PSU season snapshot: 1990

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

Year: 1990

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 9-3

Final ranking: AP No. 11, UPI No. 10

Regular-season wins: Rutgers, Temple, Syracuse, Boston College, Alabama, West Virginia, Maryland, Notre Dame, Pitt

Regular-season losses: Texas, USC

Bowl game: Lost to Florida State, 24-17, in the Blockbuster Bowl

Team stat leaders: Leroy Thompson rushed for 573 yards; Tony Sacca passed for 1,866 yards and 10 TDs; David Daniels caught 31 passes for 538 yards; Mark D’Onofrio had 71 tackles; Rich McKenzie had 6 sacks; Darren Perry intercepted 7 passes

All-Americans: None

Neil Rudel’s take: For the second straight season, the Lions were overworked in the preseason, not ready to play or both as they opened with consecutive losses to Texas and at USC before reeling off nine straight wins to climb into the Top 10. Included in the stretch was a stunning 24-21 win at No. 1 Notre Dame in what was one of the single-best strategic efforts of Paterno’s career. With the score tied at 21, after leading 21-7, the Irish were facing a stiff wind so PSU punted from near midfield in the last two minutes. It looked like Paterno was content with a tie. He wasn’t. He knew ND would have to throw, and Darren Perry intercepted, setting up Craig Fayak’s game-winning 35-yard field goal. The season ended with a 24-17 loss to Florida State in the Blockbuster Bowl, the first of two matchups between Paterno and Bobby Bowden.


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