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Penn State Football

Penn State Football’s History With Oregon, Washington

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

Oregon and Washington are about to join Penn State in the Big Ten. Penn State is 3-1 against Oregon and 3-0 against Washington. Here’s what happened in all seven games. 


1960: PSU 41, Oregon 12 (Liberty Bowl)

Oregon led 6-0 after the first quarter, but it was all downhill for the Ducks from there. PSU won the second quarter 21-0 to go into halftime with a comfortable lead. Oregon cut it to three in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by future AFL legend Dave Grayson, but that’s as close as the Ducks would get. Penn State scored 20 points in the last quarter, didn’t allow any, and came away with a blowout win. 

Future Pittsburgh Steelers player and coach Dick Hoak was the game’s MVP. He ran for 61 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and passed for 67 more.

1963: PSU 17, Oregon 7 (Portland)

1964: Oregon 22, PSU 14 (Beaver Stadium)

1995: PSU 38, Oregon 20 (Rose Bowl)

Penn State’s first Rose Bowl of the post-Warren G. Harding era was a bittersweet one for fans.

On the one hand, PSU winning the Big Ten in just its second season in the conference was impressive, as was handling Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

But for many fans, 1994 will be remembered as a year Penn State deserved a chance to play for the national championship and didn’t get one.

With the BCS still four years away, No. 2 Penn State didn’t get a chance to play No. 1 Nebraska because of the Big Ten champion’s obligation to play in the Rose Bowl. As a result, Penn State played Oregon, and Nebraska played Miami. Because Nebraska beat Miami, Penn State had virtually no chance at a national title, no matter what.

“We could have won the Rose Bowl 100-0,” a former Penn State player was quoted as saying in Joe Posnanski’s 2012 biography Paterno,” and it wouldn’t have mattered.

It’d be 14 years before Penn State played in another Rose Bowl, and the program has yet to have another undefeated season.


1921: PSU 21, Washington 7

1983: PSU 13, Washington 10 (Aloha Bowl)

Penn State’s offense did little on this bright, Hawiaan (one day after) Christmas Day. The team didn’t score its first and only touchdown until the fourth quarter but hung in there thanks to solid defense and two Nick Gancitino field goals. With exactly three minutes left, a freshman tailback named D.J. Dozier ran in for a two-yard touchdown. Penn State’s defense held firm and the team ended a national championship hangover season 8-4-1. Speaking of national championships, Dozier would score a more important touchdown more than three years later in Penn State’s legendary Fiesta Bowl win over Miami, the winning score of that national championship triumph.

2017: PSU 35, Washington 28 (Fiesta Bowl)

It was Saquon Barkley’s last dance at Penn State, and he delivered. Barkley ended the day with 137 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries (7.6 YPC), the most notable run being a 92-yard touchdown that put Penn State ahead by three scores in the second quarter. Washington hung around, cutting the deficit to a score on a 69-yard touchdown by Myles Gaskin with 6:52 left in the game. But that’s as close as Washington got. Penn State beat Washington for coach James Franklin’s first New Year’s Six Bowl win.

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