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MnB B1G Preview: Know Your Foe - Penn State Edition

Another new coach, another reset on the public's perception of a university that is the pride of an entire state. Two decades ago, Penn State was invincible, a newly-minted Big Ten member, but that's all gone. The Nittany Lions are nevertheless a fascinating place, despite the void left by its departed days of past glory. It's Know Your Foe: Penn State.


THE LONE MOST-MEMORABLE JOE PATERNO MOMENT OF ALL TIME: "Come to Penn Staaaate!" Exclaims Paterno. That was a different time, and not just for Penn State. There's not much left for a positive legacy on Paterno, but the more remarkable thing is that eight of the coaches in this video are no longer at those schools, either by way of firing or moving to other schools.

PENN STATE'S NOTABLE ALUMNI LIST IS LESS THAN GREAT. It may not be a great sales pitch to tell potential recruits and students, "Hey kids! Come to the place where Matt Millen, Todd Blackledge, and the guy from Key & Peele went!" That is the actual extent of recognizable names that could be found. Oh boy...

MICHIGAN ONCE HAD PENN STATE'S NUMBER YEAR AFTER YEAR: One wouldn't know it from the last couple seasons, but Michigan handed the Nittany Lions some decisive thrashings in the 90's and 00's. Most remember the 1997 blowout solely because it was part of the undefeated season. The following year, Michigan blanked PSU. The most memorable to me was the 1999 game in Happy Valley. King of Comebacks Tom Brady erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit. It began a stretch of consecutive comeback victories against Penn State, and each one felt sweeter than the previous version.

BEAVER STADIUM HAS TRIED AND FAILED TO OVERTAKE THE MICHIGAN ATTENDANCE RECORD: The facility itself, named for James Beaver, a former board of trustees president, came very close to overtaking Michigan Stadium in seating capacity. This was back a few years ago when it expanded to just over 106,000 and Michigan had not yet built their luxury suites. However, they did beat Michigan in amount of time it took to build lights. Still, the football program has come a long way since playing on a 500-person capacity field on the far side of campus.

PENN STATE HAS A FAIR AMOUNT OF COOL CAMPUS URBAN LEGENDS: Of course, they're hard to verify, but a collection of stories get passed down to each generation of Nittany Lions (think Michigan's dreaded "Don't Step on the Bronze M" superstition). Everything from free bus rides if hit by one to fraternity brothels to mysterious tunnel networks. Oh, and some people think serial killer Ted Bundy murdered a student in the library stacks in the Sixties.

SURPRISINGLY, ONLY ONE PENN STATE PLAYER HAS A HEISMANJohn Cappelletti, a running back on Penn State's unbeaten 1973 team, had a stellar year. 1,522 yards in '73 and 1,117 the year prior, and he only played the position those two years. Before that, he was a defensive back. In the Heisman voting, he won three of the regions, and three Ohio State players were on the list of six finalists. Cappellitti beat out Archie Griffin and even Lynn Swann, so he was that good.