History repeats itself in Penn State victory at Beaver Stadium, 37 years later
Pat Narduzzi isn’t the only Pitt coach to opt for a field goal in the fourth quarter of a close game when his team was on the 1-yard line.
But he’s the only one to defend the decision.
In 1982, No. 5 Pitt was trailing No. 2 Penn State, 16-7, in the fourth quarter before a record crowd of 85,522 at Beaver Stadium. First-year Pitt coach Foge Fazio, over the grumbling of his players, turned down the chance to score a touchdown and ordered a field goal.
Eric Schubert’s kick was good, but Penn State got the ball back and kicked another field goal – the fourth that day by Nick Gancitano – to win, 19-10, on the way to its first national championship.
Later, the New York Times reported Fazio regretted the decision to kick a field goal.
”If I had to do it over, I probably would go for the touchdown,” he said. “I thought the ball was a little farther out, between the 1 and 2.”
Because Pitt trailed by nine in 1982 and only seven Saturday, the scenarios aren’t identical. But in both cases, a touchdown from the 1 would have increased Pitt’s chance of winning with a field goal.
Penn State’s quarterback that day was Todd Blackledge, who was the color analyst for ABC-TV’s telecast Saturday.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .