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This day in sports history


The Greenville Standard


Forty-five years ago, Monday, Jan. 1, 1978, Alabama played Penn State in the Sugar Bowl for the National Championship. It was a classic game.

Yours truly was running balls with Richard Edgar on the Penn State sideline. I got a close look at Penn State head coach Joe Paterno.

His eye glasses were thick as Coke bottle. The game featured No. 1 Penn State vs No. 2 Alabama.

Penn State was 11-0 entering the game. Alabama was 10-1 and SEC Champions.

It was a knock down defensive game and hard hitting. With 30 seconds left in the half, the score was 0-0 and Jeff Rutledge connected with Bruce Bolton to go up 7-0 at the half.

Midway in the third quarter Penn State intercepted an Alabama pass and turned it into a touchdown, 7-7.

Lou Ikner returned a punt 62 yards to set up touchdown by Major Ogilvie and Alabama led 14-7.

The drama began with about eight minutes left in the game.

Penn State recovers a Tide fumble at the Alabama 17. On the first play, they ran for 11 yards to the Alabama 6.

On the next play, Penn State runs four yards to the Alabama two.

On second down, Don McNeal makes the play by tackling PSU receiver Scott Fitzee on the 10-inch line.

On third down, Alabama stopped Penn State for no gain. It was fourth down and Barry Krauss met Mike Guman in the hole for no gain, a classic goal line stand.

That earned Barry Krauss MVP of the Game and Alabama the National Championship.

Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, No. 4 Alabama will face No. 1 Michigan in the Rose Bowl on the path to the National Championship.


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