BSD is chronicling 15 of Penn State's best games since joining the Big Ten in 1993. For more on the series, click here. Today, Tony Pittman and Lou Prato talk about Penn State's blowout victory against Ohio State in 1994.
Following a big win against Michigan at the Big House, Penn State rose to No. 1 for the first time all season as Ohio State came calling at Beaver Stadium on Homecoming 1994. With No. 3 Nebraska and No. 2 Colorodo clashing on the other side of the country, though, the Nittany Lions needed a big win for a chance to stay atop the rankings, and boy, did they get one.
Running back Ki-Jana Carter opened the scoring for with a 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put Penn State ahead 7-0. For Ohio State, that was just the calm before the storm.
In the second quarter, Penn State really piled it on, racking up 28 points on two more scores from Carter and touchdown receptions by Bobby Engram and Mike Archie. Ohio State got on the board with a touchdown to start the third quarter, but 28 points is as close as the Buckeyes got after halftime as Penn State added four more touchdowns to win by a shocking 63-14 margin.
After the game, Ohio State cornerback Marlon Kerner was stunned.
"It was absolutely embarrassing," Kerner said. "Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine they would put up this big a win."
When the dust settled, Penn State had outgained Ohio State 33-12 in first downs, 286-120 in rushing yards, and 286-94 in passing yards. Carter had 137 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries, quarterback Kerry Collins was 19-23 for 265 yards and two touchdowns, and Engram had. five receptions for 102 yards.
The 97,079 in attendance had witnessed total domination.
After the game, Collins was thrilled with the performance.
"This is as well as I've played and as good as I've ever felt at any time in athletics," Collins said.
Unfortunately for Penn State, Nebraska defeated Colorado 24-7 in Lincoln, giving the Cornhuskers a win over the No. 2 team in the land and a bunch of the momentum in the national title race. Given the chance to stump for his team, though, coach Joe Paterno took the humble route after the game.
"I don't see Tom Osborne arguing that his kids are No. 1...and I don't see any reason I should," Paterno said.
Collins was a little less shy about where he thought the Lions should be.
"I think we made a statement today," Collins said. "We beat a good team and we won resoundingly. I'd be miffed if we weren't No. 1."
To Collins' chagrin, Nebraska seized the No. 1 ranking from the Lions the following week and never looked back the rest of the regular season. The national championship would be decided in bowl season, when Penn State would take on Oregon in the Rose Bowl as first time Big Ten champion and Nebraska would face off with No. 3 Miami in the Orange Bowl. That, however, is a story for another day.
I will always remember this game more for what happened after the game than what happened in it. Penn State had moved to No. 1 after beating Michigan in a more exciting game at Ann Arbor the week before. That victory made the Lions 6-0 for the Homecoming game against Ohio State at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State was 6-2 and No. 14 but was still very dangerous on offense with tailback Eddie George, quarterback Bobby Hoying and wide receiver Joey Galloway. Sure, Penn State was favored, but the then-record stadium crowd never expected the blow out. The game was over by halftime when the score was 35-0, and the 63-14 final could have been much worse. I’ll never forget the look on my close friends from Ohio State who spent the weekend with us. It was the worst loss for an Ohio State team since 1946. Penn State fans have been treated with a lot of satisfying victories over Big Ten teams but I think this is the most enjoyable one of all—almost rivaling that great come-from-behind 48-14 upset at Pitt Stadium in 1981.
When the AP poll came out on Monday, Penn State fans were stunned. The AP voters jumped Nebraska, which had beaten No. 2 Colorado 24-7, from No. 3 to No. 1, with Penn State dropping to No. 2, just six points behind. To this day, I still cannot understand how 33 AP voters could vote Nebraska No. 1 with just 28 voting for Penn State. That proved to me there was a bias against Penn State and a favorable sentiment for Nebraska. What is most galling is that two of Nebraska’s first place votes came from Ohio State beat writers—guys who predicted an Ohio State upset before the game—and their fans loved it. Talk about "homers" Their team just had their rears kicked in and they figured they’d show those interlopers from the east who’s in charge in the Big Ten. To put this in perspective for those who don’t remember this game, let’s just say I am laughing my rear off over this Tressel-Pryor scandal.
After beating Michigan and having a week off, this home game against the Buckeyes was highly anticipated. I remember expecting this game to be full of fireworks on offense. Our offense was outstanding, probably the best in the nation. Ohio State had Joey Galloway at WR and Eddie George at RB.
But, we were on a role, and we were full of confidence.
Eddie George ended up leaving the game early with an injury, and that was pretty much "all she wrote" for Ohio State. We ended up handing them a 63-14 pounding, one of the most surprising blowouts I had ever been a part of at any level. Don't get me wrong, we were confident, and we expected to win. But, I don't think anyone on the team would have predicted such a runaway victory.
I felt like it was time for Penn State to prove a point in the Big 10. We had just beaten Michigan, and now we had a chance to take down the other big power, Ohio State. We did so in convincing fashion, and everyone had to acknowledge that Penn State had truly arrived in the Big 10.
For me personally, I was glad to put back-to-back clashes with Amani Toomer (Michigan) and Joey Galloway (Ohio State) behind me. They were two of the best WR opponents I faced during my career.
Our friends at Linebacker-U profiled this game in their "10 minutes or less" series. Enjoy.