December 30, 2010

10 Minutes or Less: 1996 Outback Bowl

Penn State is no stranger to the Outback Bowl. This Saturday's clash with Florida will be the Nittany Lions' fourth trip to Tampa, the fourth time facing an SEC opponent in the game. But today we're taking you back 15 years, to Penn State's first time playing in the Outback Bowl.

The Nittany Lions were coming off a stressful 12-0 season, in which they were denied a national title by the nation's sportswriters and coaches. Many of the core players from that 1994 squad had returned for 1995 in Happy Valley, but a few of the biggest stars were on to the NFL. Penn State had struggled on both defense and offense--compared to the stellar performance a year prior--and lost three games for an 8-3 overall record and No. 15 ranking coming into the 1996 Outback Bowl. But the offensive line, fullbacks, wide receivers, and defensive line were strengths of the team, and all would play a huge part on New Years Day.

The Tigers were just off probation, and in a bowl game for the first time in five seasons. Head coach Tommy Bowden was one of the hottest names in the sport, leading Auburn to its own 8-3 record in the SEC. One of the most explosive offenses in the nation, Auburn was racking up nearly 40 points per game coming into the Outback Bowl.

It was the first year that the Outback Steakhouse restaurant chain sponsored this bowl game, which was known the year prior as the All-American Bowl. Enjoy...

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1 comment:

  1. We don't usually have games that are completely over in the third quarter. SEC speed, my ass.