Hey Wha Happen? Penn State 31, Wisconsin 24

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State shocks everyone but themselves, upsetting the #15 Badgers on the road.

"It doesn't matter what you ("the media") think.  All of you thought the betting line (Penn State +24) was right.  You were all wrong.  And that's what I try to tell these guys - it doesn't matter what the media think.  It only matters what we think.  And I can tell you flat out that they took offense to the fact that they were 24 point underdogs, and nobody, not even in State College, thought that they could win."

My apologies, fellas.  I was so certain of a Penn State loss that I had the Iron Bowl queued up on the remote control to flip over as soon as it got ugly.  Incredibly, it didn't get ugly until early in the fourth quarter, when Christian Hackenberg hit a streaking Geno Lewis for a 59-yard touchdown to put the Lions up by 17 - that's only a 41 point difference from the Las Vegas line.

Wisconsin was playing for a BCS bowl berth, ranked #15, at home in Camp Randall, which is annually rated as one of the most difficult places to play, and has been since long before the Badgers became any good at all in 1993.  They had a top 10 defense, and had allowed opponents less than 40 points at home all year.  Penn State, of course, had not won a true road game all season.

In fact, the last time an unranked Penn State squad beat a top 20 squad on the road was....wait for it....November 21st, 1987: Penn State 21, #7 Notre Dame 20.  And that PSU squad, one year removed from a National Championship, had been ranked #15 the previous week when they were shutout, 0-10, against an un-ranked Pitt to fall all the way out of the polls. Whoops - that game was at Beaver Stadium, and there was ice in the urinal troughs.  Upon further review, the last time an unranked PSU squad beat a top 20 team on the road was November 7th, 1964.  Penn State, led by Maxwell Award winner Glenn Ressler, traveled to Ohio Stadium and kicked the snot out of Woody Hayes and the Buckeyes, who had been ranked #2 in the nation, 27-0.

That was 26 49 years ago. None of the current players 99% of innernets users had not been born.  This type of thing simply doesn't happen very often.  Since the 1986 season, Penn State had won just 12 games out of 44 when facing any ranked team on the road, no matter PSU's rank.  Today they're 13 for 45.

But I'm still slack jawed by the way that they pulled off the upset.  After falling behind 14-7, and with Camp Randall rocking, they marched 71 yards on 7 plays to knot the game at 14.  Guts.  They overcame two false start penalties, and converted a critical 3rd and 7 along the way.

The Lions came out from halftime, and dominated the next 20 minutes.  Penn State racked up 143 yards of offense, scored two touchdowns, one 28-yard field goal, and punted just once in four possessions.  On the other side of the ball, John Butler's defense forced two interceptions, two Badger punts, including a 3-and-out, and held the explosive Wisconsin offense to just 65 yards on four possessions.  Although Penn State went conservative and the Badgers rallied late in the game, those 20 minutes after halftime decided the contest.  And what a way to go out for the senior class.

Three Completely Unrelated, Probably Useless Thoughts

1) "I didn't have any idea about that (the jump around before the 4th quarter).  House of Pain?  What is that?  That's Boston?  Really?  My wife's laughing at me right now.  I didn't have any idea about that." - BOB, on what got into his squad between the 3rd and 4th quarters.

2) The offense - with Hack, Brenemen, Lewis, and James - gave us a peek at the future on that side of the ball, and will get a ton of attention.  But so did the defense.  Anthony Zettel had at least 2 sacks.  Brandon Bell had a strip sack, continuing his great play at the end of the season.  Austin Johnson clogged up the middle.  Malik Golden made some plays in the backfield, and Trevor Williams came down with one INT, and almost had another.  The arrow is pointing up for the entire program.

3)  This video of the post game locker room pretty much sums it up - a bunch of fighters.


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