Despite terrible field conditions, the 11th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions were able to pick up a sloppy 19-17 win over the No. 13 LSU Tigers at the 2010 Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Trailing 17-16 senior quarterback Daryll Clark drove the Nittany Lions down the field on a 12-play drive that took 05:57 off the clock, leading up to a 21-yard field goal from Collin Wagner with 57 seconds remaining in the game.
LSU had one final chance to score but following a four-yard completion from quarterback Jordan Jefferson to wide receiver Brandon LaFell at the Penn State 45 yard, the offense was called for a personal foul penalty.
Two plays later, Rueben Randle fumbled a 25-yard reception that was recovered by Penn State.
“I thought it was a heck of a football game,” Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said in a media release. “And I thought the LSU kids never gave in, and it was who had the ball last, I think.
“They did a great job on the goal line, and overcame some things.”
For most of the game Penn State was able to adapt to the field conditions. They held the ball for nearly 40 minutes of the game but the team’s inability to score touchdowns gave them 16-3 lead late into the third quarter. Wagner was 4-for-4 on kicks.
On three different drives Penn State was inside the LSU 10-yard line but settled for field goals.
“The only thing about it that’s frustrating, in a big game like this, when you’re playing against somebody like LSU, you have to cash in,” Clark said. “You have to score a touchdown when you have an opportunity.
“Because they have so much fire power on offense, you know, anything can happen.”
The lone touchdown came in the first quarter when Clark hit wide receiver Derek Moye for 37 yards. Clark finished his collegiate career on an 18-for-35 afternoon with 216 passing yards and a touchdown pass.
The Penn State defense held the LSU run game to only 41 yards, under their average of nearly 130 per game. The Tigers also turned the ball over three times.
LSU finally put together a sustainable drive with seconds remaining in the third quarter. On 2nd and 2 from the 24-yard line, Jefferson found LaFell crossing the middle of the field to close the deficit to 16-10.
Momentum stuck with the Tigers and on their ensuing possession took the lead for the first time in the game. Fullback Stevan Ridley ran in from 1-yard out to give LSU a 17-16 lead with 12:49 remaining in the game.
For Paterno it was his 24th bowl game victory, more than any coach in history. Les Miles suffered his first bowl blemish since he took over at LSU five-years ago.
The Florida Citrus Bowl surface was at the center of criticism on Tuesday night for the conditions at the Champs Sports Bowl where Miami running back Graig Cooper suffered a serious injury. The turf was in bad condition three days later for the battle of the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference (SEC).
"That was by far the worst field conditions I've ever seen in my life,” Lafell said. “For them to say this is the best bowl outside the BCS, I would expect to play on the best field outside the BCS."
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