In front of a then record crowd of 85,614, Penn State jumped out to a commanding lead over No. 3 Alabama as the Nittany Lions forced six turnovers and led 34-7 in the fourth quarter.
From that point on the Tide changed, literally. Alabama would score three unanswered touchdowns to cut Penn State’s lead to 34-28.
With three minutes remaining in the game, Penn State kicker Nick Gancitano had a 43-yard field goal attempt blocked that would have put the game away for the Nittany Lions, and Alabama then had the ball on their own 49-yard line.
The Tide got to Penn State’s six-yard line with 28 seconds left. With eight seconds left quarterback Walter Lewis’ pass to tight end Preston Gothard was ruled incomplete as Gothard juggled the pass, but an offsides penalty against the Nittany Lions gave Alabama one more opportunity from the two-yard line.
On the following and final play of the game, Alabama running back Kerry Goode was stopped short of the goal line.
The two teams combined for nearly 1,100 yards of offense. Penn State’s offense was led by freshman running back D.J. Dozier who rushed for 163 yards on only 17 carries on the day, and quarterback Doug Strang who was 13 for 21 for 241 yards passing.
Lewis led the Tide passing for 336 yards with 25 completions in 35 attempts and completing 15 of his last 18 passes. Alabama finished with 598 yards of total offense on the day but it was the last two yards they didn’t get that mattered most.