Penn State National Champs 1986

1986 - 1986 National Champs – Nittany Lions

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.