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Know Your Enemy: The Penn State Nittany Lions

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Oct 22, 2016.

By LordJeffBuck on Oct 22, 2016 at 10:43 AM
  1. LordJeffBuck

    LordJeffBuck Illuminatus Emeritus Staff Member Tech Admin Bookie


    1. Pennsylvania State University is a football factory located in State College, Pennsylvania.

    2. The Penn State mascot is the Nittany Lion. According to Penn State's official website:

    The Nittany Lion Mascot is an essential part of Penn State's tradition and pride, which originated in 1904 during a baseball game against Princeton. Upon hearing their rivals' mascot [the Tiger], Harrison D. Mason announced that the Nittany Lion was "the fiercest beast of them all." Not only did Penn State win the game that day, but an image was created that would become both a symbol and legacy at the University for years to follow.​

    The Nittany Lion refers to the mountain lions that used to live on Mount Nittany, which is located near the Penn State campus. Nittany is allegedly an Indian word (or phrase) that means "mountain lion". So the Nittany Lions are in reality the Mountain Lion Lions. Pretty creative, that.

    3. Penn State's team colors are blue and white, although they were originally pink and black (not a joke). The original colors were chosen in 1887 by a three-man student committee. One of the committee members, George R. Meek, explained the unusual choice as follows:

    We wanted something bright and attractive but we could not use red or orange as those colors were already used by other colleges so we chose a very deep pink – really cerise – which with black made a very pretty combination.​

    Not surprisingly, Penn State's teams were mocked for the use of pink (it was apparently considered an un-manly color back then) and three years later the school adopted the boring dark blue and white color combination that still exists today.

    4. Penn State played its first football game on November 12, 1881 (a 9-0 win over Bucknell, who remained a favorite whipping boy of those mighty Nittany Lions all the way until 1948). The team disbanded for five years before reforming in 1887 to play two games against (you guessed it) Bucknell. The Nittany Lions also opened their 1888 season against Bucknell before branching out to other Pennsylvania schools (Lehigh, Lafayette, Dickinson, Swarthmore).

    5. On November 11, 1889, Lehigh defeated Penn State by the score of 106 to 0, which (not surprisingly) remains the worst loss in school history.

    6. The first time that Penn State played an opponent from out of state was 1893, when the team took on Cornell (from the State of New York). 1893 was also the first season that Penn State played against opponents who are currently in Power5 conferences, namely Virginia and Pittsburgh.

    7. Penn State and Pitt are natural rivals, and the two schools have played 97 times with Penn State owning a slight advantage, 50-43-4 (.536 winning percentage). That rivalry became strained when the formerly independent schools each joined a separate conference - Pitt to the Big East in 1991, and Penn State to the Big Ten in 1993 - and it took a 15-year hiatus after the 2000 contest. The rivalry resumed this season, with Pitt edging out a 42-39 victory in week two.

    8. Since joining the Big Ten, Penn State has had difficulty in forming a conference rivalry. Two of the schools in closest proximity to State College - Ohio State and Michigan - have a combined 29-14 record against Penn State in conference play, and that talent disparity has killed off any hopes of a true rivalry. On the other end of the spectrum, Penn State owns a combined 61-4-1 record against fellow East Coast schools Maryland and Rutgers, the two newest members of the Big Ten.

    9. Penn State's overall record in football is 860-384-42, for a .685 winning percentage, which is ninth best in FBS behind Michigan (.731), Notre Dame (.730), Ohio State (.726), Alabama (.724), Oklahoma (.720), Texas (.709), Southern Cal (.704), and Nebraska (.700). Penn State would have to win its next 62 games in a row to reach the .700 club, and its next 193 in a row to match Ohio State's .72612 winning percentage. Good luck with that.

    10. Penn State has four recognized national championships, two retroactive titles from the pre-poll era (1911 and 1912) and two consensus titles (AP and CP) in 1982 and 1986. In addition, Penn State has been undefeated (at least eight games in its season) seven other times (1920, 1921, 1947, 1968, 1969, 1973, and 1994).

    11. The Penn State fan base is known for being the most delusional in all of sports, and they incessantly whine when others fail to see their psychotic visions and accept their fantasies as gospel truths. The idolatry of Joe Paterno and his Great Lie of "Success with Honor" is the prime example: while they see a paragon of virtue and noble character, everybody else sees a Machiavellian schemer who would stoop to any depths in order to win football games and create a false legacy.

    National championships is another topic constantly on the minds of the Nittany Whiners. Specifically, the fact that Penn State was "screwed" out of national championships several times despite having a perfect record. The first alleged screw job occurred in 1968, when Penn State (11-0-0) finished #2 in the AP poll behind national champion Ohio State (10-0-0). As was typically the case prior to joining the Big Ten, in 1968 Penn State played a litany of mediocre East Coast independent schools (Army, Navy, Pitt, West Virginia, Boston College, Syracuse, Miami) plus a trio of foes from major conferences (Kansas State from the Big Eight; Maryland from the ACC; UCLA from the Pacific Eight). Penn State beat Big Eight co-champ Kansas in the Orange Bowl by the score of 15 to 14 on a last second touchdown and two-point conversion (aided by a penalty against the Jayhawks). For the season, the Nittany Lions' opponents had a combined record of 52-58-0 (.473 winning percentage) but just one of those opponents finished the year ranked in the final AP poll: Kansas (#7).

    Ohio State, on the other hand, played its typical seven-game Big Ten slate (Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan) and a pair of non-coference foes (Oregon from the Pacific Eight and SMU from the SWC). Ohio State beat defending national champ Southern Cal (with Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson) in the Rose Bowl (USC's home turf) by the score of 27 to 16. For the season, the Buckeyes' opponents had a combined record of 49-52-1 (.485 winning percentage) and four of those opponents ended the year ranked in the final AP poll: Southern Cal (#4); Purdue (#10); Michigan (#12); SMU (#14).

    So in 1968, Ohio State played better overall competition (.485 winning percentage vs .473 winning percentage); played more ranked opponents (four vs one); and had a larger margin of victory (eleven points vs one point) against a better opponent (#4 Southern Cal vs #7 Kansas) in its bowl game. Is it really any surprise that the AP voters "screwed" Penn State in favor of the clearly superior team?

    12. Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993. The Nittany Lions' record in Big Ten play is 114-73, for a .610 winning percentage. Penn State has only three conference titles in its twenty-three years as a member of the Big Ten - 1994, 2005, and 2008.

    13. Penn State has had only one Heisman Trophy winner, running back John Cappelletti in 1973. As a senior that season, Cappelletti carried the ball 286 times for 1,522 yards (5.3 average) and 17 touchdowns.

    14. In 1973, John Cappelletti also won the Walter Camp Award as the nation's best football player. The only other Nittany Lion to win that award is running back Larry Johnson, Jr. in 2002, when he rushed 271 times for 2,087 yards (7.7 average) and 20 touchdowns. Johnson finished third in the 2002 Heisman Trophy voting behind Southern Cal quarterback Carson Palmer and Iowa quarterback Brad Banks.

    15. The Maxwell Award also recognizes the nation's best college football player. Penn State players have won the Maxwell Award a record seven times. Below is a list of Nittany Lions who have won the award, with each player's Heisman placement in parentheses:

    1959: QB Richie Lucas (#2)
    1964: OL Glenn Ressler (NR)
    1969: DL Mike Reid (#5)
    1973: RB John Cappelletti (#1)
    1978: QB Chuck Fusina (#2)
    1994: QB Kerry Collins (#4)
    2002: RB Larry Johnson, Jr. (#3)​

    Why so much love for Penn State players by the Maxwell Award voters? Perhaps it is because the Maxwell Award is given out by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia. The Maxwell Award bias is also evident in the fact that it has been awarded to four local Philadelphia players (three Penn, one Temple), none of whom won the Heisman Trophy. The most egregious example is Temple quarterback Steve Joachim, who won the 1974 Maxwell Award despite not even placing in the top ten in that year's Heisman Trophy vote. In case you don't remember, Archie Griffin won the Heisman Trophy in 1974.

    16. Another honorific awarded by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia is the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation's best defensive player. Not surprisingly, Penn State players have won this award four times in twenty-one seasons, which is twice as many as any other team. The winners were all linebackers: LaVar Arrington in 1999; Paul Posluszny in 2005 and 2006; and Dan Connor in 2007. In an ironic twist of fate, the Maxwell voters passed on Penn State's Carl Nassib (Lombardi Award, Hendricks Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy, Big Ten DPOY) in 2015 in favor of an even more local player, Temple's Tyler Matakevich.

    17. Penn State has had several other major award winners including Mike Reid (Outland 1969); Bruce Clark (Lombardi 1978); Todd Blackledge (Davey O'Brien 1982); Kerry Collins (Davey O'Brien 1994); Bobby Engram (Biletnikoff 1994); LaVar Arrington (Butkus 1999); Larry Johnson, Jr. (Doak Walker 2002); Paul Posluszny (Butkus 2005); A.Q. Shipley (Rimington 2008); John Urschel (Sullivan, Draddy 2013); and Carl Nassib (Lombardi, Hendricks, Lott 2015).

    18. Penn State has 40 consensus All Americans, 13 of whom were unanimous All Americans. Three Nittany Lions have been named consensus All Americans twice: LB Dennis Onkotz (1968, 1969); DL Bruce Clark (1978, 1979); and LB Paul Posluszny (2005, 2006). Penn State has not had an All American on offense since 2002 (RB Larry Johnson, Jr.), and has had only one other in the last twenty years (RB Curtis Enis in 1997).

    19. Head coach Joe Paterno won more football games, and covered up for more child rapists, than any coach in the history of major college football. His first record will someday be broken and Paterno will be relegated to a footnote in the annals of college football. Hopefully, his second record will remain forever, and we will never see another coach more concerned with protecting his own legacy than with protecting innocent children from one of his assistant coaches.

    20. Ohio State holds a 18-13 overall record (.581 winning percentage) against Penn State. The Nittany Lions won the first four contests in the series (1912, 1956, 1963, and 1964), and six of the first eight (won in 1978 and 1980; lost in 1975 and 1976).

    21. In the thirty-one contests between the two teams, Ohio State has outscored Penn State 681 to 548, for an average score of 22.0 ppg to 17.7 ppg.

    22. Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, Ohio State holds a 16-7 lead in the series, for a .696 winning percentage. The teams have played every season since 1993, and being in the same division they will play every year going forward unless the Big Ten has further expansion or realignment.

    In the twenty-three Big Ten contests between the two teams, Ohio State has outscored Penn State 620 to 401, for an average score of 27.0 ppg to 17.4 ppg.

    23. Ohio State has won the last four contests against Penn State, the longest Buckeye winning streak in the series.

    24. Penn State has shut out Ohio State three times: 1912 (37-0); 1964 (27-0); and 1978 (19-0). Ohio State has never shut out Penn State.

    25. The first game between Ohio State and Penn State took place in 1912, which the Nittany Lions won 37-0. The Buckeyes left the field with approximately five minutes remaining in the game, claiming that the Lions were playing dirty football. The teams would not play again for 44 years.

    26. Ohio State's first win in the series came in 1975 by the score of 17-9. Tailback Archie Griffin had 24 rushes for 128 yards, and fullback Pete Johnson had 23 rushes for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

    27. Ohio State also won the 1976 game, 12-7. The Buckeyes rushed the ball 69 times for 280 yards (4.06 ypc) and two touchdowns, but threw just three passes, completing one of them for ten yards. That game was the epitome of the Woody Hayes "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense.

    28. In 1978, Ohio State and Penn State opened the season against each other. Buckeye true freshman quarterback Art Schlichter, in his college football debut, threw a team-record five interceptions. Penn State won the game, 19-0, despite having just 287 yards of total offense.

    29. Ohio State and Penn State met once in a bowl game, the 1980 Fiesta Bowl. Penn State won that matchup, 31-19.

    30. Ohio State won the inaugural Big Ten contest between the two teams, 24-6. Buckeye tailback Raymont Harris had 32 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown, while the defense consistently harassed Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins, who completed just 13 of 39 passes for 122 yards and 4 interceptions.

    31. In 1994, Penn State beat Ohio State by the score of 63-14, the 5th worst loss in Buckeye history, and the worst since 1946. Penn State out-gained Ohio State, 572 yards to 214 yards.

    Ohio State returned the favor in 2013, pummeling Penn State by the exact same score of 63-14, the 3rd worst beat down in Penn State history, and the worst since 1899. Ohio State out-gained Penn State, 686 yards to 357 yards.

    32. The Buckeyes won the 1995 game, 28-25. Biletnikoff winner Terry Glenn had 9 receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and Heisman winner Eddie George scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:42 left in the game.

    33. In 1997, Ohio State snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The Buckeyes led the contest 27-17 with 1:48 left in the third quarter. However, Penn State scored 14 unanswered points and won the game by the score of 31 to 27.

    As the third quarter wound down, little used running back Aaron Harris raced 51 yards for a Penn State touchdown to cut the score to 27-24. For the game, Harris had 12 rushes for 96 yards and 2 TDs. For the rest of the season, Harris had 30 rushes for 165 yards and no touchdowns.

    In the fourth quarter alone, Penn State running back Curtis Enis had 9 rushes for 114 yards, including runs of 16, 24, 26, and 27 yards, and the game-winning score. For the game, Enis had 23 carries for 211 yards and a TD.

    Buckeye quarterback Joe Germaine had a great game statistically, completing 29 of 43 passes for 378 yards and 2 TDs. His 29 completions is the third best in school history, and his 378 yards is second best. However, in the fourth quarter Germaine threw a crucial interception in the red zone and ended the game with four straight incompletions that led to a turnover on downs.

    David Boston caught 14 passes from Germaine, a team record that still stands to this day.

    34. Ohio State won the 2000 game, 45-6, which represented the worst loss in Penn State head coach Joe Paterno's career. The Buckeyes were led by running back Derek Combs, who had 23 carries for 86 yards and a TD, and wide receiver Chad Cacchio, who had 3 catches for 88 yards. You're a real Buckeye fan if you remember those two guys.

    35. The 2001 OSU-PSU game was somewhat reminiscent of the 1998 OSU-MSU game, albeit with much less on the line for Ohio State.

    In the infamous 1998 OSU-MSU game, Ohio State's Damon Moore made a 73-yard pick six with 9:51 left in the third quarter to put the Buckeyes ahead, 24-9. Michigan State would then score 19 unanswered points to win the game, 28-24.

    In the 2001 OSU-PSU game, Ohio State's Derek Ross made a 45-yard pick six with 12:16 left in the third quarter to put the Buckeyes ahead, 27-9. Penn State would then score 20 unanswered points to win the game, 29-27.

    Penn State's victory in the 2001 game marked the 324th career win for Nittany Lion head coach Joe Paterno. The victory moved Paterno past Bear Bryant and set a record for most wins by a major college football coach. Paterno would continue to add to his total, eventually accumulating 409 wins before being fired amidst the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal.

    36. Of course, Ohio State won the 2002 contest as part of their perfect season. The Buckeye defense held the Penn State offense to 7 points, 8 first downs, 179 total yards, and 3 of 13 on third down conversions; they also forced 3 interceptions and 7 punts. However, the Buckeye offense wasn't much better, managing only 6 points and 253 total yards, while also committing 3 turnovers. The difference in the game was cornerback Chris Gamble, who scored the Buckeyes' only touchdown on a 40-yard pick six. The final score: Ohio State 13, Penn State 7.

    37. The 2004 game was a Tresselball special. Ohio State had only 13 first downs and 202 yards of total offense, but won the game thanks to solid defense, a 67-yard punt return TD by Ted Ginn, and a 24-yard pick six by Tyler Everett. The final score: Ohio State 21, Penn State 10.

    38. The 2005 game begat the Legend of The Rail. Enough said.

    39. The 2006 game included Troy Smith's "Heisman Moment", a scrambling 37-yard TD pass to Brian Robiskie, and a pair of fourth quarter pick sixes by the defense (Malcolm Jenkins, Antonio Smith). Ohio State 28, Penn State 6.

    40. Buckeye quarterback Todd Boeckman had the game of his career against Penn State in 2007. Boeckman completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards, 3 touchdowns, an interception, and a sack as Ohio State improved to 9-0 on the season with a 37-17 victory. With his performance, Boeckman entered the Heisman race as a dark horse candidate. But Boeckman's Heisman candidacy and the Buckeyes' perfect season were both short lived. Two weeks later Boeckman was 13 of 23 for 156 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions, and two sacks as the #1 Buckeyes were upset at home by Illinois, 28-21.

    41. In the 2008 game, freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor committed one of the more memorable gaffes in recent Buckeye history. Ohio State held a 6-3 lead with just under eleven minutes left in the game, and the Buckeyes had the ball at midfield facing 3rd-and-1. Pryor kept the ball on a quarterback sneak, but instead of simply ploughing forward for the first down he tried to bounce outside for a big gain. Bad move, as Penn State defender Mark Rubin forced a fumble that was recovered by the Nittany Lions at the Buckeye 38-yard line. Taking advantage of the short field, Penn State scored the game's only touchdown. After an Ohio State punt on the following possession, Penn State kicked a short field goal to expand their lead to 13-6. Pryor and the Buckeyes got the ball back with 1:07 left to play but their desperation drive ended with an interception in the end zone.

    42. In the 2009 contest, #12 Ohio State upset #10 Penn State in Happy Valley. With the victory the Buckeyes controlled their own destiny in the Big Ten, and they went on to win the outright conference title that year. Ohio State would defeat Oregon in the Rose Bowl to finish 11-2 and #5 in the final AP poll, while Penn State would defeat Louisiana State in the Citrus Bowl to finish 11-2 and #9 in the AP poll.

    43. The 2010 game saw Ohio State once again get a pair of pick sixes (Devon Torrence, Travis Howard), and running back Daniel Herron rushed for a career-best 190 yards en route to a 38-14 victory over Penn State.

    44. The 2011 game was a battle of interim coaches filling in for legendary coaches who had left their respective teams in disgrace. Ohio State's Luke Fickell, subbing for Jim Tressel, lost to Penn State's Tom Bradley, subbing for Joe Paterno. Penn State won the game, 20-14. The win was the only one in Bradley's short (four game) head coaching career; at the end of the season he was replaced by Bill O'Brien and left Penn State after 33 years on the coaching staff. Fickell's head coaching career also ended after the 2011 season, as he was replaced by current head coach Urban Meyer; Fickell remains on the Ohio State staff as a defensive co-coordinator.

    45. Ohio State was victorious in the 2012 game, 35-23. The Buckeyes were led by linebacker Ryan Shazier, who had 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and a pick six; and tight end Jake Stoneburner, who had a 72-yard TD reception.

    46. As mentioned above, Ohio State won the 2013 game by the score of 63 to 14. The Buckeyes ran the ball 51 times for 408 yards (8.0 average) and 6 touchdowns. The passing game was clicking as well, as Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton combined to go 20 of 26 (76.9%) for 278 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions, and just one sack. In a losing effort, Penn State's Allen Robinson had 12 catches for 173 yards (14.4 average) and a touchdown.

    47. Ohio State won the 2014 contest in double overtime, 31-24. An injured J.T. Barrett struggled throughout regulation, rushing 16 times for 43 yards (2.7 average) and zero touchdowns; and completing 12 of 19 passes for just 74 yards, a touchdown, three sacks, and a pair of interceptions (including a 40-yard pick six by defensive lineman Anthony Zettel). Barrett came alive in overtime, rushing 4 times for 32 yards and both Buckeye touchdowns. Defensive end Joey Bosa sealed the victory with a walk-off sack and shrug.

    48. Ohio State won last year's game by the score of 38 to 10. Ezekiel Elliot (153 yards rushing, TD) and J.T. Barrett (102 yards rushing, 2 TD) led the way for the Buckeyes, while Nittany Lion Saquon Barkley had 194 yards rushing in defeat.

    49. Ohio State fans have dubbed Penn State "Pick Six U" because of all the pick sixes thrown by Nittany Lion quarterbacks against Ohio State. Here's a complete list:

    2001: Derek Ross, 45-yard pick six of Zack Mills
    2002: Chris Gamble, 40-yard pick six of Zack Mills
    2004: Tyler Everett, 24-yard pick six of Michael Robinson
    2006: Malcolm Jenkins, 61-yard pick six of Anthony Morelli
    2006: Antonio Smith, 55-yard pick six of Anthony Morelli
    2007: Malcolm Jenkins, 24-yard pick six of Anthony Morelli
    2010: Devon Torrence, 34-yard pick six of Matt "Moxie" McGloin
    2010: Travis Howard, 30-yard pick six of Matt "Moxie" McGloin
    2012: Ryan Shazier, 17-yard pick six of Matt "Moxie" McGloin​

    Ohio State has a record of 6-1 in the Pick Six games, the only loss being the 2001 contest.

    50. Prior to the 2001 season, Ohio State did not have any pick sixes against Penn State. However, the Buckeyes did have four other defensive touchdowns in three consecutive games:

    1998: Jerry Rudzinski, 0-yard fumble return
    1998: Joe Cooper, 0-yard blocked punt
    1999: Gary Berry, 0-yard fumble return
    2000: Mike Collins, 11-yard fumble return
    51. The current Penn State squad is led by running back Saquon Barkley (117 rushes, 582 yards, 5.0 average, 8 TDs) and quarterback Trace McSorley (1436 yards passing, 186 yards rushing, 11 total TD) on offense; while the defense has racked up 52 TFLs, 16 sacks, and 6 interceptions.
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Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Oct 22, 2016.

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