Posts tagged ‘Bobby Engram’

Twenty Years On, Still Perfect

I think I’m finally over my jet lag from five terrific days in Dublin, and just in time: There’s a home opener to be ready for.

The Nittany Lions’ meeting with Akron is notable for a few reasons, not least that it’s James Franklin’s home debut. But as both a 1995 grad and the guy who spent untold hours on the phone this past spring and summer with members of the ’94 Lions, I can tell you I’m almost as excited about the reunion of Penn State’s last undefeated team as I am about the game itself.

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Carter, Collins, and Brady, three of the stars of the unstoppable ’94 offense.

Alumni Association members by now should have their copies of our Sept./Oct. issue, which features that great shot of Ki-Jana Carter ’95 on the cover, and, inside, an oral history on that team’s epic comeback win at Illinois. While the magazine piece focuses on the Illinois game—well, really the whole trip to Champaign, a surreal experience that the players, coaches, and managers recount in the issue—it’s just an excerpt from our much larger oral history of the ’94 Lions, tracking that squad from raw recruits into arguably the greatest offensive team in college football history. I spoke to nearly 30 guys for that one, and it was very much a labor of love. If you haven’t already, you can find the entire piece over at The Football Letter Blog.

The reunion is well timed not only with the 20th anniversary of that team, but with the emergence of true sophomore Christian Hackenberg as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Hackenberg’s record performance against UCF in the season opener, following his terrific freshman season, has some people wondering (prematurely) how he ranks with the best QBs in program history. Well, the guy who tops that list, Kerry Collins ’94, is expected back this weekend, as are arguably—key word here—the best running back (Carter), receiver (Bobby Engram ’95), tight end (Kyle Brady ’95) and offensive line in school history. There are lots of worth guys in the argument at all those positions, but the fact that so many guys from that one team are in the discussion tells you just how phenomenal that team was.

For so many reasons, it’s impossible to compare this year’s team—still limited by sanctions, and with a brand new coaching staff—to Joe Paterno’s veteran, talent-laden ’94 squad. But based on some of the things I heard repeated time and time again by Carter, Collins, Engram, Brady and nearly everyone else I spoke to from the ’94 squad, there’s plenty that this year’s Lions would be well to mimic: Work hard, put aside egos, never doubt what you’re capable of, and never miss a chance to laugh. Solid advice for any football team—and, I suppose, for life in general.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

 

September 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm 3 comments

JoePa Gets 400, and Much More From a Busy Weekend of Penn State Sports

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful week in State College, fitting weather for the campus-wide good vibes still lingering from Saturday night. I took my 5-year-old to Beaver Stadium, and after the game I told him that one day he’d be able to tell his kids about seeing Joe Paterno win his 400th game. Honestly, I don’t think he grasped it; all my son knew was that he had a blast high-fiving our neighbors in section NAU over and over again in that second half.

In the two days since, there have been a bunch of great stories on Joe Paterno’s 400th career win (we’ve already linked to a couple of them on our Facebook page). Here’s a couple more you might have missed:

This wrap-up from the Altoona Mirror is cool for the embedded video link, which offers a close-up view of Paterno on the shoulders of lineman Eric Shrive and graduate assistant coach Gus Felder ’02 (who I’m pretty sure was on the field as a player when Joe broke Bear Bryant’s Division I victory record back in 2001). It offers a (more…)

November 8, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment


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