April 27, 2011

10 Minutes Or Less: 1991 Penn State vs. Cincinnati (aka 81-0)

Oh, the glory days of Tony Sacca.
Ah yes, the early 90's: Back when mullets, grunge music, and thick glasses were acceptable. It was also a time period before the enaction of the NCAA's 85 scholarship limit, which meant that the more prestigious programs could stockpile talent like it was the Cold War arms race. This in turn, left the smaller programs forced to pick up whatever meager talent scraps they could find, often leading to utter mismatches against said prestigious programs in which the smaller program knew they were doomed before even setting foot onto the field.

Such was the case when Cincinnati came to Happy Valley for Penn State's 1991 home opener. Long before the Bearcats tasted BCS bowl stardom, their program was a traveling punching bag that would accept significant sums of money to get slaughtered in stadiums of teams which had more talent on their third string than Cincy's starters. Everyone expected PSU to deliver a shellacking as a tune-up before a tough road test at USC the following week. Nobody however, could fathom the sheer domination PSU would lay upon the Bearcats: 484 yards rushing, 222 passing, fourth string quarterback John Sacca avoiding what should've been an easy sack for Cincnnati and scampering 80 yards for the touchdown that gave Penn State 81 points to Cincy's zero. It was (and still remains) the largest margin of victory in the Paterno era and the second highest point total in one game, only behind a 109-7 win over Lebanon Valley in 1920 [Insert obligatory joke about JoePa having played in said game here].

This was the first PSU game I can recall watching in any way, shape, or form. I was merely seven years old and was finally becoming cognizant of the aura that is Penn State football. I didn't realize at the time of course, just how rare of a feat this team accomplished by putting up as many points as they did. Now, 20 years later, thanks to modern technology, I can share this feat with the entire Internet. Enjoy.

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  1. Great piece and video, but I take umbrage with this:

    "Ah yes, the early 90's: Back when mullets, grunge music, and thick glasses were acceptable."

    They aren't anymore?? Well, mullets aren't. But I'll be damned if I'm going to be judged listening to Pearl Jam in my converted Wayfarers.

  2. It's funny they start out mentioning the upper deck. I was at that game in the upper deck in the last row. Ah memories...

  3. First game I ever attended. My dad said to me "Don't get too used to something like that." Then a few years later 63-14 happened...

  4. Yeah, that was a fantastic choice to include the feature on the North Deck.

  5. My mouth literally hurt for hours after this game.

    (from playing the fight song so many times on the trumpet. Shut up.)

  6. Playing the trumpet involves lots of blowing.