Penn State capped an 11-1 season with a dramatic 26-23 triple overtime victory over ACC Champion Florida State Tuesday in the FedEx Orange Bowl in Dolphins Stadium. Freshman Kevin Kelly kicked the game winning 29-yard field goal to capture the first triple overtime game in BCS and Penn State history to the delight of the estimated 35,000-40,000 Penn State fans in the stadium.
The Nittany Lions won their fifth straight game and earned their 13th season of at least 11 wins under Paterno. Only a last second touchdown by Michigan separated Penn State from its sixth undefeated season under Paterno.
Penn State earned its 30th Top 20 finish under Paterno and its 21st finish in Top 10 undcr the legendary coach. Also, the Nittany Lions finished No. 3 or higher for the ninth time under Paterno, including national championships in 1982 and '86 and undefeated teams in 1968, '69 and '94. The 12-0 squad in 1973 was No. 5 in the final polls.
Paterno, who owns a 354-117-3 record in 40 seasons, also added to his all-time bowl records. He owns a 21-10-1 mark in bowl games and is the leader in post-season wins (21) and appearances (32). His 67.2 winning percentage is third-best all-time among coaches with at least 11 bowl appearances.
Penn State improved to 12-4 under Paterno in the bowl games comprising the Bowl Championship Series. The Nittany Lions have won at least one game at a BCS bowl in each of the past five decades. Penn State is 15-6 in New Year's bowl games under Paterno, who is the only coach to win the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls.
Penn State's fourth victory in five Orange Bowl appearances also lifted the Nittany Lions back to the top nationally in bowl winning percentage. The Lions have a 24-12-1 post-season record for a winning percentage of 66.2. Georgia Tech is second (22-12, 64.7) and Southern California is third (28-16, 63.6).
Penn State is tied for third nationally in bowl wins (24) with Tennessee.
Three Penn State opponents from this season also finished in the Top 25: Ohio State (4), Wisconsin (15) and Florida State (23). Five other opponents also were ranked during the course of the 2005 season.