4.) 1986 – Penn State – 17 Maryland – 15
The Maryland Terrapins and Bobby Ross, then 4-4, traveled to Happy Valley to meet the #2 ranked 8-0 Nittany Lions and JoePa. The Terrapins didn’t have much to look forward to that season, and heading to Happy Valley in the final stretch of a three straight road games wasn’t one of them. Maryland was cold entering the game, too; their only win over the previous five games came against Duke. Quarterback Dan Henning was having a decent season and Maryland was scoring, but running back Alvin Blount was far less effective his senior year than his junior season with nearly 900 yards rushing.
Penn State, on the other hand, was dominant (to be extremely modest). Thirteen total NFL draft picks from that team alone. Their running back, D.J. Dozier, was a Sports Illustrated cover boy from the season prior and their defense was so blue collar, so star-studded (led by first rounder LB Shane Conlan) that it isn’t worth naming all of them.
Dozier scored his first of two touchdowns to put the Nittany Lions up 7-3 early in the fourth, but the Terrapins weren’t done entirely. Maryland QB Dan Henning put together a nice drive down to the PSU 7-yard line, but PSU defensive tackle Pete Curkendall intercepted it for 82 yards to the Maryland 9, allowing Dozier to score his second TD on the next play.
Down 14-3, Maryland put together a 4th quarter rally that included two touchdowns, two failed 2-point conversions, and 12 points in the second half as they would go on to lose the game. At the end of the season the Terrapins finished 5-5-1, Ross took another job after the Len Bias disaster tightened recruitment standards around the university, while PSU went on to win a national championship in the first-ever New Years day bowl game against heavily favored Miami. That game eventually ruined college football.