Penn State coach Joe Paterno worried all week about getting into a shootout with Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl. Instead, his Nittany Lions gave him an easy afternoon as he tied Bear Bryant for most bowl victories.
Bobby Engram caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, cleared a wide path on a score three seconds before halftime and returned three punts past the Penn State 42 in the Nittany Lions' 31-13 victory.Paterno, completing his 28th year as Penn State's head coach, tied Bryant, the late Alabama coach, for the most bowl victories - 15.
"This was very satisfying for me, but especially satisfying to the seniors," Paterno said. "It's always nice to be up there with Bear Bryant."
It was a repeat of Penn State's 42-17 victory over Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl two years ago and wiped out some of the memory of a 24-3 loss to Stanford in the Blockbuster Bowl just a year ago.
Penn State linemen hung all over Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler, Volunteer receivers dropped six passes and No. 6 Tennessee (9-2-1) had just 348 yards in total offense, off their average of 481. The Vols also had been averaging 42 points per game.
"We had too many penalties, dropped passes and sacks," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We started off well offensively but went downhill. Penn State took us out of our balanced attack."
The 13th-ranked Nittany Lions (10-2) guessed right on most of their defenses, almost always having someone near Shuler and his receivers. Running back Charlie Garner had 82 yards rushing at halftime but only seven in the second half.
Engram was named the game's most valuable player.
The question before the game was whether Penn State could match Tennessee's offense. The Lions surpassed it.
Ki-Jana Carter and Mike Archie had 93 and 69 yards, respectively, and quarterback Kerry Collins, although shaky early, completed 15 for 24 passes for 162 yards. Shuler, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, was 22 of 42 for 205 yards. Each quarterback was intercepted once.
"We had heard all week about Heath Shuler and everybody was underestimating us," Collins said. "We thought all along we were the better team and all we had to do was come out and prove it."