (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

7. 1981 (11) Penn State football 48, (1) Pitt 14

In arguably the biggest upset in the history of the Penn State football program, the Nittany Lions went into Pittsburgh and beat the best team in the country.

Led by star junior quarterback Dan Marino, the Pittsburgh Panthers were the No. 1 ranked team in the land, and as the game got started, they certainly looked like it.

Up 14-0 and driving, Marino would throw a pass that was intercepted by Roger Jackson in the end zone, turning the game on its side. From there, the Nittany Lions would dominate Pitt, who looked to go up 21-0 on that drive, and would not sniff the end zone the rest of the way.

Penn State scored 48 unanswered points in front of a hostile environment, sending Pitt to what would be their only loss that season. The Nittany Lions would end up beating USC in the Fiesta Bowl, finishing the year as the No. 3 team in the country, and setting up what would be a national title team the following season.

For Marino, his history of never winning the big one is well documented, and on this day, the Penn State defense certainly had his number.