Orange Bowl: Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's crazy 26-23 win over the Seminoles here Tuesday night, a victory that fittingly capped an improbable 11-1 season for the Nittany Lions.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Our game breakdown:

MAN OF THE HOUR: Have to go with Penn State senior QB Michael Robinson, who once again came through when the game was on the line.

TURNING POINT: When holder Jason Ganter noticed the FSU defense overloading the right side, he called off a planned fake field goal pointed in that direction in triple overtime. His audible led to Kevin Kelly's 29-yard game-winner.

NUMBERS GAME: The game covered 4:45 of real time. Talk about a marathon.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Austin Scott, relegated to a reserve role all season, replaced an injured Tony Hunt early and rushed for 110 yards.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Willie Reid's Orange Bowl record 87-yard punt return for a TD awakened a sluggish Seminole team and crowd in the second quarter.

WHAT'S UP WITH: Kelly picking an inopportune time to struggle, missing two potential game-winners before making the final one?

CATCHING ON: WR Ethan Kilmer's strong vertical was on display when he went high over Tony Carter for a 24-yard TD just before the teams headed to the locker room. It gave State a 14-13 lead.

HIT SQUAD: Standout FSU LB Buster Davis creamed Lion wideout Jordan Norwood in the second overtime. Norwood hung on to the ball.

BLOCK PARTY: FB BranDon Snow cracked back on a defensive end to free up Robinson for an early 25-yard flip to Kilmer. It gave PSU momentum on the game's first touchdown drive. Snow was knocked form the game with an injury in the second half and it hurt the Lion running game.

HEADS-UP: Wideout Deon Butler made a great open-field tackle after FSU cornerback Tony Carter picked off a Robinson bomb late in the first quarter. Butler is a converted DB himself.

A LEG UP: Jeremy Kapinos hit a 54-yard punt that went out of bounds at the FSU 3 late in the first half. It led to a quick three and out and the Lions responded with a short-field TD (see Kilmer note above).

HIDDEN HERO: Norwood had six catches for a game-high 110 yards.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: How big was FSU kicker Gary Cismesia's missed extra point in the second quarter?


• That PSU star freshman receiver Derrick Williams dressed for the game and warmed up but did not play? Williams broke his arm in the Oct. 15 Michigan game.

Paul Cronin, allegedly banished from the team during the season for off-field issues, made a surprise appearance in the third quarter and played the rest of the way as a dime back.

• That there was no horse on the field before the game? Traveler, an FSU mascot typically ridden by Chief Osceola, drew the ire of Lion coach Joe Paterno prior to the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl game between these two schools in this very stadium.

• The SWAT snipers who took up spots around the stadium prior to the game?

• That PSU Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti, inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Honor prior to the game, received a huge ovation from the pro Penn State crowd?

• That Todd Blackledge, Cuncho Brown, Ki-Jana Carter, Jimmy Cefalo, Shane Conlan, David Daniels, Chafie Fields, Brian Gelzheiser, Reggie Givens, Shelly Hammonds, Leonard Humphries, Bryant Johnson, Larry Johnson, David Macklin, O.J. McDuffie, Rich McKenzie, Vin Stewart, Blair Thomas and Leroy Thompson were among the other former Lions in the house?

UNANSWERED QUESTION: When are we going to get a college football playoff?


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