1977 Fiesta Bowl
7th edition
1234 Total
Penn State 143718 42
Arizona State 014016 30
DateDecember 25, 1977
StadiumSun Devil Stadium
LocationTempe, Arizona
MVPMatt Millen (Penn State LB)
Dennis Sproul (Arizona State QB)
FavoritePenn State by 7 points[1]
RefereeVincent Buckley (SWC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersLindsey Nelson, Tom Matte
Fiesta Bowl
 < 1976  1978

The 1977 Fiesta Bowl was the seventh edition of the college football bowl game, played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday, December 25. Part of the 1977–78 bowl game season, it matched the eighth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions and the #15 Arizona State Sun Devils of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Favored Penn State took an early lead and won 42–30 on the Sun Devils' home field.[2][3][4][5]


Main article: 1977 NCAA Division I football season

Penn State

Main article: 1977 Penn State Nittany Lions football team

Penn State was ranked as high as fourth until a home loss to #16 Kentucky in early October, but then won seven straight. It was their first Fiesta Bowl appearance.

Arizona State

Main article: 1977 Arizona State Sun Devils football team

In the Sun Devils' final year in the WAC, they were co-champion for the seventh and last time, and appeared in their fifth Fiesta Bowl.[6] They were invited after co-champion BYU backed out due to the bowl being slated to play on a Sunday.[7] ASU's sole loss in the WAC was at Colorado State in a snowstorm.[8]

Game summary

The game kicked off on Christmas Day (Sunday) shortly after 1 p.m. MST, televised by CBS.[1] There were no other bowl games on this day, and the NFL divisional playoffs were on a day either side of it; the AFC on Saturday, and the NFC on Monday.

Joe Lally blocked a punt and returned it 21 yards to give Penn State the lead early in the first quarter. Bob Torrey caught a touchdown pass from Chuck Fusina to make it 14–0. Arthur Lane caught a touchdown pass from Dennis Sproul to narrow it to 14–7. Bahr made it 17–7 with a field goal. Ron Washington caught a touchdown pass from Sproul to narrow it to 17–14 at halftime.

An 18-yard touchdown run by halfback Steve Geise made it 24–14 at the end of the third, and a three-yard run by fullback Matt Suhey increased the lead to seventeen points early in the fourth. Washington caught another touchdown pass from Sproul to narrow it to 31–21, but Bahr kicked another field goal to make it 34–21. Arizona State's George Perry ran in from a yard out to close the gap to 34–28, but Suhey's second touchdown run and a deliberate safety late in the game sealed the game for Penn State, who won their first-ever Fiesta Bowl.[3][9]


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

Fourth quarter


Statistics Penn State      ASU     
First Downs 18 29
Yards Rushing 50–268 45–90
Yards Passing 83 336
Passing 9–23–0 23–47–2
Return Yards 91 1
Total Offense 73–442 92–427
Punts–Average 7–40.0 5–34.8
Fumbles–Lost 1–0 1–1
Turnovers 0 3
Penalties–Yards 12–126 5–33


Penn State's next Fiesta Bowl was three years later; Arizona State returned in January 1983 as a member of the Pacific-10 Conference.


  1. ^ a b "Lions seven-point pick against ASU in Fiesta". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). UPI. December 25, 1977. p. 2C.
  2. ^ a b Bernstein, Ralph (December 26, 1977). "Penn State tops Arizona State, 42–30, in wild Fiesta Bowl". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. p. 28.
  3. ^ a b c "Penn State runs mark to 11–1". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated. December 26, 1977. p. 2B.
  4. ^ a b Fine, David (December 26, 1977). "Lions outpoint Arizona State, 42–30, in Fiesta". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 29.
  5. ^ a b Smith, John W. (December 26, 1977). "Defense gets Penn State going". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). p. 24.
  6. ^ Bernstein, Ralph (December 25, 1977). "Fiesta Bowl finale today?". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. p. 1B.
  7. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/top/1196/3/1978-Holiday-Bowl-Navy-23-BYU-16-BYU-football-A-look-at-the-Cougars-31-bowl-appearances.html
  8. ^ "CSU matches the weather: frightful to the Sun Devils". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. November 20, 1977. p. 8B.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 4, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)