PSU snapshot: 1988

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

Year: 1988

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 5-6

Final ranking: Not ranked

Regular-season wins: Virginia, Boston College, Temple, Cincinnati, Maryland

Regular-season losses: Rutgers, Syracuse, Alabama, West Virginia, Pitt, Notre Dame

Bowl game: None

Team stat leaders: Gary Brown rushed for 689 yards; Tony Sacca passed for 821 yards; Michael Timpson caught 22 passes for 342 yards; Andre Collins had 110 tackles; Quintus McDonald had 7 sacks; Sherrod Rainge intercepted 3 passes

All-American: OG Steve Wisniewski

Neil Rudel’s take: Tony Sacca became the first freshman quarterback to start for Penn State in the Engle and Paterno eras. It actually marked the first of five straight years that a Sacca would lead the team in passing (four by Tony, one by brother John). But you don’t win with a freshman QB, and the Lions didn’t, staggering to their first losing season (5-6) since 1938. Later, Paterno said it was better that the streak fell under his watch, rather than the next guy (although he’d coach another 23 seasons.) The lowlights included getting blown out at WVU when the fans came out of the stands to celebrate early, losses without scoring a TD at Alabama and No. 1 Notre Dame, a second-straight setback to Pitt (third in five years) and a home loss to Dick Anderson-led Rutgers.


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