1997 Fiesta Bowl (January)

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This article is about the Fiesta Bowl that followed the 1996 season, played on January 1, 1997. For game that followed the 1997 season, played on December 31, 1997, see 1997 Fiesta Bowl (December).
1997 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
January Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Penn State 7 0 21 10 38
Texas 3 9 3 0 15
Date January 1, 1997
Season 1996
Stadium Sun Devil Stadium
Location Tempe, Arizona
Attendance 65,106
United States TV coverage
Network CBS
Announcers: Tim Brando and Ed Cunningham
Fiesta Bowl
 < 1996  1997 (Dec)

The 1997 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game was a post-season college football bowl game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Texas Longhorns on January 1, 1997, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Penn State defeated Texas, 38-15. The game was part of the 1996-1997 Bowl Alliance of the 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season and represented the concluding game of the season for both teams.

The Longhorns, who were fresh off of their upset of No. 3 Nebraska in the First ever Big 12 Championship Game, went into their second straight Alliance bowl with a five-game winning streak.

Texas outgained Penn State 242-95 yards in the first half and posted a 12-7 lead at the half. Quarterback James Brown completed 13 of 18 passes for 150 yards and Ricky Williams ran for 47 yards and a touchdown on nine carries in the first 30 minutes. However, an interception, two drives which were stopped at the Penn State 11, and a failed two-point conversion allowed the Nittany Lions to remain close.

Penn State’s opening score was set up by a Brown interception at the Texas 26 on the second play from scrimmage. The Lions drove to the end zone in four plays, which ended in a four-yard touchdown pass from Wally Richardson to Curtis Enis.

The Longhorns bounced back and drove to the Penn State seven, and Phil Dawson connected on a 28-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.

The Lions ended with a three-and-out on consecutive possessions and, on their first possession of the second quarter, Texas planned another solid drive and found the endzone as Williams charged ran across the goal line for a seven yard score. The two-point conversion failed.

The third quarter was the turning point in the game. Penn State scored 21 points with three rushing scores and limited the Longhorns to just a field goal. Penn State led 28-15 at the end of the third quarter.

On the Lions’ final series of the third quarter, Chafie Fields set up a one-yard touchdown run by Anthony Cleary on an 85 yard double-reverse to the Texas five-yard line.

Texas failed to produce any more offense as Penn State scored 10 more points to seal the 38-15 victory. Penn State outgained the Texas offense 425-360, 330-118 in the second half. As of 2012 this was the last official bowl win by Penn State.