PSU season shapshot: 1978

A daily series featuring each Penn State football season from 1947-2019:

Year: 1978

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 11-1

Final ranking: AP No. 4, UPI No. 4

Regular-season wins: Temple, Rutgers, Ohio State, SMU, TCU, Kentucky, Syracuse, West Virginia, Maryland, N.C. State, Pitt

Bowl game: Lost to Alabama, 14-7, in the Sugar Bowl

Team stat leaders: Matt Suhey rushed for 720 yards; Chuck Fusina passed for 1,859 yards and 11 TDs; Scott Fitzkee caught 37 passes for 630 yards; Matt Bahr made 22 of 27 field goal attempts; Lance Mehl had 96 tackles; Larry Kubin had 12 sacks; Pete Harris had 10 interceptions

All-Americans: OT Keith Dorney, K Matt Bahr, DT Bruce Clark, QB Chuck Fusina, S Pete Harris, DT Matt Millen

Neil Rudel’s take: Another stadium addition: This time 16,000 seats that wiped out the track. While 1977 whet a lot of appetites with offense, this team ran the table in the regular season with 11 straight wins by relying on defense. The omen came in the opener when the Nits escaped Temple, 10-7, on a Matt Bahr field goal and never found its groove on offense, even with Chuck Fusina finishing second in the Heisman race behind Billy Sims. The season-shaper was a 19-0 blanking of Ohio State, in Columbus, as Bruce Clark and Matt Millen rattled freshman QB Art Schlichter. The Lions ascended to No. 1 for the first time and met No. 2 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. PSU didn’t have enough offense, losing 14-7, as the Tide, coached by Bear Bryant, turned away goal-line dives from Suhey and Guman. Still stands as most difficult loss in PSU history.


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