Joe vs. Bobby: Legendary Games

With Penn State facing Florida State in the Orange Bowl, one of the dominant story lines is sure to be Paterno vs. Bowden. During the seven times these coaches have clashed there have been some historical games which have resulted in record-setting performances, undefeated seasons and even a Heisman Trophy.

October 31, 1970: Penn State 42, West Virginia 8

This Halloween clash marked the first time Bowden and Paterno met as head coaches on the field. The game, which was played at Penn State, featured Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell in the backfield. The rushing duo proved to be a constant headache for the WVU defense, effectively pounding the ball in a dominant performance. On the other side of the ball, the Nittany Lion defense, led by veterans Jack Ham and Gary Gray, shut down a Mountaineer offense that simply could not get a ground game going.

In 1970, freshmen were not eligible to play. The Nittany Lions started off 2-3, after which Paterno replaced senior Mike Cooper with sophomore John Hufnagel at QB during the sixth game, andd the Lions went 5-0 for the remainder of the season.

October 30, 1971: Penn State 35, West Virginia 7

In 1971 the Nittany Lions headed back to WVU. Once again the Harris-Mitchell duo combined with John Hufnagel paved the way for a major Nittany Lion win. Again, the PSU ground game was the key to wearing down the WVU defense. The PSU defense was led by Gray at linebacker and Frank Ahrenhold at defensive tackle and snuffed out a Mountaineer rushing game that demolished a 9-2 Boston College 45-14.

Penn State went on to an 11-1 season, beating Texas 30-6 in the Cotton Bowl. West Virginia ended up at 7-4 with no bowl game that season.

October 28, 1972: Penn State 28, West Virginia 19

This time around Hufnagel was a senior. He and John Cappelletti tossed a balanced attack at the Mountaineers. Bowden's WVU offense managed to put some drives together on a defense featuring Lion linebackers Ed O'Neil and John Skorupan. It wasn't enough, though, as the Lions shut down the 'Eers' running game in the second half.

PSU ended up 10-2, losing by a touchdown to 10-2 Tennessee in the opener and to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. West Virginia ended up 8-4, losing to N.C. State in the Peach Bowl 49-13.

October 27, 1973: Penn State 62, West Virginia 14

Cappelletti once again ran all over WVU, giving him a major boost in the Heisman race. Joey Cappelletti, John's brother, was turning 11 a few days later. During the pregame Joey, who was battling leukemia, asked John for his birthday present, saying, "Three touchdowns — no, four!"

Cappelletti pounded the Mountaineers for three first-half scores before Paterno decided to give him the day off. During halftime, another player told Paterno about Joey's wish for four scores, so Paterno sent John back in. He went on to score the fourth touchdown, sending PSU to a 12-0 season, beating Miami in the Orange Bowl.

October 26, 1974: Penn State 21, West Virginia 12

The 1974 clash was another game in Morgantown which saw two record-setting defensive performances. This time linebackers Greg Buttle, Buddy Tesner and Jim Rosecrans grabbed a combined 65 tackles (Buttle 24, Tesner 21 and Rosecrans 20) against West Virginia. All three were instrumental in shutting down the Mountaineers' running attack and supplementing a PSU offense that struggled at times. Buttle's performance gave him the PSU record for tackles in a game and helped him to get the overall record for tackles in a season with 165 that year.

This win gave Penn State a 6-1 record on its way to a 10-2 overall mark, culminating with a win over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.

October 11, 1975: Penn State 39, West Virginia 0

The final season for Bobby Bowden at West Virginia saw his best record with the Mountaineers at 9-3 and a final ranking of No. 22 in the AP poll. Penn State dished out WVU's worst loss of the season and its only shutout that year.

Buttle led the charge again in this game, although he did not have a record-setting day like in 1974. He and defensive tackle John Quinn were key in again plugging up the WVU rushing attack that knocked off Boston College, Cal, Virginia Tech and Pitt. The Lions had a balanced offense and enjoyed the short-field advantage Buttle and the defense provided.

December 28, 1990: Florida State 24, Penn State 17

Said to be the most watched inaugeral bowl game in history, the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl matched a 9-2 Penn State against a 9-2 Florida State. Led by receivers David Daniels and Terry Smith on offense, the Lions did a decent job of putting drives together and getting points on the board.

In what was a pretty even clash the Nittany Lion defense kept FSU running back Amp Lee in check, however they surrendered 107 yards on eight catches (13.4 YPC) to Lawrence Dawsey. The difference was a punt returned for a touchdown by defensive back Terrell Buckley.

That year Penn State played a schedule featuring Texas, USC, Alabama and Notre Dame and ended up ranked No. 13 with FSU at No. 7.


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