Nebraska v. Penn State: Instant Rivalry

by Lions4Life on June 13, 2010 · 20 comments

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Nebraska v. Penn State: Instant Rivalry
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nebraska huskers logo 150x93 Nebraska v. Penn State: Instant RivalryFor those that don’t remember, and considering most reading this blog are Penn State fans how can you not, but Nebraska won the 1994 National Championship (pre-BCS) rather than Penn State.  Instantly, the vast majority of the Nittany Nation had deep animosity towards the children of the corn.

Now, of course it is not their fault, it was the fault of the sports writers, who decided National Championships prior to the BCS.  But the Nittany Nation had to blame someone for not winning a National Championship after another undefeated season, including a Rose Bowl win (where may I remind you, even though the #2 Lions played a #17 Oregon Ducks team, we covered the 17 point spread), they were left with nothing to show for it (oh, except the New York Times National Championship).

What probably hurts the worst is that the precedent for many years prior was that if two national powers, from strong conferences both went undefeated, the National Championship was split (one team receiving the coaches vote and the other the AP); but this go-around Nebraska got both.  More frustrating was that when the roles were reversed just a few years later, Nebraska came into the bowl season ranked #2 (like Penn State did in 1994) and Michigan was #1.  Both won their bowl games, just like 1994, but because Tom Osborne (Nebraska’s coach was retiring); the Cornhuskers got a share of the National Championship.

The display of Penn State fans anger, justified or not, was clearly on display when a ranked Nebraska team came into Happy Valley on an early fall evening for a night game in Beaver Stadium back in 2002.  The Nittany Lions had come off a few tough years (losing seasons) and for all intense and purposes were given little chance against the Cornhuskers.

The fans were very anxious for this one, “settling the score for ’94” was the theme of the weekend.  And unfortunately, I saw some pretty intense behavior towards Cornhusker fans that ultimately I was not very proud of.  And honestly, fans of the Cornhuskers are probably some of the nicest fans in the nation.  The Lions stunned the Cornhuskers and put together a solid victory, 40-7 and a rivalry was born.

 Nebraska v. Penn State: Instant Rivalry

Now that Nebraska has joined the Big Ten, in all likelihood the two teams will not be in the same ‘division’ of the conference (see a blog in the very near future about that topic), but will probably play each other every 4-6 years.   And of course, could meet in a new conference championship game, which imagine will be in Chicago. penn state tickets logo Nebraska v. Penn State: Instant Rivalry

I see future Penn State v. Nebraska games as huge events for Penn State fans, as they continue to see Nebraska as the team which prevented them from their third National Championship game.  On the other hand, I think Cornhusker fans will simply see the games vs. Penn State as another game in a new conference against a proud and storied program, with a legendary coach (if he is still coaching, of course he will be).

Until next time, We are Penn State.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy P. June 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

1994 Nebraska would have dismantled the Nittnay Lions of 1994. Why? The biggest reason? The Nebraska defense!

“What probably hurts the worst is that the precedent for many years prior was that if two national powers, from strong conferences both went undefeated, the National Championship was split (one team receiving the coaches vote and the other the AP); but this go-around Nebraska got both. More frustrating was that when the roles were reversed just a few years later, Nebraska came into the bowl season ranked #2 (like Penn State did in 1994) and Michigan was #1. Both won their bowl games, just like 1994, but because Tom Osborne (Nebraska’s coach was retiring); the Cornhuskers got a share of the National Championship.”

Lets examine that above paragraph for what it really was. So, Nebraska was awarded a share of the 1997 title because Tom Osborne was retiring? oh pleeeaaasee. Nebraska has always been about the least respected teams among the voting sportswriters. Let me tell you why Nebraska got a share of the 1997 title and it has nothing to do with Tom Osborne retiring.

Over in the Rose Bowl in January of 1998, we have Michigan struggling terribly to beat a WSU team led by Ryan “Crying” Leaf. Michigan needed some peculiar clock management at end of game to take a way a final opportunity at the win for Leaf and WSU.

And over in the Orange Bowl in Miami, against a much much better, more highly ranked Tennessee team, than what Mich saw in Rose Bowl, a Tenn with P. Manning, J. Lewis, A. Wilson, L. Little and numerous other future NFL players, we have Nebraska up 42-9 with under 2:00 minutes left in the 4th qtr! The beat down of a highly ranked Tenn. team is why Nebraska was given a share of the title and not because Osborne was retiring. The bowl results give a REAL ACCURATE indication of what happen if 97 Michigan had found themselves on the same filed with 97 Nebraska. you seem to forget or ignore that little fact that Nebraska took a very good team to the FREAKING WOODSHED and Michigan looked far far from dominant. I think we all know, that Tenn would have whooped that WSU ass!

I know you’re like all PSU fans and probably upset that 1994 PSU dropped in polls after winng games during the 94 season. Well, guess what.. That happened to Nebraska first. Nebraska dropped in the polls from #1 to #2 in the 3rd week of the season after a 26 point win over TT in Lubbock. And they dropped in the polls to 3 after a 11 point victory over a #17 KSU team in Manhattan that saw Nebraska start a 3rd team QB due to injuries. And win with 4-5 plays and the defense knew what was coming. LP left, LP right, LP up the middle, screen to LP.

Funny thing is.. No one will ever know how good the 94 Nebraska team was or how dominant they may have been because of injuries to several key players and they still won the National Championship! The best QB/RB combination Frazier/Phillps to maybe ever play at Nebraska never played a full year together because of Frazier bloodclots in 94 and Phillips issues in 95, yet they still won national Championships both years! Phillips is hands down the best running back to ever play at Nebraska, and Frazier might be the best QB to ever play at Nebraska. if Frazier and Phillips had played a full year in 94 together, some of those games that are close, are BLOWOUTS! You see.. Frazier and Phillips were a nightmare for defensive coordinators! Frazier missed 8 games in 94, defenses knew the offense would still be LArence Phillips and Phillips still runs for nearly 1800 yards! Oh, and I haven’t yet mentioned that the 94 offensive line was one of the best ever at Nebraska. That Nebraska o line, with phillips, and Frazier running behind them following a 14 year NFL starter at FB in Cory Schlessinger would have killed the 94 Lions pillow soft defense. Frazier and Phillips would have ran circles around that PSU defense!

oh and then the 94 Nebraska defense! Don’t tell me about how many stars or future NFL players 94 PSU had. 94 Colorado came to Lincoln with an offense filled with future NFL players, Qb. K. Stewart, RB. and 94 Heisman winner R. Salaam, TE. C. Fauria, WR’s Carruth and Westbrook, G H. irwin and other future NFL lineman. how many points did CU score that day?

7! 7! 7! 7!

on e td with all that talent and those future NFL players!

Oh, and by the way.. The 94 Nebraska defense was also without the services of a future NFL starting safety, Mike Minter after the second game of the year and they still might have been the best defense in the country! FYI.. Defense wins championshsips!

94 Nebrask would kill the 94 Nittany lions. The problem is the 94 PSU defense. With a healthy Frazier and Phillips, and a full games dose of these two behind that o line, the PSU defense would have trouble getting off the field! Long drive after long drive with many big runs mixed in.

94 Nebraska 35+ 94 PSU 20-24 and that is being generous!


TheKurgan September 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm

You’re high. Penn State would beat Nebraska by 30 points. Nebraska was soft that year, playing two Division II teams. Penn State had four players drafted in the first round, and would probably have been a .500 team in the NFL.

1994 Penn State is the greatest college football team ever, and no amount of Nebraska fans sitting in the corner with fingers in their ears going LALALALALALALALA is going to change that fact.


Ryanhowardfromtheoffice October 13, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Nebraska didn’t play 2 Div II teams that year, what are you talking about? Pacific was are cupcake 1-AA team we schedauld to beat the crap out of. 1994 Penn State had Rutgers and Temple on the schedule, not to mention Indiana and Minnesota. NU played #24 West Virginia, #13 UCLA, #16 Kansas State #2 Colorado and #3 Miami. We gave #2 Colorado it’s only loss that year and they had the Heisman winner on that team and 9 NFL draft picks plus they won the Fiesta Bowl that year. Miami lost it’s 2nd game that season in the Orange Bowl vs Nebraska and they had Warren Sapp on that team. Nebraska’s closest game that whole season was a 24-17 win, all their other wins were by double didgets, yet Penn State beat Indiana by 5 points and Illinois by only 3 points.And on top of it all Nebraska doesn’t claime the 1982 National Championship even though they were named the National Champions by several polls, more than 1970 Ohio State who claims the National Title because NFF poll named them the Champions. 1982 Nebraska lost one game that year,check that, they were screwed and as a result lost 1 game in 1982 to PENN STATE! and we don’t claim that title, I mean, we did win the Orange Bowl that year and went 12-1 yet we let you have your National Title Penn State, so let us have ours.


Reality December 23, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Nebraska didn’t play any Div II teams. You’re opinion is at least partially based on a incorrect information.

Penn State would have struggled to beat Nebraska, Miami and several other teams that year. They had a great offense but a less than average defense.


Andy P. March 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm

YOu are a clown. There is no college team ever that could join the NFL as that said college team and be .500. Wow!

Speaking of the schedules of 94 Nebraska and 94 Penn State;

PSU was 12-0 vs opponents that finished with an overall record of 70-65-4 .51799%
NU was 13-0 vs teams with an overall record of 78-71-3 .52303%

PSU had 8 teams it defeated, win at least half their games
NU had 9

PSU had no teams it defeated win more than 9 games (PSU played a bunch of mediorce to at best, barely above average, football teams in 94 and struggled to beat several of them.)
NU had 2 teams win more than 9 games CU and Miami.

PSU played 4 teams during the reg. season that went to bowls
NU played 5

PSU was 4-0 against ranked teams, #5,12,14,21 (AP game time)
NU was 5-0 against ranked teams, at #2, 3,13,16,24 (AP game time)

Tougher conference?
Big 8s record vs the Big 10 that year – 4-2, including wins vs Michigan and Wisconsin


Andy P. March 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm

“Nebraska was soft that year.”

Here’s a little something from that “soft” Nebraska team of 1994. Much of the video includes highlights of the 94 defense. Pay special attention to what happened to the Wyoming QB at 1:50 of the aforementioned video.

A slow footed, stand in the pocket, can’t move to avoid pressure qb, sort of like K. Collins.


Joe June 24, 2010 at 9:52 am

The 1994 Ohio State team had 8 players drafted in the 1995 draft (3 first round, none later than 5th). Plus Orlando Pace, Eddie George, Terry Glenn, Shawn Springs, Mike Vrabel were on the team as well.

Penn State beat Ohio State 63-14 that year.

You can’t say Penn State had no chance. Both Penn State and Nebraska were great that year. Splitting the National Title was the logical answer with the terrible system that existed.


Andy P. June 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

If 94 PEnn State deserves a split National Championship…Then Turner Gill, Mike Rozier, Dave Remington, Roger Craig, Tom Osborne and Nebraska deserve the 1982 National Championship rings that Blackledge, JoePa and Co wear for that EPIC, DIRTY screw job that cost Nebraska the game in Happy Valley in 1982 and turned out to cost Nebraska the 1982 National Championship.


name September 2, 2010 at 8:13 am

what dirty screw job? where the REF “blew” the call? now i’ve only seen youtube videos of that catch, and i can’t tell what happened. nor do i know if there were “going out” rules, i.e. it canbe ruled a catch even if you land oob. that being said, if the catch was bad, then yes, PSU didn’t win, BUT that’s not their fault. that’s the ref’s. additionally, if NU is so great, they would have prevented the TD inspite of the previous catch.

but still…if the roles were reversed, wouldn’t NU do the same thing?


Andy P. June 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm

If the OSU team and the OSU defense was the best team that Penn State faced in 94, which they may have been, but they were a 4 loss team.

Lets see… That leaves some interesting and logical questions.

PSU scored 60+ on OSU.

So, if OSU was as great as you claim, why not 50 on Indiana? why not 45 on Michigan? Why not 60 on Temple? Why not 70 on Rutgers?

Don’t tell me that Joe took players out and didn’t want to post a big score on anyone. he did it to OSU! Why not the others?

because OSU was an overated joke, especially on defense.

That Penn State offense didn’t face a high quality defense all year or an offense that would trample that soft meager defense. The 94 nebraska O line leaves cleat marks up and down the chest of that pathetic 70th ranked defense. The same pathetic defense that gave up 500 yards of offense and 27 points to Rutgers. Hard enough to tackle guys like Frazier, Phillips and Co anyway, not to mention after a great offensive line tramples and trucks you. Hard to tackles those guys flat on your back.


Joe June 28, 2010 at 11:07 am

I am not saying the OSU teams or defense was the best Penn State played that year. I’m just making the point that Penn State dominated a team full of NFL draft picks, just the same as Nebraska dominated Colorado and all of their soon to be NFL draft picks.

Just because a team if full of NFL talent, doesn’t mean they are the best college team that year.

Penn State and Nebraska dominated everyone on their schedules that year. How would a split National Title not make sense for that season?

All of your gusto about about Penn State not having a chance and cleat marks and all of that babble sounds like the Miami team before the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. Go ask Vinny Testaverde, Bennie Blades, Michael Irvin and Jimmie Johnson how that worked out for them.


Andy P. July 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Yes, i can say without doubt say that 94 Nebraska dismantles that 94 PSU team. Why? That pillow soft, below average 94 Penn State defense, that’s how.

The match up with one of the best Nebraska offensive lines will be a complete and total physical failure and mismatch for the 94 Lions defense. My god! Go ask Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis and the Canes #1 rated total defense and #1 rated scoring defense. These guys gave up 230 yards rushing in an Orange Bowl when they saw less than a half of Frazier/Phillips. If the Canes get a full game of Frazier/Phillips behind that Nebraska o line they give up 350 yards rushing and those rushing yards lead to points because they did late in the game in 94 Orange Bowl. It would have only happened much sooner to the Canes #1 defense if they saw Frazier/Phillips for an entire game. Frazier/Phillips for an entire game against the #1 defense in the country and they give up 350 yards and likely 35 + points. And that’s the number 1 defense in the country, not the 70th ranked bunch of clowns.

Time of possession would have turned into a real problem for the Nittany Lions had they played the 94 Huskers. Nebraska possessed the ball for over 32 minutes against the #1 defense in the country on their home field! If Nebraska and PEnn State had played in 94 the time of possession for Nebraska would likely have been close to 40 mins, if not more because the 94 Penn State defense wasn’t strong enough, physical enough, or good enough to get the Nebraska offense off the field. Long drive after long time consuming drive that only end in the endzone! The Nittany Lion offense is on the sidelines watching for 40 mins! Quick strike Nittany Lion offense? BULLSHIT! Not against 94 Nebraska they aren’t

Penn Staters like to say that the 94 Lions offense had too many future NFL players for Nebraska. oh what you don’t know will hurt you or come back to hurt you

Um, the Nebraska defense in 94-95 on its two deep defensive roster put about 15-17 guys in the NFL and about half of those for multi year careers as front line starters.

Just accept it and be happy that Penn State can claim an unbeaten season.
Because I will give you anotehr reason why no way that 94 PSU beats 94 Nebraska.

DEPTH. Nebraska was way way deeper than Penn State. The reserves or 2nd team guys for Nebraska are the same guys that win two more national Championships over next two years.

94 PSU loses by 17 + to 94 Nebraska. Nebraska offense just monkey stomps that defense the entire second half.

94 Nebraska 35+ 94 PSU 17-21


Joe July 6, 2010 at 10:07 am

How about you actually read the counter argument here, rather than just rambling on about the same stupid points over and over.

As I pointed out with the OSU teams from those years, NFL talent does not mean the best college team. OSU had just as many NFL stars on their team those years as Nebraska and OSU was barely better than 500.

All of your arguments for why the 94 Nebraska teams beats 94 Penn State is what everyone said about the 86 Miami Hurricanes. NFL talent, depth (lost many starters including Testaverde and won the 87 National Title), better athletes, etc. etc.

The 1986 Penn State team just showed up and won. Now you’re stupid enough to say without question that the 94 Nebraska team wins? Give me a break.


Andy P. March 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm

The 94 PSU defense was very similar to that of the 95 Fl defense and that is being very very kind to 94 PSU. Very kind. Remember what 95 Frazier did tot hat FL defense??

94 and 95 Nebraska were nearly the same exact team, especially on offense. Fl got a Frazier that the 94 Hurricanes did not, a Frazier in mid season form, a Frazier ready for game action, a rust free Frazier. Not the Frazier 3 + months removed from game action that the Hurricanes got. There was very little difference between the 94 or 95 Nebraska teams.

In the spirit of competition, if 94 NEbraska and 94 PSU had been able to play would you want both teams, all players, at the top of their game, uninjured for a true test. I would.

You see. 94 PSU didn’t have the injuries to important players to overcome now did they. Go win a road game against a top 20 team with a 3rd string QB!

Do you remember what a healthy, in mid season form, rust free, Frazier did to that FL defense from the SEC? Boy, if 94 PSu got a healthy Frazier, it would not have been pretty behind the best Nebraska O line of all time, with the best rb that ever played at NEbraska.

94 Nebraska runs away from 94 PSU and the biggest problem for 94 PSu isn’t the Cornhusker defense, it is their own defense that would not be able to slow down Frazier and Co and get them off the field. 94 Nebraska possessed the ball for bearly 35 mins over the #1 HUrricanes defense with Frazier not hmself and playing one freaking half! My god! get a grip and get a clue! I think it is safe to say that if the #1 Hurricanes defense got the “real” Frazier for an entire game that Nebraska scores 35 or more on that Hurricanes great defense. 35 on the Canes!

Over the #1 total and scoring defense! Gosh, what do they do to the 70th rated defense! Proably nearly a 2 to 1 T.O.P advantage over PSU.

94 Nebraska likely 38-41 points on that PSu defense, maybe more, maybe what happened to 95 FL one year earlier if PSu gets the “real” Frazier with LP running behind that offensive line! Probably a time of possession in the neighborhood of 40 minutes!

94 PSu 21-24 points because that offense is stuck on the sidelines watching for a 2/3 of the game!


Gary October 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Penn State was the better team in 1994, and as much as you want to argue with your little statistics, you are incorrect stating otherwise. Penn State played one less ranked team and one less game, but their overall strength of schedule was ranked higher than Nebraska’s. Yes, Nebraska played 5 teams that went to bowl games that season and Penn State played 4 bowl teams, but of the 5 teams that Nebraska played that went to bowls, only one of them won their bowl game. Of the 4 Penn State played, 3 won their bowl games. The “good” teams Nebraska played actually turned out to not be good teams at all, with only Colorado winning their bowl game that season. I know these statistics don’t fit in with your viewpoint or the argument you are trying to make, but these numbers speak volumes about the quality of opponents each team played, and Penn State’s strength of schedule was rated higher before the bowl games were even played! By the end of the season, it became that much more obvious that Penn State played a tougher schedule. The non-bowl eligible teams that PSU played were better than those Nebraska played and the teams that made bowl games that PSU played were better than those that Nebraska played. The only statistic one needs to look at is the fact that the teams Penn State played that made bowls won 75% of their bowl games while the teams Nebraska played won 20% of their bowls.


Josh June 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Andy, I have seen your posts on about 4 blogs regarding this topic and your display of animosity is absolutely unnecessary. The outcome of any game can never be statistically proven, only predicted. Both teams in ’94 were excellent and it would have been an amazing one to watch no matter the outcome.

Something that can be appreciated is that the team joining the Big 10 is a program with a great history and one that will complement the entire conference. Lets focus on today what Nebraska will add to the Big Ten rather than a quarrel over bragging rights.

PSU ’05


Tony August 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I’ll agree with you Josh, Andy P. may be going a bit over the edge as far as the ‘volume’ on his posts.

But please don’t drop the animosity card here as a GREAT number of your fans back in 2002 acted like scum and should have been arrested that night for the way they were behaving. If anyone needs to tone down the animosity here, its a great majority of your own fanbase. I know many of our fans state they will never step foot again on one of your Gamedays, which is just sad.

P.S. You still haven’t addressed Andy’s points regarding the close call wins against less than average teams during ’94 PSU’s regular season schedule.



Gary October 22, 2013 at 7:11 pm

The reason for the close calls is honestly because of Joe Paterno sitting his starters. Despite the Illinois game, Penn State never had less than a 2 touchdown lead entering the 4th quarter. The game which ended up costing Penn State was against Indiana. Joe Paterno sat his starters in the 3rd quarter with Penn State up by 3 touchdowns. Indiana went on to score 2 “garbage” touchdowns while competing against PSU’s 2nd string defense and offense. Had the starters on both sides of the ball stayed in the game one can assume more of the same would have continued, with PSU outscoring Indiana 4-1 throughout. The final would have more likely been around 55-17.


Ben July 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm

The reason that PSU beat Miami in 86 was because of what Penn St. is, all heart and even more class! It didn’t matter what rank they were in 86 and it wouldn’t have matter’d what their rank in 94 was, JoePa isGeneral Patton on that field and his men will follow him to the gates of hell as will every fan in the stands that screams at the tops of their lungs


If this conversation were about anyother team that had Penn ST,’s stats that year, your points may be valued but just like in 86, PSU would’ve come down there and if not won, then reminded Nebraska that they could bleed, and they would’ve suffered for a win………… if they won.


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