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Penn State Football: Reliving Some Of The Top Moments in Penn State/Nebraska History

by on November 21, 2013 12:50 PM

A rivalry isn't a rivalry without some controversy, upsets and revenge. While younger Penn State fans may consider Ohio State to be Penn State's biggest rival, the argument could be made that Nebraska is in fact near or at the top of the list for Penn State. The Nittany Lions and the Cornhuskers have faced off only 15 times with Penn State winning 7 of those contests. But few of those wins or losses have come easy or without some sort of controversy. Here are just a few of the big moments in games between the two teams.

2012: Crossing The Plane: In 2012 Penn State seemingly had scored the go-ahead touchdown thanks to the outstretched arm of Matt Lehman, but the play was ruled a fumble. That call came with 7:39 to go in the game. Nebraska would hold on to win 32-23. The video leaves little to the imagination but the ruling on the field was confirmed as a fumble.

1982: It's A Catch?: With national title hopes on the line and only 13 seconds to go in the game, No. 8 ranked Penn State was knocking on the doorstep of No. 2 Nebraska only 20 yards from the endzone. Quarterback Todd Blackledge would put a little too much into a pass to Nittany Lion Mike McCloskey who would catch the ball seemingly out of bounds. The referees ruled in Penn State's favor, setting up a 2-yard TD pass with 9 seconds left. Penn State took the lead and won the game 27-24.

2002: Richard Gardner Down The Sideline: Penn State hadn't faced Nebraska since 1983 but the Nittany Lion faithful had plenty of reason to get excited for the 2002 meeting. After an undefeated season in 1994, Penn State was snubbed in all of the final polls. Nebraska ended the season ranked No.1 and honored with the national title. So in 2002 it was time for Penn State to vanquish the demons. After a fumble was called back that would have given Penn State the ball up 19-7 in the third quarter it took only two plays for Penn State cornerback Richard Gardner to intercept a pass and race down the sideline for a touchdown. It was a moment many call to be the loudest in Beaver Stadium history. Considering that it occurred in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a game in Beaver Stadium of 110,753 that's not hard to believe.

1981: Say No To Four: Penn State had lost three straight to Nebraska but entered the second week of the season ranked No. 3 in the nation and headed on the road to face No.15 Nebraska. The Nittany Lions battled back-and-forth with the Cornerhuskers before a field goal put Penn State ahead 30-24 in the fourth quarter. With Nebraska driving, Giuseppe Harris intercepted a near touchdown to give Penn State the ball back with just over four minutes to play and secure the win. It was the first of two back-to-back wins against Nebraska for Penn State.

2011: Putting It Aside: The first game that Penn State would play following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Nebraska took the field with the Nittany Lions for a moment of prayer. Penn State would lose the game 17-14 but the moments before the game will long be remembered more than any single play that happened that day. 

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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