If you love a good college football game, I believe you saw one of the best last night… though for awhile it seemed like it would never end. Penn State’s 26-23 triple overtime victory over the courageous Florida State Seminoles (after a combined 5 missed kicks) was one for the ages – literally.
The Nittany Lions’ 79-year-old coaching legend Joe Paterno – after a couple of truly abominable campaigns – won redemption with a Big Ten title, an 11-1 record, and the Orange Bowl crown, by defeating 76-year-old Bobby Bowden’s squad. The two men have combined for 713 coaching victories (more than some Division I-A programs have earned in their entire history), but determining who would win No. 713 was in great suspense throughout as the Lions and ‘Noles battled intensely for field position & first downs.
PSU’s freshman kicker Kevin Kelly also won redemption after missing potential game-winning kicks in regulation and the first extra session. When he narrowly slid the 29-yard field goal through the uprights in triple overtime, the exhilaration that the game was over (at last) and that Penn State had won brought a big smile to my face.
A PSU alum (where I earned my masters degree) & State College resident for 2 years, I know just how much the life of that area revolves around Paterno and Penn State football. Hope springs eternal in Happy Valley, and today after a long and excruciating contest, all true fans raise their voices and sing:
Hail to the Lion, loyal and true,
Hail Alma Mater, with your white and blue,
Penn State forever, molder of men,
Fight for her honor, fight, and victory again!
Congrats to both sides for a well-fought struggle and to JoePa, senior QB Michael Robinson, injured All-American LB Paul Posluszny, and all the Nittany Lions for enduring to emerge victorious.
But for most fans, it’s just the prelude to tonight’s long-awaited BCS National Championship game.