A Fond Farewell?

Linebacker Bowman leads Lions in Senior Day victory. But will it be his final appearance at Beaver Stadium?

Navorro Bowman still doesn't know what his future holds.

One more year as a Penn State linebacker? Entering the NFL Draft as a redshirt junior? He'll most likely make his decision “soon,” he said, with consultation from his family, coaches and “whoever has the best interest in me.”

Bowman may have played his last game at Beaver Stadium Saturday in Penn State's 31-20 Senior Day win against Indiana, but he had one more gift for the 107,379 in attendance.

With the Hoosiers driving in the third quarter, and the game tied at 10-10, Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell tried to set up a screen for running back Trea Burgess. The ball bounced off Burgess' hands, into Bowman's, and with Chappell to beat -- which he did -- he gave Penn State its first lead with his 73-yard touchdown return.

Senior linebacker Sean Lee called the play the definitive turning point for the Lions. PSU went on to win, improving to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten. IU slipped to 4-7 and 1-6.

If it turns out Bowman stepped onto the Beaver Stadium field for the final time, he was satisfied with how his potential personal Senior Day went.

“Yeah, no doubt,” said Bowman, who led the Nittany Lions with 12 tackles while adding two tackles for loss and a sack. “The only thing that mattered today was a win and letting the seniors leave with a win.”

Bowman's fellow linebacker, Lee, nearly had a fitting end to his Beaver Stadium career. But the fifth-year senior's interception with less than two minutes remaining in the game was negated by a roughing the passer penalty against defensive end Kevion Latham.

Lee could not walk to the sideline for the final time after causing a turnover. Indiana scored the next play.

“I don't catch very well so the ball was thrown right at me, [I] finally caught it, and then they take it away,” Lee said with a laugh. “I don't think I'm bound to get an interception.”

For the most part the mood was emotional inside the tunnel before the Penn State seniors were introduced. Lee, however, was smiling.

“I was excited, I was just so happy,” Lee said. “We all wanted to go out on a great note. It's just so fun to play at this stadium with these fans and this university that I was just thinking of past memories, thinking about everything.”

At the end of the game, Lee and quarterback Daryll Clark, a fellow captain, each walked along the rail of the student section, slapping hands with fans. Lee took off his gloves and handed them to a student who painted his chest to look like a Lee jersey.

Clark had a rough first quarter, throwing two interceptions. He said he was not nervous, but that his first interception was a result of making sure seniors like Mickey Shuler and Andrew Quarless would have a catch. Shuler was the target. The second one, he deemed, was a poorly thrown ball.

The fifth-year senior quarterback finished 17 of 28 for 194 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Lee finished with 10 tackles. In all, 19 seniors were honored in a ceremony before the game.

While there's a chance Bowman will walk out the tunnel again, it was definitely Clark's last time playing at home and he soaked it all in.

“It was a feeling I'll never forget,” he said. “I kind of wish I wouldn't have played so badly in the first quarter. Emotionally, it hit me when we were on the bus over at Lasch [Football Building] and the bus was going a little slower than usual. All of it started to hit me, the whole season, last year's season, the whole Penn State career.”


Fight On State Top Stories