Nov 23, 1996
Penn State Wins With Last-Minute Field Goal
Brett Conway kicked a 30-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining after Michigan State's Chris Gardner missed a 33-yarder four minutes earlier as seventh-ranked Penn State improved its chances to enter the bowl alliance with a 32-29 victory.
After Gardner's miss, the Nittany Lions marched 66 yards in 12 plays to the winning kick.
Penn State (10-2) finished third in the Big Ten at 6-2, but is expected to get a bowl alliance berth ahead of Northwestern, which shared the conference crown with Ohio State.
Duane Goulborne rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown for Michigan State (6-5, 5-3 Big Ten). He dashed 34 yards for a score midway through the third quarter to put the Spartans ahead, 19-14.
But Aaron Harris went in from the 1 for his third TD of the game and Wally Richardson hit Joe Jurevicius for the two-point conversion as the Nittany Lions took a 22-19 lead into the fourth quarter.
Richardson was 21-for-31 for 281 yards, while Jurevicius had eight receptions for 117 yards.
Gardner tied it with his second field goal, a 19-yarder 78 seconds into the final period. Penn State regained the lead just over five minutes later when Curtis Enis scored on a four-yard run. Enis gained 165 yards on 28 carries and has 1,210 yards for the sixth-best season in school history.
The Nittany Lions had the lead for less than three minutes.
Quarterback Todd Schultz scored on a one-yard run with 5:58 remaining to make it 29-29. The Spartans recovered Richardson's fumble deep in Penn State territory moments later, but Gardner's field goal sailed wide left, leaving the score tied and setting the stage for Conway's heroics.
Schultz was 17-for-30 for 218 yards with Nigea Carter grabbing seven receptions for 142 yards. Sedrick Irvin rushed for 93 yards and threw a 56-yard option pass to Carter late in the second quarter to give Michigan State a 13-7 lead.
Harris, who opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 49-yard TD reception, carried it in from the 1 with 2:21 left in the second quarter, enabling Penn State to claim a 14-13 halftime edge.
The victory allowed the Nittany Lions to keep the Land Grant Trophy for the fourth straight year. Penn State also claimed its 13th 10-win regular season under coach Joe Paterno.
NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- MICHIGAN ST 3 10 6 10 29 PENN ST (7) 7 7 8 10 32 FINAL SCORING SUMMARY 1ST QTR: PNST - TD, AARON HARRIS 49 YD PASS FROM WALLY RICHARDSON (BRETT CONWAY KICK), 2:21 MICS - FG, CHRIS GARDNER 49 YD, 7:15 2ND QTR: MICS - SAFETY, 10:58 MICS - TD, NIGEA CARTER 56 YD PASS FROM SEDRICK IRVIN (DUANE GOULBOURNE RECEPTION FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION), 11:12 PNST - TD, AARON HARRIS 1 YD RUN (BRETT CONWAY KICK), 12:39 3RD QTR: MICS - TD, DUANE GOULBOURNE 34 YD RUN (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED), 8:57 PNST - TD, AARON HARRIS 1 YD RUN (JOE JUREVICIUS RECEPTION FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION), 11:36 4TH QTR: MICS - FG, CHRIS GARDNER 19 YD, 1:18 PNST - TD, CURTIS ENIS 4 YD RUN (BRETT CONWAY KICK), 6:27 MICS - TD, TODD SCHULTZ 1 YD RUN (CHRIS GARDNER KICK), 9:02 PNST - FG, BRETT CONWAY 30 YD, 14:48 NCAAF 1 2 3 4 F - - - - -- Michigan St 3 10 6 10 29 Penn St (7) 7 7 8 10 32 FINAL Penn St-Harris 49 pass from Richardson (Conway kick) Michigan St-FG Gardner 49 Michigan St-Safety Michigan St-N Carter 56 pass from Irvin (Goulbourne reception for two-point conversion) Penn St-Harris 1 run (Conway kick) Michigan St-Goulbourne 34 run (two-point conversion failed) Penn St-Harris 1 run (Jurevicius reception for two-point conversion) Michigan St-FG Gardner 19 Penn St-Enis 4 run (Conway kick) Michigan St-Schultz 1 run (Gardner kick) Penn St-FG Conway 30 Michigan St Penn St First downs 24 26 Rushed-yards 49-200 42-179 Passing yards 274 281 Sacked-yards lost 2-5 3-24 Return yards 33 2 Passes 18-33-1 21-31-0 Punts 3-40.0 6-32.5 Fumbles-lost 5-2 3-2 Penalties-yards 1-10 6-61 Time of possession 30:48 29:12
RUSHING: Michigan St-Goulbourne 23-111, Irvin 23-93, Schultz 3-minus 4. Penn St-Enis 28-165, Harris 6-23, Cleary 2-9, Eberly 1-5, Richardson 5-minus 23.
PASSING: Michigan St-Schultz 17-30-1-218, Burke 0-2-0-0, Irvin 1-1-0-56. Penn St-Richardson 21-31-0-281.
RECEIVING: Michigan St-N Carter 7-142, Irvin 3-52, D Mason 3-36, Keur 3-20, Goulbourne 2-24. Penn St-Jurevicius 8-117, Campbell 4-46, Olsommer 4-38, Enis 3-26, Harris 1-49, Cleary 1-5.
Michigan State vs. Penn State Postgame Coverage
MSU head coach Nick Saban
"I'm very proud of the way our players played and I'm very, very proud of the way our team has grown through the year. I just can't say enough about the way we played.
"Penn State is an outstanding football team, and they made the plays at the end. We didn't.
"I think it's an indication of Penn State's belief in its ability to win. That's something we don't quite have yet when we face a team this good.
"I'm frustrated we didn't win. I'm frustrated for our players because they put a heck of a lot into it and got no reward for that. There's no moral victory in this - I'm not satisfied to lose. I don't feel good about getting beat on a field goal with 12 seconds left. And I don't expect them to feel good either. If they do, we'll never win."
(On Todd Schultz's injury) "We don't know how bad the knee is. It happened right before the field goal. He just twisted it. He never got hit."
PSU head coach Joe Paterno
"There were two good football teams out there today. They (MSU) have one of the best offensive lines we've played against in a couple of years.
"It's great to bea a part of a game like this, and great to have a team as resilient as ours. That's what I like about our football team. It's been fun to be around a team like this."
Quotes From the Players
MSU QB Todd Schultz (17/30 passing for 218 yards)
"We ARE a good team. All the games we lost, we stepped on our own foot. And we could have beaten any team we played except Nebraska."
MSU WR Nigea Carter (7 catches for 142 yards, one TD)
"The locker room was quiet. There were a lot of heads down. And when people said to keep them up, even more went down.
"You don't want anyone to feel he lost the game. But I know some guys are feeling that way. And I know how they feel."
(On the HB pass from Sedrick Irvin) "Penn State's safeties were actively coming up to support the run so we thought it would work. As soon as I saw them come up I was just worried that Sedrick's arm might conk out on me. It was a nice pass."
MSU RB Sedrick Irvin (93 yards, one TD rushing and passed for one 56
"We played a team that was ranked in the Top 10 and had them beat. All I know is we're better than our record and if we can get a bowl bid, we'll explode.
"Deep down inside, we all know we lost some games we should have won. I think a lot of people thought we were going to come in here and lay down. We put up a great fight. And we could have won.
"It was very quiet after the game. Very quiet.
"The seniors got very emotional. For me, I just sat there and said 'What happened?' I was kind of sad for them, but you've got to move on."
(On passing the 1000 yard rushing mark for the season - 1,036 yards) "Did I get it? I didn't even know. It's a great accomplishment. I thought I would play a little this year, but I didn't think I'd ever get 1,000 yards."
MSU LB Reggie Garnett (five tackles, two for losses)
"We've got a long ride to the airport so I'll have plenty of time to think about today.
"It hurts. We gave them another one. Only this time there's no next year.
"Penn State's as good as any team we've played this year. They are a Top 10 team and they played like it today.
"We played a hard game and it's been like that every year with them. We knew coming in here that is we could get on top, it would go down to the wire.
"We just needed to make the plays, and we didn't. But I really believe the time will come when Michigan State will be able to do that. We've got a good defensive scheme here and we've recruited some good players who'll step up and get it done. You're constantly learning in this game, and I'm impressed with how fast the young players have picked up on things."
(On MSU's bowl possibilities) "I'm trying to be positive, and just hoping for the best. We're a team that's going to come in and give you a ballgame, no matter who you are. I hope they recognize that."
MSU LB Ike Reese (nine tackles, seven unassisted)
"I feel terrible for the seniors. And I'll feel even worse after watching the game film and seeing plays I could've made but didn't. But we've got one more game to go and we have to send them out on the right note.
"We don't know where we're going, but we'll find one. They'll see an exciting team on defense.
"We feel we should have beaten the No. 7 team in the nation in their own house. We feel we can play with anyone in the nation. Why wouldn't somebody take us?"