The 1986 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with Penn State winning the national championship. Coached by Joe Paterno, they defeated Miami (Fl) 14–10 in the Fiesta Bowl. This Fiesta Bowl was the first in the game’s history to decide the national championship, launching it into the top tier of bowls.
Miami came into the game #1 and Penn State #2. In a move that would come to symbolize the game for years to come, Miami arrived wearing combat fatigues while Penn State arrived wearing suits and ties.
Despite all the hype surrounding Miami, Penn State’s defense harassed and harried Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde throughout the Fiesta Bowl. The Hurricanes committed seven turnovers, including five interceptions thrown by Testaverde – the last of which, in the end, zone with 18 seconds left, won the game for the Nittany Lions.
In the first game of the season against Akron, Barkley had 14 rushes for 172 yards, two touchdowns, and a long run of 80 yards. He also recorded 54 receiving yards on two catches. For his efforts, Barkley was named co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
In the 2017 Big Ten opener, the Nittany Lions visited the Iowa Hawkeyes. In the dramatic 21–19 win, Barkley had a total of 358 all-purpose yards. He also set a program record for most yards in a single game. Barkley finished the game with 211 rushing yards and a touchdown, 94 receiving yards, and 53 kick return yards. For his efforts, Barkley was again named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
In the first Big Ten home game of his junior campaign against the Indiana Hoosiers, Barkley carried the ball 20 times for only 56 yards, an underwhelming rushing day for him. Despite this, he still had a major impact on the game, returning the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, adding 51 yards on 4 catches, and even throwing a 16-yard pass to DaeSean Hamilton late in the fourth quarter to cap off a 45–14 win. Barkley became the first player in Big Ten history to score a return and passing touchdown in the same game. For his efforts, Barkley was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. One month later against #6 Ohio State, Barkley again returned the opening kickoff back 97 yards for a touchdown but was limited for the rest of the game to 44 yards rushing on 21 carries, 36 of which came on a TD run in the second quarter. In his final collegiate game, Barkley rushed for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, one of them a 92-yard effort to put Penn State up 28-7 over the #11 Washington Huskies in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl, which Penn State would go on to win 35-28. On December 31, 2017, about 24 hours after the team’s Fiesta Bowl victory, Barkley declared his intentions to enter the NFL draft.
Penn State has finished in the top 25 in every NACDA Director’s Cup final poll, a feat only matched by nine other institutions: Stanford, UCLA, USC, Florida, Ohio State, Texas, North Carolina, and Michigan. The NACDA Director’s Cup is a list compiled by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics that charts institutions’ overall success in college sports. Penn State’s highest finish came in the 1998 – 1999 standings when the Nittany Lions finished 3rd. PSU finished in 5th place in the 2013 – 2014 standings; it was the fifth time the program finished in the top 5 and the tenth time the program finished in the top 10.
College Sports Established
State College, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1907 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1991 – Present / Big 10 Conference
1976 – 1979, 1982 – 1991 / Atlantic 10 Conference
1892 – 1975 / Independent
1891 / Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Football Association
1887 – 1890 / Independent
Nittany Lions – In 1904, Penn State baseball player Joe Mason came up with the moniker. At the time, Penn State didn’t have a mascot, so when Princeton players gibed the Penn State team over how their Bengal tiger mascot was the coolest, Mason retorted that Penn State had the Nittany Lions, “the fiercest beast of them all.”
The name came from their locations: Penn State is situated in the Nittany Valley near Nittany Mountain, and the lions he was referring to were mountain lions that once roamed the region.
Men’s Basketball 0
Women’s Basketball 0