PSU Snapshot: 1989

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

Year: 1989

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 8-3-1

Final ranking: AP No. 15, UPI No. 14

Regular-season wins: Temple, Boston College, Texas, Rutgers, Syracuse, West Virginia, Pitt

Regular-season losses: Virginia, Alabama, Notre Dame

Regular-season ties: Maryland

Bowl game: Beat BYU, 50-39, in the Holiday Bowl

Team stat leaders: Blair Thomas rushed for 1,341 yards; Tony Sacca passed for 694 yards; David Daniels caught 22 passes for 362 yards; Ray Tarasi made 19 of 23 field goal attempts; Andre Collins had 130 tackles; Mark D’Onofrio had 11 sacks; Sherrod Rainge intercepted 6 passes

All-Americans: LB Andre Collins, RB Blair Thomas

Neil Rudel’s take: Sacca was rushed in as a true freshman in 1988 after an injury to Tom Bill, clearly earlier than Paterno’s timetable, and the growing pains were apparent as the Lions opened with a season-opening home loss to Virginia (WR Herman Moore) and failed to score 17 points in five of their first seven games. A low moment came vs. No. 6 Alabama when Thomas carried the team down the field on his back, only to see a 17-yard chip-shot field goal by Ray Tarasi blocked in the waning seconds to seal a 17-16 defeat. The Nits regrouped and beat WVU and Pitt (both ranked top 20) before outgunning BYU, 50-39, in the Holiday Bowl when Gary Brown snatched the ball from Ty Detmer and returned it 53 yards for the decisive TD. Off the field, it was announced PSU had agreed in principle to join the Big Ten.


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