PSU Snapshot: 1986

D.J. Dozier

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

Year: 1986

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 12-0

Final ranking: AP No. 1, UPI No. 1

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

Bowl game: Beat Miami (Fla.), 14-10, in the Fiesta Bowl

Team stat leaders: D.J. Dozier rushed for 811 yards and 10 TDs and caught 26 passes for 287 yards; John Shaffer passed for 1,510 yards; Shane Conlan had 79 tackles; Don Graham had 9 sacks; Duffy Cobbs intercepted 4 passes

All-Americans: LB Shane Conlan, OT Chris Conlin, RB D.J. Dozier, DT Tim Johnson

Neil Rudel’s take: A midseason 23-3 domination at No. 1 Alabama set the stage, and the Lions ran the table unbeaten for the sixth perfect regular season under Paterno and a date with No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. If this game was played 10 times, the Hurricanes would have won nine, but it only takes one — and the Lions, fueled by a hard-hitting defense that intimidated the intimidating ‘Canes, registered what still stands as the best win (14-10) in their history. They intercepted Vinny Testaverde five times, led by Shane Conlan’s two picks, and all-over-the-field play, and Duffy Cobbs and Ray Isom shortened Michael Irvin’s arms. Pete Giftopoulos’ interception sealed the game. Paterno was carried off the field, fist in the air, and Jimmy Johnson called the defeat the most painful of his distinguished career.


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