1974 Orange Bowl
40th Orange Bowl
1234 Total
Penn State 31300 16
LSU 7020 9
DateJanuary 1, 1974
StadiumOrange Bowl
LocationMiami, Florida
MVPTom Shuman    (Penn State QB)
Randy Crowder (Penn State DT)
FavoritePenn State by 5 points[1]
RefereeJames M. Artley (SEC)
(split crew: SEC and ECAC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersJim Simpson, Kyle Rote
Orange Bowl
 < 1973  1975

The 1974 Orange Bowl was the fortieth edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday, January 1. The final game of the 1973–74 bowl season, it matched the sixth-ranked independent Penn State Nittany Lions and the #13 LSU Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Favored Penn State took the lead in the first half and won, 16–9.[1][2][3][4][5]


Main article: 1973 NCAA Division I football season

Penn State

Main article: 1973 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

Penn State completed its third perfect regular season since 1968, and had their first Heisman Trophy winner, running back John Cappelletti. The Nittany Lions were aiming to end 1973 the same way they did 1968 and 1969, by winning in Miami. The Lions nipped Kansas 15–14 in the 1969 Orange Bowl and stymied Missouri 10–3 the next year.


Main article: 1973 LSU Tigers football team

The Tigers opened with nine wins and were heading to a SEC title, but lost at home on Thanksgiving to Alabama. A loss at Tulane the following week, the first victory for the Green Wave over the Tigers since 1948 (LSU was 22–0–2 vs. its in-state rival in between), only added to the frustration in Baton Rouge.

LSU's most recent appearance at the Orange Bowl was three years earlier, a 17–12 loss to national champion Nebraska. The Tigers' previous Orange Bowl win was in January 1962, 25–7 over Colorado in the final game for Paul Dietzel as LSU head coach.

Game summary

Steve Rogers gave LSU an early lead on his touchdown run, but Penn State responded with a field goal by Chris Bahr by the end of the first quarter to make it 7–3. Early in the second quarter, Chuck Herd caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from Tom Shuman to give the Nittany Lions a lead they did not relinquish; John Cappelletti scored from a yard out to extend the lead to 16–7, the score at halftime.

The only scoring in the second half came on a safety when Penn State punter Brian Masella chased down and fell on a poor snap in the third quarter; the Tigers could not muster up points despite out-gaining the Nittany Lions by over ninety yards.[1][4][6]

The game's halftime show was a musical salute to Walt Disney Productions' fiftieth anniversary, and served as the conclusion to the company's year-long "50 Happy Years" promotion.[7]


First quarter
Second quarter
Third quarter
Fourth quarter
No scoring


Statistics Penn State       LSU      
First Downs 9 18
Rushes–yards 43–28 57–205
Passing yards 157 69
Passes (C–A–I) 6–17–1 8–20–1
Total Offense 60–185 77–274
Punts–average 7–34.7 8–46.8
Fumbles–lost 1–0 3–1
Turnovers 1 2
Penalties–yards 3–37 3–30


The Tigers did not finish higher than third in the SEC until 1982, which resulted in them gaining smaller bowl invites during that time. LSU stumbled to 5–5–1 in 1974 and 4–7 in 1975, its only non-winning seasons during Charles McClendon's 18-year tenure in Baton Rouge (196279).

LSU has played in the Orange Bowl only once since, losing 21–20 to Nebraska in 1983, the Tigers' second loss to the Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl, and the first of three losses in major bowl games between the teams over five seasons (Sugar Bowl in January 1985 and 1987).

With the win, the Nittany Lions were 12–0 and had their third undefeated season in six years. However, they finished fifth in the final Associated Press poll behind Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Alabama.

Penn State's next appearance in the Orange Bowl was in 1986, when the top-ranked Nittany Lions lost 25–10 to #3 Oklahoma, costing Penn State the national championship and allowing the Sooners to finish first in the polls.

LSU and Penn State did not meet again until the 2010 Capital One Bowl, won by the Nittany Lions, 19–17 in what turned out to be Paterno's last bowl victory. He was fired in November 2011, in the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal centering on former Nittany Lion assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, and died two months later.


  1. ^ a b c "Lions dump LSU, 16-9 in Orange". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). UPI. January 2, 1974. p. 15.
  2. ^ a b c "Lions 'catch' LSU". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. (Florida). Associated Press. January 2, 1974. p. 4B.
  3. ^ Bernstein, Ralph (January 2, 1974). "Joe Paterno a diplomat on No. 1 issue". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. p. 36.
  4. ^ a b "Penn State, Cappelletti, win game, lose votes". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. January 2, 1974. p. 33.
  5. ^ Leonard, Vince (January 2, 1974). "Penn State a winner by 16 to 9". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 18.
  6. ^ "The 1970s | Orange Bowl".
  7. ^ Fanning, Jim (October 16, 2018). "Did You Know? Eight Golden Anniversary Facts About Disney's 50 Happy Years Celebration". D23. D23.com. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Bowl summaries: Orange Bowl". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. January 2, 1974. p. 36.
  9. ^ a b "Game-by-game recaps: 1974" (PDF). 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl media guide. January 2019. p. 36.