Looking back: Fiesta Bowl History, Part I
(Editor’s note: Over the next few weeks, we will take a chronological look back at Penn State’s history in the Fiesta Bowl. Today, we look back at the 1977 Fiesta Bowl, which was the Nittany Lions’ first appearance at the bowl).
UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State’s first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl came in 1977.
The Nittany Lions entered the game with a 10-1 record. The lone blemish was an October loss to Kentucky. Following that loss, Penn State head coach Joe Paterno rallied his troops to seven consecutive victories. Although the National Championship was out of the picture – there was no playoff back then, of course – the Fiesta Bowl was a nice consolation prize.
The opponent was No. 15 Arizona State and the game was played in Sun Devil Stadium, so this was a home game for the Sun Devils.
Penn State’s offense was too much for the Sun Devils to handle. Nittany Lion running backs Steve Geise and Bob Torrey combined to rush for 218 yards and 2 TDs. The Nittany Lions also had a good day on special teams, blocking a punt. The defense contributed by forcing a fumble in the win.
The Nittany Lions jumed out to a 14-point first-quarter lead and never looked back to finish their season with an 11-1 record.