#7 1994 Penn State-Oregon Rose Bowl
As the young lad (me) started to grow up, I began to realize how special the success Penn State earned was. After 1986, it would be eight more seasons until Penn State was relevant on the national scene.
And boy, were they relevant.
In this day and age of high-powered college offenses, the 1994 team would probably be considered only “good”, by statistical standards. This is one reason why you cannot just use statistics to tell a story.
Under the conservative Joe Paterno, the 1994 offense averaged 47 points a game. What makes that number doubly impressive is JoePa’s penchant for pulling the starters in blowouts and the fact that Penn State was in its second year of the Big Ten. So, while they did hang some big numbers on Temple (48-21) and Rutgers (55-27), they also posted a 50 spot, OR BETTER, on four different Big Ten teams.
The demolition of Ohio State, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough credit. Beating anybody 63-14 is pretty impressive. But the level of talent that was on that team is impressive. First, there was the future Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George. Then you have future Pro Bowlers Joey Galloway, and Terry Glenn along with a #1 overall draft pick Orlando Pace. Penn State’s defense was considered the liability of that team because they averaged giving up 21 PPG. But when you look at what they did against that star-studded offensive lineup, it showed they could play with whoever they wanted.
Sadly, this rout was not enough to impress the pollsters, as Penn State dropped in the rankings from #1 to #2 after #3 Nebraska beat #2 Colorado. They would not rise above the number two ranking for the rest of the season.
Finishing off the regular season undefeated again, the #2 Nittany Lions made their first visit to Pasadena in the Big Ten to take on the #12 Oregon Ducks in the 1995 Rose Bowl.
It wouldn’t take long for the Nittany Lions to give play #7, as Ki-Jana Carter scored on the first offensive play from scrimmage for Penn State. Penn State went on to win the game 38-20 to secure their only undefeated season in Big Ten play.
Spoiler alert: You’ll see a play just like this a few more times in this list.