At one point in the 1981 season Penn State was ranked #1 and Pitt was ranked #2. But State suffered losses to Miami and Alabama to fall out of the top ten. Pitt kept winning, but their schedule wasn't nearly as difficult as Penn State's.
Nittany Lion linebacker Chet Parlavecchio couldn't resist taunting their hated rival before the game saying, "Pitt's number one. They played that tough schedule - Rutgers, Temple, and Thiel. Now they're going to be in a real football game"
Pitt head coach Jackie Sherrill shot back at Parlavecchio saying the linebacker didn't have the class to get into Pitt, and the two men almost came to blows over the verbal jabbing when Sherrill grabbed Parlavecchio by the arm on the sideline to voice his displeasure with what he felt was a late hit out of bounds.
The Panthers were led by future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. Energized by their home crowd, the Panthers charged down the field and took a quick 14-0 lead sending the Penn State bench into shock. Pitt players danced and high fived on the sidelines as they began looking forward to meeting Georgia in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship. Marino had his team driving for a third touchdown and a commanding 21-0 lead when the first quarter came to an end, but something happened during the intermission that brought the Nittany Lions to life.
Now, I could spend the next few minutes telling you all about it, but I'm lazy. So just watch this...