PSU season snapshot: 1981

Curt Warner

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

Year: 1981

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 10-2

Final ranking: AP No. 3, UPI No. 3

Regular-season wins: Cincinnati, Nebraska, Temple, Boston College, Syracuse, West Virginia, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Pitt

Regular-season losses: Miami (Fla.), Alabama

Bowl game: Beat USC, 26-10, in the Fiesta Bowl

Team stat leaders: Curt Warner rushed for 1,044 yards; Todd Blackledge passed for 1,557 yards and 12 TDs; Gregg Garrity caught 23 passes for 415 yards; Ralph Giacomarro averaged 43.55 yards per punt; Brian Franco made 15 of 21 field goal attempts; Chet Parlavecchio had 70 tackles; Walker Lee Ashley had 6 sacks; Roger Jackson intercepted 5 passes

All-Americans: OG Sean Farrell, RB Curt Warner

Neil Rudel’s take: The 1994 team will go down as the greatest offensive juggernaut in PSU history. This team, however, was darn close. In addition to skill players Blackledge, Warner, Kenny Jackson and underrated Jonathan Williams, the offensive line included All-Americans Sean Farrell, Mike Munchak and future pro center Jim Romano. Warner set the single-game rushing record with 256 on the Syracuse carpet. The defense, led by rugged safety Mark Robinson, was almost as good. Trouble was the team was overscheduled, losing at Miami in a downpour and against Alabama when The Bear tied Amos Alonzo Stagg’s 314 wins. (Paterno would later surpass both). After loss to Tide, Lions beat Notre Dame, Pitt with Dan Marino (48-14 — still their best regular season win ever) and USC in the Fiesta Bowl.


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