Let me by saying that these plays are in chronological order, not by order of importance. I confess that I don’t like to rank things from worst to best because I think each one of these plays were important in its own right. I’ll also point out that they are all POSITIVE plays for Penn State football. I could easily write an article about the 10 plays that hurt the most but I know I wouldn’t want to relive their failures.
2001 Miami-Penn State: A Walk to forever remember
This is the only non-football memory on the list, but it’s arguably one of the most iconic Penn State football moments ever.
The 2000 season began the worst five-year period of Penn State football since the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Nittany Lions would have losing records in four out of the next five seasons. But football took a back seat on September 23, 2000, in the waning moments of a lopsided loss at Ohio State.
Highly-touted true freshman Adam Taliaferro, playing in only his fifth collegiate game, made a tackle on Ohio State running back Jerry Westbrooks and sustained a career-ending spinal cord injury.
He was operated on in Columbus to fuse his C-5 vertebra. Even though the surgery was considered a success, Taliaferro was only given a 3% chance to ever walk again.
Using the drive and determination that had made him such a sought-after recruit, Adam began to tirelessly rehab at the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia.
Disclosure: This is the 7:49 Big Ten Network piece on Adam’s injury and recovery. It’s a little bit longer than the normal “play”, to be sure, but when I was watching this in order to clip down the entrance, I simply couldn’t trim it down. I watched it three times in the last five days and teared up every time.