PSU season snapshot: 1972

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

Year: 1972

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 10-2

Final ranking: AP No. 10, UPI No. 8

Regular-season wins: Navy, Iowa, Illinois, Army, Syracuse, West Virginia, Maryland, N.C. State, Boston College, Pitt

Regular-season losses: Tennessee

Bowl game: Lost to Oklahoma, 14-0, in the Sugar Bowl

Team stat leaders: John Cappelletti rushed for 1,117 yards and 12 TDs; John Hufnagel passed for 2,039 yards and 15 TDs; Dan Natale caught 30 passes for 460 yards; Ed O’Neil had 126 tackles; Buddy Ellis had 3 interceptions

All-Americans: DE Bruce Bannon, QB John Hufnagel, LB John Skorupan

Neil Rudel’s take: Lions bookended opening and closing losses to Tennessee (a second straight trip there, this one at night) and Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, with John Cappelletti too sick to play, around 10 wins and a 10-2 record against non-ranked teams except No. 18 West Virginia. For first time in history, four captains were elected. Previously, it had only been two. A Beaver Stadium addition of 9,000 raised capacity to 57,538. Freshmen eligibility was restored by the NCAA, but JoePa waited until 1973 to use them. Pitt decided it was breaking away from a Big 4 agreement (PSU, Pitt, WVU, Syracuse) prohibiting redshirting and a limit of 25 scholarships per year.


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