Joe Paterno: Remembering Joe Pa's Biggest Wins Against the SEC

Jeremy Hillman@@SECpigskinContributor IJanuary 23, 2012

Joe Paterno: Remembering Joe Pa's Biggest Wins Against the SEC

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    With the passing of legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno, people are remembering him, in part, for a long and successful college football coaching career.

    While those connected to Penn State University will have the most to reflect on and mourn this week, Joe Pa made a deep impact on the game of college football and will be remembered in all regions of the country.

    It is no different in the South, as SEC fans recall the great games where Paterno led the Nittany Lions against the top teams of the Southeastern Conference.

    As a matter of fact, Joe Paterno coached in 31 games versus an SEC foe in his career.

    He had a respectable 14-17 record in those games.

    Take Alabama out of the record, and Paterno had an impressive 10-7 record against SEC opponents.

    To have a solid record against the top conference in the nation is something to be respected.

    To celebrate his success, the following slideshow will list the five biggest wins by Joe Paterno and Penn State since he took over the reigns in State College, Penn. in 1966...

2010 Capital One Bowl

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    Penn State 19 LSU 17

    In this bowl game win for Penn State, Joe Paterno confirmed for everyone that he was still able to lead the Nittany Lions to big wins.

    As a matter of fact, he extended his own record for bowl wins to 24 with a victory over LSU in this Capital One Bowl.

    It was Les Miles' first bowl loss in his last six tries.

    The Penn State defense was tough and hard-hitting, a staple under Paterno, and held LSU to 41 rushing yards in the game.

    The Nittany Lions kicked the game-winning field goal with 57 seconds left in the ball game.

1985: Alabama at Penn State

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    Penn State 19, Alabama 17

    Going into this huge game in College Station, both teams were ranked in the top 10 in the nation. It was a big out-of-conference clash.

    It was a close game that went down to the wire, and clock management and ball security were key.

    In the end, the Nittany Lions edged out undefeated Alabama and earned a spot in the national title game against Oklahoma.

    Paterno, with conservative play-calling, bested Alabama coach Ray Perkins in this matchup.

1994 Citrus Bowl

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    Penn State 31 Tennessee 13

    Tennessee, a team that felt they should be in a better bowl game after a 9-1-1 regular season, was a big 10-point favorite over Penn State in this Citrus Bowl.

    The Vols then went out and took a 10-point lead in the first quarter. It looked as if this would be the mismatch the media and sports books expected.

    However, Paterno and the Lions felt disrespected by Tennessee and oddsmakers, making Penn State out to be a lesser opponent.

    In what included a passionate halftime speech by Paterno, Penn State fought back and scored the final 21 points of the game to win, 31-13.

    Paterno coached up his underdogs better than Phil Fulmer was able to coach up his favored Vols.

1996 Outback Bowl

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    Penn State 43 Auburn 14

    This was the first year of the Outback Bowl, a game in Tampa previously known as the Hall Of Fame Bowl.

    Auburn had finished the year 8-3 against a tough Southeastern Conference schedule and came into the Outback with hopes of a ninth win on the season.

    It was pouring rain before and during this Outback Bowl. As a matter of fact, Tampa received over six inches of rain this New Year's Day.

    In what has been labeled the "Mud Bowl" in the past, a sloppy Auburn team not only failed to reach nine wins, they were beaten badly by a focused and well coached Penn State squad.

    The Nittany Lions racked up an impressive 487 yards of offense and put up 43 points.

    Paterno earned the victory in what was opposing coach Terry Bowden's first bowl game as a coach.

1983 Sugar Bowl

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    Penn State 27 Georgia 23

    In the biggest win of Joe Paterno's career, this Sugar Bowl win gave the Lions a national championship.

    The game was close and was a battle to the very end.

    It was No. 1 Georgia versus No. 2 Penn State.

    In the final drive of the game for the Penn State offense, the Georgia offense, which was a dangerous unit that could score quickly, waited on the sideline to get the ball back and attempt a game winning drive.

    It came to a 3rd-and-3 with little time left on the clock, and Paterno stepped in to make the offensive call.

    The typical call for conservative Joe Pa would be to run the ball in this situation. Instead, he called for the pass.

    Because they were expecting a run, the Georgia defense gave up a six yard pass.

    That allowed the Lions to run the clock out and for Paterno and his team to celebrate a national title.