1974 Orange Bowl
|1974 Orange Bowl|
|Date||January 1, 1974|
|MVP||QB Tom Shuman (Penn State)|
DT Randy Crowder (Penn State)
|Favorite||Penn State by 5 points|
|Referee||James M. Artley (SEC)|
(split crew: SEC and ECAC)
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Jim Simpson and Kyle Rote|
The 1974 Orange Bowl took place on January 1, 1974, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. It featured the LSU Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the independent Penn State Nittany Lions.
The Tigers won their first nine games of the season and seemed to be heading to a SEC title when they lost to Alabama, 21–7, at home. A loss to Tulane the following week, the first victory for the Green Wave over the Tigers since 1948 (LSU was 22–0–2 vs. its in-state rival in between), only added to the frustration in Baton Rouge.
LSU's mowt recent appearance at the Orange Bowl was three years earlier in January 1971, a 17–12 loss to national champion Nebraska. The Tigers won this bowl game in January 1962, 25–7 over Colorado in the final game for Paul Dietzel as LSU head coach.
Penn State, which completed its third perfect regular season since 1968, had their first Heisman Trophy winner with running back John Cappelletti. The Nittany Lions were aiming to end 1973 the same way they did 1968 and 1969, by winning in Miami. The Lions nipped Kansas 15–14 in the 1969 Orange Bowl and stymied Missouri 10–3 the next year.
Steve Rogers gave LSU an early lead on his touchdown run, but Penn State responded with a field goal by Chris Bahr by the end of the first quarter to make it 7–3. Early in the second quarter, Chuck Herd caught a 72 yard pass from Tom Shuman for a touchdown to give the Nittany Lions a lead they did not relinquish as Penn State added on with a Cappelletti run to have a 16–7 halftime lead. The only scoring in the second half came on a safety as the Tigers could not muster up points despite out-gaining the Nittany Lions by over 90 yards.
The Tigers did not finish higher than third in the SEC until 1982, which resulted in them gaining smaller bowl invites during that time. LSU stumbled to 5–5–1 in 1974 and 4–7 in 1975, its only non-winning seasons during Charles McClendon's 18-year tenure in Baton Rouge (1962–79).
LSU has played in the Orange Bowl only once since, losing 21-20 to Nebraska in 1983, the Tigers' second loss to the Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl, and the first of three losses in major bowl games between the teams over five seasons.
With the win, the Nittany Lions were 12–0 and had their third undefeated season in six years. However, they finished fifth in the final Associated Press poll behind Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Alabama.
Penn State's next appearance in the Orange Bowl was in 1986, when the top-ranked Nittany Lions lost 25-10 to Oklahoma, costing Penn State the national championship and allowing the Sooners to finish No. 1.
LSU and Penn State did not meet again until the 2010 Capital One Bowl, won by the Nittany Lions, 19–17. in what turned out to be Paterno's last bowl victory. He was fired in November 2011 in the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal centering on former Nittany Lion assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, and died January 22, 2012.
- "Lions dump LSU, 16-9 in Orange". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). UPI. January 2, 1974. p. 15.
- "Lions 'catch' LSU". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. (Florida). Associated Press. January 2, 1974. p. 4B.
- Fanning, Jim (October 16, 2018). "Did You Know? Eight Golden Anniversary Facts About Disney's 50 Happy Years Celebration". D23. D23.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.