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Where I Come From: My Favorite Penn State Memories

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This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.

In trying to put together a list of my favorite Penn State memories, I don't even know where to begin. I've been a fan now for over 25 years, and every season has its moments.

Like I said earlier this week, watching D.J. Dozier cross the goal line in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl is one of my earliest memories that sticks in my head. After a month and a half of hearing everyone say Penn State was going to lose by multiple touchdowns, and after watching Miami dominate just about ever facet of the game, and to see Dozier score the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, it was just about the most joyous feeling I have ever experienced.

Another moment that sticks out in my head was the win over Michigan in 1994. Penn State took the lead late in the fourth quarter on a pass from Kerry Collins to Bobby Engram in Ann Arbor. They show the highlight every week in the intro to the Penn State Football Story. The game itself was awesome, but the post game celebration made it special. I didn't know why, but after the game I just knew I needed to be on College Avenue. Not surprisingly, 20,000 other students had the same idea. We didn't flip over cars, and nobody needed to call the riot police. We just jumped up and down in the streets yelling "WE ARE....PENN STATE!" Pretty soon a set of goal posts came parading up through town and eventually got dumped in Joe Paterno's front yard. That was an amazing night.

I'm missing a ton of good ones here, but the next big one that sticks out is the LaVar Leap. On 4th-and-1, Arrington crowded the line expecting the Illini to call a power run up the middle. Just as the ball was snapped he jumped over the line of scrimmage and hit the fullback right where he took the hand off.


LaVar Leap (via danoshinsky)

I was sitting in the senior section right on the line of scrimmage for that play. It epitomized everything that made LaVar fun to watch. He not only anticipated the play, he anticipated the snap count and where the hand off was going to occur. Leaving his feet to potentially take himself out of the play went against everything he was surely coached to do, but LaVar did it anyway because he's LaVar and that's what LaVar does. And of course he showed off his amazing physical ability to leap over the offensive lineman and hit the ball carrier like a battering ram. I still can't say I've ever seen a play like it.

Alright, I have got to wrap this up. So here are some quick ones that stick out. Seeing Larry Johnson running for 2000 yards was amazing. Zack Mills beating Ohio State to give JoePa win No. Michael Robinson and Paul Posluszny beating Ohio State in the whiteout in 2005....awesome. That night was magical, but the 2002 win over Nebraska was more electric. That is still the greatest sporting event I have ever attended live.

So those are my favorites memories. What are yours?