Two programs that
Two programs that qualified for the St. Petersburg Bowl in entirely unique fashions square off knowing that the best part of the bowl season was the extra practice that each received. Miami is the first team to lose its first six games and then win its next six games to qualify for a bowl. Mississippi State needed an Egg Bowl and some flashy APR scholastic scores to gain entrance to St. Pete. Regardless, both fan bases are glad to be here and now, it's time for the quarterbacks, Nick Fitzgerald for the Bulldogs, and Gus Ragland for the Redsk...er... RedHawks, to lead their team to a bowl victory. The game was decided by the smallest of margins so sit back, relax, and enjoy the 9th Annual St. Pete Bowl.
Rutgers defeats Central
Rutgers defeats Central Florida 45-24 in the St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL on December 19, 2009 to finish the season at 9-4. The Scarlet Knights scored touchdowns via passing, rushing, interception return, and kickoff return. (2 of 2)
Miami vastly out gained
Miami vastly out gained Penn State on the field, 445 yards to 162, with 22 first downs compared to the Nittany Lions' 8. However, the Hurricanes were hampered by 7 turnovers, including 5 interceptions of the Heisman-winning Testaverde.
The majority of the game was a seesaw battle. Miami's only touchdown was the result of a John Shaffer fumble that the Hurricanes recovered at the Penn State 23. Miami then took four plays to score the go-ahead touchdown.
The Nittany Lions responded with their only sustained drive of the night, going 74 yards in 13 plays, culminating in Shaffer's 4-yard scamper into the end zone. The halftime score was a 7-7 tie.
After Miami scored a field goal to retake the lead, Shane Conlan grabbed his second interception of the night, returning it 39 yards to the Miami 5. The first Penn State snap was fumbled, but the Nittany Lions recovered. D.J. Dozier then followed with a 6-yard run for the go-ahead touchdown.
Miami still had over 8 minutes on the clock, but fumbled on their next possession. With Penn State unable to move the ball, Miami began their last drive on their own 23 with 3:07 left in the game. A 4th-down completion to Brian Blades went for 31 yards and moved Miami into Penn State territory. With a minute left, Testaverde hit Michael Irvin at the Penn State 10. The connection put the Hurricanes inside the 5 with 45 seconds left. Even with a national championship at stake, though, Penn State linebacker Pete Giftopoulos said the Penn State defense stayed calm. "We had some great leaders -- (seniors) Shane Conlan, Timmy Johnson, Bob White," he said. "They were key character people. To not see any fear in their eyes helped me as a junior and helped the other players to play the game. ... Nobody was losing it in the huddle, nobody was screaming. Everyone was like, 'Here's the play; let's do it.'"
On second-and-goal, Testaverde dropped back, but Tim Johnson broke free and sacked him. On third down, Testaverde threw incomplete into the flat. On fourth-and-goal, with 18 seconds left, Testaverde threw to the end zone, but was intercepted by Giftopoulos. The interception, Giftopoulos' second of the game (and Testaverde's fifth), ensured Penn State's second national title in five years.
22 million folks watched the game on NBC. Huge back in the day
Miami was so scared to play Penn St is what I'll always remember about that game
2:10:20 four words
Vinnie Testicleverde never should have won the Heisman!
Good beat evil. Amazing PSU only won by 4 after forcing 7 TOs. That's suicide.