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Lions prove to be the best mudders

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dampened by rain, slowed by mud and trailing late in the fourth quarter, Daryll Clark was determined to get Penn State some points.

The No. 11 Nittany Lions and their star quarterback emerged from the muck for a thrilling 19-17 win over No. 13 LSU at the Capital One Bowl.

The late-game drive led by Clark helped set up Collin Wagner’s 21-yard field goal with 57 seconds left, and Penn State staved off a last-ditch effort by the Tigers to preserve the victory.

“No matter what … whatever it takes, we have to keep these chains rolling,” the senior said in recounting a talk with the offense before the drive. “All we need is a couple points.”

Penn State coach Joe Paterno got his record 24th bowl win and handed Les Miles his first loss in five bowls as LSU coach. It was just the second game ever between the two popular college football programs.

A driving rainstorm turned the field into a mosh pit in some places. LSU rallied from a 13-point deficit late in the second half to take a 17-16 lead on Stevan Ridley’s 1-yard touchdown run with 12:49 left.

And LSU had one final chance after Wagner’s game-winner. The junior kicker said it was the first time he had ever hit four field goals in a game.

The Tigers got to midfield but right guard Lyle Hitt was whistled for a disputed personal foul penalty that pushed them back to their own 40. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson hit Rueben Randle for a 25-yard gain on the game’s last play to the Penn State 35 but Randle fumbled as time expired.

This game will be remembered as much for the messy beginning as the dramatic finish.

Bad footing and dropped passes were normal in the first half, and Clark fumbled the snap exchange twice – though both were recovered by Penn State.

“That was by far the worst field conditions I’ve ever seen in my life,” said LSU receiver Brandon LaFell.

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