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ions shuck Nebraska with late TD
By RON GARDNER
Collegian Sports Writer
Teammates will have to come up
with a new nickname for Penn State
reserve tight end Kirk Bowman.
After catching two touchdown
passes, including the game-winner
with four seconds remaining, for the
Nittany Lions (4-0) in tjheir 27-24
upset win over second-ranked Ne
braska Saturday at Beaver Stadium,
"Stone Hands" will just not do any
Bowman, a 6-1, 246-pound junior
who earned his nickname after drop
ping an easy pass against Rutgers
last week, lunged and scooped up
quarterback Todd Blackledge's pass
just inches a¢ove the turf in the back
left corner of the end zone to climax
an 80Myard, 1:14 drive to rally Penn
State from a 24-21 deficit and send a
Penn State tight end Kirk Bowman cluthces a low toss from Todd Blackledge After Nebraska took the lead with 1:18 left to play, the Lions came back and
deep in the and zone for the winning touchdown Saturday at Beaver Stadium. scored with only 4 seconds left on the clock.
record home crowd of 85,304 into a
"I caught it about six inches above
the ground," said Bowman, who has
been been shuffled through seven
Position changes in his Lion career.
"I was concerned that the officials
weren't going to call it. I came up
with the ball right away and showed
it to the official to show. him that I
With 1:18 to play in the fourth
quarter, Nebraska quarterback
Turner Gill snuck into the end zone
from one yard out to give the Corn
huskers their first lead of the game
at 24-21. But there was plenty of time
remaining for Air Paterno to mount
one last airborne assault.
After a 15-yard unsportsmanlike
conduct penalty against Nebraka's
Dave Ridder on the kickoff to move
the ball to the Lions' 35, Penn State
move swiftly up the field on a pair of
16-yard passes to tailback Skeeter
Nichols and flanker Kenny Jackson.
Then the drive abruptly stalled at
the Cornhusker 34, as the Lions
faced a fourth-and-11 situation.
But Blackledge, who completed 23
of 39,passes for 295 yards and three
touchdowns, drilled a strike to Jack
son cutting across the middle to give
Penn State the first down with just
inches to spare.
Blackledge then scrambled out of
the pocket for six yards on the next
play, before hitting tight end Mike
McCloskey just inside the left side
line at the Nebraska 2 to set .the
stage for Bowman's game-winning
"I wasn't nervous and I wasn't
worried," said Blackledge, who is
quickly emerging as one of the na
tion's premier quarterbacks and a
Lions' Bowman an unlikely hero
By MARIA MARTINO
Collegian Sports Writer
Sometime it's just a matter of playing the right
position at the right time that makes someone a
After exploring seven positions at Penn State,
Kirk Bowman is finally back at tight end and
"Maybe I've found a home," he said. "I was
recruited as a linebacker and I was linebacker
"Then I moved to defensive end, then to the
other defensive end. I played tackle, nose guard,
offensive guard and now tight end again." ,
And Saturday, when just four seconds re
mained on the clock and the electricity of the
moment wasn't generated by CBS-TV's portable
lights, Bowman, at tight end, watched quar
terback Todd Blackledge look toward Mike Mc-
Closkey, the primary receiver, then turn and
float a pass low to him.
Bowman dove, scooped up the winning touch
down half a foot from the ground at the very back
of the end zone to push the Nittany Lions past
Nebraska 27-24 in one of the finest Penn State
football games in history.
"It's an incredible feeling," Bowman said.
"You can hear the crowd cheer and your team
mates all mob you. But it hasn't sunk in yet . . . it
will later, just not yet."
Blackledge's pass for two yards capped a 80-
yard drive in 10 plays after Nebraska took its
first lead of the game with 1:18 left to play.
But the Cornhuskers suffered an unsportsman
like conduct penalty on the kickoff that put the
Lions on the . Nebraska 35 and ready for their
After passes to Kenny Jackson and McCloskey,
Bowman brought the play into the huddle.
"I was thinking (Blackledge) would throw it to
Mike," Bowman said, "and I just got open and
turned around and started waving my arms and
"I was just supposed to get off the ball and find
an open spot behind the linebacker. I gave the
defensive end a Counter step, faking with my
head like I was going to go flat and he took it.
"I was coaxing the ball on," he said with a
good-natured grin. "I was saying, 'Come on.' It
was a little short and I think more important thari
it being short, I Wag concerned with the lineback
er tipping it "
But Bowman rescued it six inches from the
"I was cbncerned the officials weren't going to
call it." he explained. "I just got up as quick as I
could and showed them the ball and said, 'I
caught it ' "
Bowman, the one• some people nicknamed
bonafide contender - for the Heisman
Trophy. "I didn't know if we could
take it all the way for a touchdown,
but I knew we could at least get in
field goal range.
"We just got the ball going and
when we hit the fourth-and-11 to
Kenny, I knew we were going all the
Then with the Lions in a short
yardage offense with two tight ends
in the game, Bowman quickly broke
clear where Blackledge tossed a low
pass that Bowman managed to cor
"I was coaxing ( the pass) along
hoping it got past the linebacker and
got to me," Bowman said. "The
linebacker just about tipped it."
Paterno, who said he briefly con
sidered going for a tying field goal
when the Lions faced the fourth-and
-11 • situation, was elated with his
Kirk Bowman is mobbed by fans after catching the winning touchdown in the waning seconds of
Saturday's 27.24 win over Nebraska.
"Stone Hands" when he dropped a pass last
week, also reeled in the first touchdown of the
game a 14-yard pass from Blackledge with just
Linder two minutes left in the' opening quarter.
"Kirk caught two touchdowns on the same pass
and both times he got a clean release and went to
the back of the end zone and just made a super
play of it," Blackledge said.
Bowman's pair of receptions were the first of
his career, and he became only the 17th Lion to
catch two TD passes in a game, tying the school
Not bad for someone who lettered at defensive
end last year
"He played tight end in high school. We recruit
ed him as a linebacker, but he pt. so big we made
him a defensive tackle," Coach Joe Patetto said
of the 6-1, 246-pound junior. "Then he had a knee
injury and we couldn't get a good look at him (in
But when Paterno decided the Lions needed
another defensive end, he turned to John Walter,
the third tight end, and asked Bowman to return
to his high school position.
team's come-from-behind effort
"I thought we had enough time,
but I knew we had to make some
plays,P Paterno said. "The penalty
helped anytime you start on your
35, it helps.
"It was a great football game. It
was a shame for either team to lose
it. They (Nebraska) are a class
outfit. There was enough glory on
that field for both teams. It was such
a great football game, you're sorry
to see anyone'lose."
Bowman, who has bounced be
tween offensive guard, middle
guard, defensive tackle and several
other positions during his college
career, got Penn State on the
scoreboard first against the Corn
huskers, reaching high and twisting
to pull down a 14-yard touchdown
pass from Blackledge with 1:43 re
maining in the first quarter to put
the Lions up 7-0.
Penn State then went up 14-0 in the
second quarter when tailback Curt
Warner, who returned to form gain
ing 78 yards on 13 carries before
cramps forced him to sidelines mid
way through the third quarter,
turned on the speed to sweep past a
Nebraska defender on a 2-yard
But Nebraska quickly came back
to narrow the halftime margin to 14-
7 when Gill (16 of 34 for 239 yards and
two TDs ) hit wingback Irving Pryor
with a 30-yard touchdown pass just
38 seconds before intermission.
The Lions scored first in the third
quarter as Blackledge hit Jackson
between double coverage with an 18-
yard scoring pass, but the Cornhusk
ers managed to go ahead as they
sandwiched touchodowns by I-back
Mike Rozier (a 2-yard TD catch) and
Gill, around' a 37-yard fiel goal by
placekicker Kevin Seibel.
But Penn State came through on
its, final desperation drive to drop
Nebraska from the ranks of the
unbeaten, lowering the Cornhusk
ers' record to 2-1.
The Lion defense, which has been
labelled as suspect throughout the
season, played exceptionally against
offensive-minded Nebraska, limited
the Cornhtiskers to 28 points after
they rolled up 42 and 68 points,
respectively, in their first two
games against defending Big 10
champion lowa and New Mexico
"Our defensive kids really played
a solid football game," Paterno said.
"They didn't give up any big plays.
The Daily Collegian
Monday, Sept. 27
They were aggressive and tackled
And the Penn State running at
tack, a traditional strong suit that
had yet to impress this fall, got its
act together as well, churning out
210 yards on the ground its best
production of the season.
"I think we've tied things down,"
Paterno said. "We've gotten better
each week. We kept people out of the
backfield and stayed with our
The Lion running attack also got a
boost from the bench as sophomore
reserves Nichols (seven carries for
32) and Tony Mumford, who came
through on two short-yardage
sweeps for•first downs' to sustain a
pair of drives.
Starters Warner and fullback Jon
Williams were both bothered by leg
cramps, which held them out of the
game throughout much of the second
"I kept saying (to Warner) 'Are
you all right?' " Paterno said, "He
added a dimension to our offense
anyway you twist it. But I think
sometimes you can work too hard.
Curt may have worked too hard this
summer. This week off should help."
Penn State, thanks •to some bril
liant scheduling, is off next Satur
day, but will meet nemesis Alabama
Oct. 9 in Birmingham in its first road
contest of the season. And between
now and then, Paterno said there
were no resting on laurels for his
"(I'll tell them to) settle down,"
he said. "You have a lot of work.
ahead of you. You have to get bet
But for now, it was a game for a
kid nicknamed "Stone Hands" and
his buddies to savor, even for just
NITTANY LION NOTES: Bow
man's first two career receptions
were both touchdown passes . .
With 73 yards on five receptions,
Jackson becomes the seventh player
in Penn State history to gain 1,000
yards receiving in a career.•He now
has 1,037 yards. His 15th career
touchdown catch extended-his Penn
Blackledge's 295 yards passing
marked the fifth consecutive regular
season game he's thrown for 200 or
more yards, setting a school record.
His three touchdown pusses gave
him 15 for the season, tying the Lion
record 0f,15 by Chuck Fusina (1977)
and John Hufnagel (1972).
"When Coach Paterno moved me to tight end
he said, 'You'll be there mainly to block',"
Bowman said. "But I said, 'Joe, you might be
surprised because I caught the ball well in high
school . . . I really did catch the ball well."
A second-team all-itate pick from Mechanics
burg High, Bowman followed his father's path to
Penn States Wayne Bowman played offensive
guard for the Lions in 1962-63.
But Saturday was a day for the versatile tight
end to shine.
"I was the priniary receiver, but I was cov
ered," McCloskey said. "I looked right over to
Kirk. I knew he would be over my shoulder like
"It was edatasy, I guess. That's as good a garhe
as I've ever been involved in. (This year) there
are a lot of guys Who are believers out there.
They played With a lot of confidence, especially
on the last play."
Alackledge agreed: "It Was just a great catch
and a great ending for a game."
And a great new beginning for a revitalized
Penn State defensive tackle Mark Fruehan (92) heads in to help defensive
end Walker Lee Ashley (37) tackle Nebraska's runningback Mike Rozier in
Defense develops under pressure
By GREG LODER
Collegian Sports Writer
Sixty minutes can make anyone
mature, especially when it is the
same 60 minutes that were played in
Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
In one afternoon or shall we say
evening, 11 young, "inexperienced"
people developed more than anyone
TheSe 11 were the Penn State
defense, which had_to go up against
the Nebraska offense, which was
previously ranked No. 1 in the na
And although they showed some
sign of immaturity, they did a lot of
Penn State Head Coach Joe Pa
terno was well aware of the differ
ence of the Nittany Lion defense
from its first three lackluster per
"Our defensive kids really played
a solid football game," Paterno
said. "They didn't give up any big
plays and they were aggressive and
Linebacker Al Harris said there
was enough pressure to make any
one grow up.
"It was the greatest game I was
ever in," Harris said. "There was
so much intensity on both sides of
By PAUL ALEXANDER
Collegian Sports Writer
There was never any doubt in anyone's mind about
whether. Nebraska was going to score against Penn
State. In fact, the question was, could Penn State
manage to stop the nation's most potent offense?
In the Cornhuskers' first two games against lowa and
New Mexico State, quarterback Turner Gill and Co.
had been nothing short of awesome amassing some
of the most impr6sive staistics in NCAA history.
Against New Mexico State, the Huskers had the ball
13 times and scored on 12 of those possessions for a total
of 68 points. In the process, they totaled a NCAA record
of 883 yards in total offense and a record 43 first
downs. The only glimmer of optimism for the Lions was
the fact that they're not New Mexico State.
As one of the nation's biggest football games of the
young season unfolded in front of a national television
audience and a record crowd of 85,304 at Beaver
Stadium, one couldn't help but wonder where this
omnipotent offense was.
Just as it started to look as though Penn State was
going to blow the second-ranked Huskers right off the
field, Gill marched Nebraska 80 yards in seven plays to
put the Huskers right back into the game, The Huskers
had narrowed the deficit to 14-7 and the momentum
seemed to head into the .visiting locker room for
Gill, a stereotypical sprint-out quarterback, is as
much of a threat to run as he is to throw. On the day he
threw for two Husker scores and plunged over from the
one for what appeared to be the winning touchdown
with only 1:18 remaining in the game.
"We should have thrown more earlier," Gill said
after the game. "But we were running the ball well. We
just made some mistakes. We mixed our game plan up
in the second half. We threw the ball well, but we just
had a lot of turnovers."
In the second half, the Huskers outscored Penn State
17-13 and the offense that was the talk of the country
last week, was on a roll.
"We made too many mistakes," Gill said. "We
played two good quarters and you can't win the good
games by only playing two quarters. You have to play
all four quarters."
Although neither defense was really capable of
shutting down the opposition's offense, Gill felt the Lion
defense played them tough. The record crowd also
contributed by making it impossible for the Husker
quarterback to audible at the line.
Gill, aside from being a threat to run and pass, has
one other facet to his game that no other team pos-
the ball. We knew the whole game
was going to be a scrap and a
"This was a big test and a lot of
pressure because we were on TV
This game was a quick way to grow
up," the Villanova transfer said.
Harris said there was also a lot of
difference the Lions saw in the films
from the Penn State defense and the
Cornhuskers first two opponents.
"The first two teams (Nebraska )
played didn't have disciplined de
fense," Harris said. "That was the
key, we are disciplined."
In its first two games Nebraska
averaged more than 500 yards total
offense and was still able to rack up
472 yards in Saturday's game. But
there were two specific signs where
the Penn State defense showed it
was getting better with every click
of the scoreboard.
With Nebraska driving on on its
first possesion of the second half the
Lion defense held on three downs on
its own 18-yard line forcing Nebras
ka to attempt a 35-yard field goal.
The snap was fumbled by holder
Turner Gill and Nebraska ended up
with no points.
One more sign of maturity for the
young Penn State defense came
when the Cornhuskers were driving
in the beginning of the fourth quar
Gill guides record-setting offense
the second half Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The Lions' defensive squad
stopped the usually explosive Cornhusker offense.
ter. The Lions held on their own 20,
forcing Nebraska to kick a field
As a team on defense the Lions
showed signs of growing up, but so
did a lot of individuals.
One position which has been Penn
State's forte in the past but a weak
ness this year has been the line
backers. Against Nebraska, this
position kept the Lion defense from
Along with Harris, both Scott Ra
decic and Dave Paffenroth played
superb games, keeping the Nebras
ka backs from breaking open in the
flat. In the first three games, the.
Lions were most vulnerable on de
fense to the short pass.
"The linebackers were just so
much better," Paterno said.
One other player who had all the
reason to grow up was junior de
fensive lineman Greg Gattuso, who
had to play helmet-to-helmet all day
with Nebraska center Dave Riming
ton. Last year Rimington was the
Outland Trophy winner for the best
lineman in the country and an All-
Paterno called the battle of Gattu
so and Rimington a draw.
"I don't know if (Gattuso) han
dled him," Paterno said. "but he
played a strong football game. A
sesses an Outland Trophy winner right in front of
Center Dave Rimington has been called by many the
best lineman ever to play college football and quite
conceivably, he could become the first player to ever
have Outland Trophies as bookends. Even at 6-3 and 290
pounds, life in the trenches is never easy.
"Things in the trenches were tough," Rimington
said. "It was a super game. We did a pretty good job in
the second half. We stopped ourselves in the first half.
This is a good team (Penn State) and we have to give
them credit. They played us tough."
The Huskers could now be labeled as a second-half
team. After scoring right before the end of the first
half, the Huskers' offense was off and running.
Nebraska took the second half kickoff and pushed the
Lions all the way down to their own 18 yard line in five
plays, but that's as far as they got. After Irving Fryar's
45 yard gain on a reverse, the drive sputtered and
Kevin Seibel came in to attempt a 35-yard field goal.
Gill fumbled the snap and Nebraska came up empty.
Penn State made it obvious that there were two
dynamic offenses featured in this game. The Lions
covered 83 yards in seven plays to take a 21-7 lead, and
the complexion of the game was changed for good. It
looked like it was time to get out the calculators.
Nebraska took over on its own 20 and Gill engineered
a perfect time-consuming drive that culminated in a
two-yard Gill to Mike Rozier touchdown pass. The
highly acclaimed Husker offense was beginning to
On the very next series, Jon Williams fumbled and
Nebraska had three more points in just seven plays.
Trailing 21-17, the Huskers' defense got Gill the ball
again via a Neil Harris interception of Penn State
quarterback Todd Blackledge's pass in the Nebraska
The Gill and Rozier show traveled the distance for
another score and the first Nebraska lead of the game.
The drive covered 80 yards in 13 plays with Gill hitting
Irving for an 11-yard gain on a crucial third down and
Rozier, a native of Camden, N.J., took a pitch from
Gill on the next play for a twelve yard gain to the Lion
3. Penn State held off two Husker surges before Gill
plunged over the top for what appeared to be the
Penn State, taking full advantage of a personal foul
penalty on the ensuing kickoff and the 1:18 the Huskers
left on the clock, registered one of its finest come-from
behind victories ever.
Fortunately for the Lions, their scoring drive con
sumed all but four seconds and the Huskers were out of
very determined football game.
Gattuso is really competitive and he
' rises to the occasion."
After the war between the two,
Gattuso said he was returning ev
erything Rimington was giving out.
"The other nose guards who
,(Rimington) let him
blow them off the ball," Gattuso
said. "I knew I was going to have to
hit him as hard as he was going to
hit me. As a whole I don't think he
won the battle.
"We lined up against the greatest
rushing team and pretty much
stuffed them." •
"Stuffing" the Nebraska running
game is exactly what the Penn State
defense did. The Cornhuskers lead
ing rusher Mike Ripzier . was held to
86 yardson 19 carries, while ifie
whole Nebraska rushing game
gained 233 yards far less than its
505 yard average per game.
And as the game got older it was
the Nebraska running game which
found it tougher to run it up the gut
right behind Rimington.
Orson Wells puts it best in asses
sing Penn State's defense against
Nebraska ..."you can't judge any
defense before its time."
And Saturday was the first day of
this Penn State defense's time.
Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill (12) raises his arms in jubilation after he rushed one yard for the Cornhuskers' go-ahead
touchdown with 1:18 left in the final quarter Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defensive tackle Dave Opfer (67) and
Lion defensive end Walker Lee Ashley (37) stare in disbelief as Nebraska takes its first lead of the game.
fire Lion comeback
By PETE WALDRON
Collegian Sports Writer
Not many people know Penn
State quarterback Todd Black
ledge is an avid listener of funk
music. But during the Lions' 27-24
shucking of Nebraska on Saturday
at Beaver Stadium many fans
would have sworn Blackledge was
tuned in to The Gap Band's top hit
You dropped a bomb on me.
Blackledge did just that as he
unleashed a remarkable aerial
attack that rocked Beaver Stadi
um from the opening kickoff re
ceived by Penn State to the closing
80-yard drive that culminated in a
two-yard pass to tight end Kirk
Bowman to decide the Lions
much-deserved win in the final
Talk about a fitting finale.
With 1:18 left in the game, the
Cornhuskers pulled ahead of Penn
State for the first time after inter
cepting Blackledge's only errant
pass of the day. Some people sat
shaking their heads in disbelief
and wondering how the Lions, who
played with such intensity, could
end up being losers.
Some people, but not Black
"When we got the football back I
knew we had enough time to take
it in we had two time-outs
plus the personal foul penalty
against them helped us," he said.
"Once we hit the fourth-and-1I
pass to Kenny, I knew we would go
in with it.
"The game is never over until
the final gun. We felt all along we
went into the game with the atti
tude that we were better than
Nebraska and we were going to
win the football game.
"That wasn't piing to be proved
wrong to me," Blackledge said,
"or proved wrong to anybody else
until there was double zeros up on
the board. So we just kept in
And he is sure glad they did.
"I think the drive was so good
for our team and our confidence,"
Blackledge said, "because we
Nebraska 0 7 7 10 24
Penn State 7 7 7 6
PSU Bowman 14 pass from Blackledge
PSU Warner 2 run (Manca kick)
NEB Fryar 30 pass from Gill (Seibel kick)
Nebraska Gill 16.24.1 for 239. 2 TDS. Penn
PSU Jackson 18 pass : from Blackledge State Blackledge 23.39.1 for 295, 3 TDs.
NEB Rozier 2 pass from Gill (Seibel kick)
NEB FG Seibel 37
NEB Gill 1 run (Seibel kick)
PSU Bowman 2 pass from Blackledge
(Manca kick no good)
The Daily Collegian Monday, Sept. 27, 1982
went out there and we knew we
had 65 yards to go and we kept our
poise, we didn't get rattled, we
didn't get upset we just drove
the football down and took it on in.
It was a great way to end."
However, Blackledge's signal
calling expertise did not only oc
cur in the closing drive, but were
exhibited brightly throughout the
He let loose with passes of 43, 25,
21, and 19 yards to register a total
of 295 yards. Blackledge's passing
total marked the fifth consecutive
regular-season game he's thrown
for 200 or more yards, setting a
new Penn State record.
Blackledge also erupted for
three touchdown passes, two to
Bowman and one to flanker Kenny
Jack Son, to bring his total to 15 for
the season. This ties the season
record of 15 held by Chuck Fusina
(1977) and John Hufnagel (1972).
But Blackledge attributed much
of his success to the offensive line.
The Lions' pass blocking was un
believable. Blackledge could have
dropped back, ran to the sideline
for a Gatorade break, ran back
and still have gotten the ball off for
"Our offensive line was just
tremendous," Blackledge said.
"We moved the football in the air
and on the ground. I was confident
that we could throw well against
"One of the biggest keys was the
success of our running game be
cause that really got them think
ing 'not only are they throwing
well, but now they are starting to
run well.' And the offensive line
was determined to prove we had a
good running game.
"We had some great catches,
some great runs, some great
blocks when you put that all
together it ended up being a super
Blackledge said it is a win Penn
State and Nebraska people are
going to remember for a long, long
time.kßomb dropping usually does
leave a lasting impression, doesn't
Nebraska Rozier 19,56. Gill 12.52, Craig 7•
27. Wilkening 8.23, Fryar 1.45. Smith 1-0. Totals
48-233 Penn State Warner 1178. Williams 10-
65, Nichols 7.32. Coles 4.20, Blackledge 18.
Mumford 2.7. Totals, 41.210
Nebraska Fryar 7.112, Brown 3-60. Sim•
mons 2.28, Williams 1.18, Wilkening 1.8, Krenk
1.11, Rozier 1.2, Totals 16239. Penn State.
Garrity 5.75. Jackson 5.73, McCloskey 4-68,
Warner 3.47, Bowman 2.16, Nichols 1.16,
hams 3.0, Totals, 23295.
by Renee Jacobs