Throwback Thursday: The Drive


“Yes sir, never a doubt!”

The 1994 Penn State team was the team that sparked my interest in Penn State football for good. I had gone to a few games before that season, but I did not get truly invested in actively following sports until 1993 when the Phillies went to the World Series. The next season Penn State put together one of the best seasons in school history. By now you don’t need me to tell you this. You all know how the season played out, and you surely know how it almost was derailed in Champaign, Illinois in mid-November.

Every time Illinois comes up on the schedule for Penn State, I cannot help but think back to November 12, 1994 and how I learned of Penn State’s miraculous comeback. As was often the case, I watched the game with my dad, who could get rather stressed by the game if things were not going well. Sometimes it would get to the point where he would just have to get off the couch and walk away for a few minutes. In the case of November 12, 1994, things looked so bad our entire family had to go out for dinner. We ended up going to a nearby mall (Granite Run Mall in Delaware County) to get something from the food court. Before we left though, my dad set the VCR to record the game.

For a while, my dad’s plan worked. Remember, there was no social media at the time. Internet connections still had to use phone lines on 28k modems, if you were lucky. So going to the mall to avoid any updates from a sporting event were actually quite effective. Most of the time, that is.

After dinner I got a chance to browse through the Electronics Boutique (which later evolved into EB Games and later bought by Gamestop). My dad came in to get me as we were about to leave when one store employee came out of the backroom.

“Oh man, they did it,” the employee said to his co-worker. “Penn State just won the game.”

My dad was an equal blend of joyed and disappointed. He wanted to witness the game himself, and now the moment and the surprise joy of the game were tarnished just a smidge. But hey, Penn State won and that’s all that matters. We went home and watched the game, and The Drive, from the point we left. I do not remember exactly what point of the game that was. It may have been halftime. It did not matter though. Watching Penn State’s offense finally click when it needed to the most was a thing of beauty, even if captured on a VCR from 1982.

My dad will still be one of those people who records games if he is unable to watch it live, and he will make every effort to avoid hearing a score or getting updates on the game. Just a couple of weeks ago he and my mom went away for a weekend getaway for their anniversary, and he sent me a text to ask me not to say anything about the Ohio Stae game because he was recording it on the DVR (thankfully he’s upgraded with that technology at least). His plan was to watch it a couple days later when they got home.


Follow Nittany Lions Den on Twitter and Like Nittany Lions Den on Facebook. Catch the Nittany Lions Den Podcast on Nittany Lion Sports Radio from VSporto.

Arrow to top