PSU Earns 32nd Top 25 Ranking Under Paterno

Victories in five of its last six games, including a 20-10 decision over then-No. 17 Tennessee in the Outback Bowl Jan. 1, have earned Penn State its 32nd Top 25 ranking under Coach Joe Paterno.

The Nittany Lions were No. 24 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches poll, both of which were released early this morning.

Penn State has won 22 of its last 27 games overall, dating to the final two games of the 2004 season. Over the past two seasons, the Nittany Lions own a 20-5 mark and are one of 13 teams nationally with at least 20 combined wins in 2005 and '06.

Penn State completed a 9-4 season by earning its biggest victory of the season against the Volunteers on New Year's Day. The Nittany Lions held Tennessee, which lost to national champion Florida by one point during the regular season, to a season low 10 points and just 83 rushing yards, forcing three turnovers in the big win.

Tennessee became the seventh consecutive opponent, and 10th overall, to score 17 or fewer points against the Nittany Lions this season. Penn State allowed only three touchdowns over the last 25 quarters of the campaign.

The Nittany Lions won nine or more games for the 26th time under Paterno.

The Volunteers were one of five Penn State opponents to earn a spot in the final 2006 rankings: Ohio State (2/2), Wisconsin (7/5), Michigan (8/9), Notre Dame (17/19) and Tennessee (25/23). Penn State will play all but Tennessee during the 2007 season.

Penn State has earned 21 Top 10 finishes under Paterno. The Nittany Lions, who were No. 3 after an 11-1 campaign in 2005, have 13 Top 5 finishes under the legendary coach, 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 363-121-3 record in 41 seasons, also added to his all-time bowl records. He owns a 22-10-1 mark in bowl games (68.2) and is the leader in post-season wins (22) and appearances (33). Penn State is 16-6 in New Year's bowl games under Paterno, who is the only coach to win the Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Fiesta bowls.

The Nittany Lions have the nation's top bowl winning percentage at 66.7, earning a 25-12-1 post-season record. Penn State is third nationally in bowl victories and has a 7-5 record vs. Southeastern Conference opponents in post-season games; 6-4 under Paterno.

The Nittany Lions return 15 starters for the 2007 season.


Fight On State Top Stories