Penn State would have to wait 72 years before their next appearance, but they made the wait worth it, as they solidly defeated Oregon 38-20 on January 1st, 1995. This win capped Penn State’s last undefeated season at 12-0. Having the most prolific offense in the country that year with 49 point per game wasn’t enough for the pollsters, as PSU finished second to Nebraska before they joined the Big 10.
Penn State’s offense, the best in school history, featured Heisman runner-up Ki-Jana Carter, the Heisman’s 4th vote getter in quarterback Kerry Collins, the Biletnikoff winner at receiver Bobby Engram and the capable Freddie Scott, and future top 10 draft pick at tight Kyle Brady. While Penn State’s defense was wrongly perceived as the team’s weak spot, they did average giving up 21 points per game.
The game was never really in doubt, as Penn State’s first play from scrimmage was an electrifying 83-yard touchdown run. Listening to legendary Keith Jackson call out “He’s gone-goodbye” still gives me chills.
PSU displayed a well-rounded offense, as they rushed for 228 yards and passed for another 202. Carter had 2 more touchdown runs in a game that wasn’t as close at the 18-point margin indicated. However, the Oregon offense set a then-record of 456 passing yards from QB Danny O’Neil, further fueling the defensive liability argument.
In one of of the great injustices in college football history (sadly, PSU has suffered a few of them), the final polls placed the Nebraska Cornhuskers ahead of Penn State. Undefeated, untied, unrewarded indeed.