Counting Down the Top Five Games of 2009-'10: No. 2

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports Blog's summer series rolls on with a look at the top games from the 2009-'10 sports season.  We saw a last-second field goal at the Capital One Bowl, an epic national championship match in women's volleyball and many more standout games during the past year of Penn State sports.

Sports fans can vividly recall memorable nights in a stadium or watching a specific game on TV.  That is one of the best things about being a sports fan - the thrill of the unknown.  No one knows when a player or team is going to turn a standard ballgame into a special night.

 

We continue our countdown of the top five games with a trip to Florida for Penn State's New Year's Day clash against college football power LSU.  This story began a few hours before kickoff when the playing surface was under water after torrential rains hit the area. 

 

Unseasonably cool temperatures leading up to the game did not allow the new sod at the Citrus Bowl Stadium to firm up.  When you combine heavy rain with a loose field, it is bound to make things interesting for a bowl game.  Welcome to No. 2 on the list.

 

January 1, 2010 - Capital One Bowl - Orlando, Fla.

psu.fb.defense.jpgIn conditions that were better suited for the parading ducks inside the Peabody Hotel, home of the Nittany Lions in Orlando, Daryll Clark engineered a 65-yard scoring drive to set up the game-winning field goal attempt from Collin Wagner.  Trailing 17-16 in the fourth quarter, Clark had one phrase for his football team before taking the field for the final time in his Penn State career.

 

"We are not losing this football game no matter what," Clark said.

 

And he was right.

 

The second half of Joe Paterno's 24th all-time bowl victory was a microcosm of the 2009 Penn State football season.  Nothing came easy for this group of Nittany Lions.  After a 10-2 finish to the regular season, the Lions spent the Capital One Bowl prep answering questions about not having a marquee win on their resume.

 

Move ahead to the third quarter when the Nittany Lions took a commanding 16-3 lead after Wagner booted his third of four field goals on the sloppy sod inside the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.  By all intents and purposes, the Lions looked to be in firm control of Friday's ballgame after taking the 13-point lead.

 

However, in a span of 2:24, Penn State went from up 16-3 to down 17-16.  Two touchdowns from LSU set up a fourth quarter drive from Clark and a storybook ending for Wagner.

 

The Youngstown native methodically marched the Nittany Lions 65 yards in 5:57 seconds.  The 12-play drive featured four carries and three completions from Clark.  A pair of connections with Graham Zug put the Lions in striking distance before a quarterback draw from Clark put the Lions within two yards of the end zone.  Everyone on the Penn State sidelines wanted to see Clark slither into the end zone, but the senior turned the game-winning drive over to the sophomore kicker from State College.

 

Wagner then booted a 21-yard field goal with 57 seconds on the clock to lift No. 13 Penn State to a dramatic 19-17 victory over No. 12 LSU on a soggy afternoon in Orlando

 

 

The Capital One Bowl was a fitting end to the season for a superb senior class.  The defense led by Josh Hull, Sean Lee and Jared Odrick was masterful.  Clark deserved a game-winning drive to end his career.  Although the field conditions weren't conducive to a big offensive day, the Capital One Bowl was a very good football game.  And beating a solid SEC team surely helps this game's case as one of the season's best.

 

Our countdown continued today with a dramatic finish to the 11-2 football season at the Capital One Bowl.  Stay tuned tomorrow when we reveal the No. 1 game on the All-Sports Blog's list of best games from the 2009-'10 sports season.

 

All-Sports Blog Top Five Games from 2009-'10

5.  NCAA Fencing Championships final day turnaround for a national title

4.  Women's volleyball - No. 1 Penn State 3, No. 11 Michigan 2

3.  Big Ten Women's Indoor Track Championships home victory

2.  Capital One Bowl - No. 13 Penn State 19, No. 12 LSU 17

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