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Penn State Rally Crushes Texas

Thu., Jan. 2, 1997, midnight

Fiesta Bowl

Penn State remained perfect in the Fiesta Bowl, thanks in part to a freshman kick returner with a penchant for inspirational plays.

Kenny Watson’s 81-yard return of the second-half kickoff Wednesday night sparked a rally that carried No. 7 Penn State past Texas 38-15 and gave coach Joe Paterno his sixth straight Fiesta Bowl win.

It was the second time this season Watson opened the second half with a long kickoff return to bring his team from behind. And it couldn’t have come at a better moment for the Nittany Lions, who had been dominated much of the first half.

“We were looking for a big play to spark the offense,” Watson said.

Five plays after Watson returned the ball to the Longhorns 19, Aaron Harris went over the right end for a 5-yard touchdown that put Penn State ahead after trailing 12-7 going into halftime. Texas came back on its next drive to tie the game 15-15 on a 48-yard field goal, but Penn State scored on its next two drives and wasn’t threatened the rest of the way.

Penn St. 7 0 21 10 - 38 Texas 3 9 3 0 - 15

First quarter

PSU-Enis 4 pass from Richardson (Conway kick), 2:13.

Tex-FG Dawson 28, 8:30. Second quarter

Tex-FG Dawson 28, 4:22.

Tex-R.Williams 7 run (pass failed), 14:48. Third quarter

PSU-Harris 5 run (Richardson pass to Enis), 2:33.

Tex-FG Dawson 48, 8:10.

PSU-Enis 2 run (Conway kick), 11:37.

PSU-Cleary 1 run (kick failed), 14:59. Fourth quarter

PSU-FG Conway 23, 4:37.

PSU-Enis 12 run (Conway kick), 9:10.

A-65,106.

Tex PSU First downs 19 19 Rushes-yards 30-73 44-330 Passing 287 95 Comp-Att-Int 27-43-1 12-20-0 Return Yards 64 169 Punts-Avg. 6-37.7 5-35.6 Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0 Penalties-Yards 8-57 4-49 Time of Possession 33:03 26:57

Individual statistics

RUSHING-Texas, R.Williams 11-48, S.Mitchell 7-24, Holmes 6-11, J.Brown 6-(minus 10). Penn St., Enis 16-95, Fields 1-84, Eberly 7-54, C.Mitchell 6-45, Cleary 5-31, Harris 4-13. PASSING-Texas, J.Brown 26-42-1-254, Danaher 1-1-0-33. Penn St., Richardson 12-20-0-95. RECEIVING-Texas, R.Williams 9-24, Davis 5-72, M.Adams 4-73, McGarity 3-27. Penn St., Cu.Brown 3-32, Jurevicius 2-22, Eberly 2-19, Enis 2-15.



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