PSU Snapshot: 1991

Darren Perry

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

Year: 1991

Coach: Joe Paterno

Final record: 11-2

Final ranking: AP No. 3, UPI No. 3, USA Today/CNN No. 3

Regular-season wins: Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, BYU, Boston College, Temple, Rutgers, West Virginia, Maryland, Notre Dame, Pitt

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

Bowl game: Beat Tennessee, 42-17, in the Fiesta Bowl

Team stat leaders: Richie Anderson rushed for 779 yards and 10 TDs; Tony Sacca passed for 2,488 yards and 21 TDs; Terry Smith caught 55 passes for 846 yards and 8 TDs; Lee Rubin had 60 tackles; Tyoka Jackson had 9.5 sacks; Darren Perry had 6 picks

All-American: S Darren Perry

Neil Rudel’s take: The season opened with another trip to the Kickoff Classic, their first since 1983, and this time the Lions were ready to play — blowing out Georgia Tech, which finished No. 2 in 1990. Another 10,000 seats were added to Beaver Stadium, creating an upper deck on the north end zone, bumping attendance to 94,000 and the record crowd was treated to an 81-0 win over Cincinnati in the home opener. But the Nits lost at USC the next week and lost 26-20 at No. 2 Miami at midseason (the same day as the Clarence Thomas hearings, which pre-empted part of the broadcast). The Lions capped the year by crushing Tennessee, 42-17, in the Fiesta Bowl in a Paterno vs. Johnny Majors matchup. The game marked one of the bigger in-game turnarounds in history. The Rocky Toppers had outgained the Lions 324-59 in the first half but led only 10-7 before the Lions regrouped and, down 17-7, ran off 35 straight points (24 points in four minutes) in the second half. Tony Sacca threw four touchdown passes, and O.J. McDuffie (149 yards total offense) was the game’s MVP.


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