PSU season snapshot: 1971

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

Year: 1971

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 11-1

Final ranking: AP No. 5, UPI No. 11

Regular-season wins: Navy, Iowa, Air Force, Army, Syracuse, TCU, West Virginia, Maryland, N.C. State, Pitt

Regular-season losses: Tennessee

Bowl game: Beat Texas, 30-6, in the Cotton Bowl

Team stat leaders: Lydell Mitchell rushed for 1,567 yards and 26 TDs; John Hufnagel passed for 1,185 yards and 10 TDs; Bob Parsons caught 30 passes for 489 yards; Gary Gray had 115 tackles and intercepted 5 passes

All-Americans: OT Dave Joyner, RB Lydell Mitchell, LB Charlie Zapiec

Neil Rudel’s take: Other than a 16-14 scare by Air Force, this team was not challenged in rolling to a 10-0 record and rising as high as No. 5 in the polls and rolled up another 15-game win streak. That was before an unusual season-ending matchup — Dec. 4 at Tennessee, which breezed to a 31-11 win. Punch up the game on YouTube and you’ll see a complete collapse in all facets — especially special teams as Johnny Majors’ brother, Bobby, torched the Nits. PSU did regroup to shock Texas, 30-6, in the Cotton Bowl after trailing 6-3 at halftime. Prior to the game, Paterno, in an unusual overstatement, said the game was one the Lions “had to win” after their game with Tennessee.


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