Vintage Video: Thomas' kickoff return sinks Pitt in 1986 win
Blair Thomas was the difference maker in Penn State's 1986 win over Pittsburgh.
Thomas' 91-yard kickoff return for a score was the program's first one for a touchdown in six years, according to CBS 21 News reporter Doug Sivco.
Here's the complete story from the Associated Press:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (AP) — Penn State beat Pitt, 34-14, Saturday and awaited its second shot in two years at the national championship.
"We had one goal," Penn State Coach Joe Paterno said. "We wanted another shot at the national championship. And we got it."
Last season, Penn State played Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for the national championship and lost.
This year, the No. 2-ranked Nittany Lions (11-0) are expected to play No. 1 Miami Jan. 2 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Miami (10-0) needs only to defeat East Carolina (2-9) on Thanksgiving to remove the last obstacle to the seventh meeting for the national title of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams.
A 91-yard touchdown kickoff return by Blair Thomas and a 26-yard scoring run from D.J. Dozier helped carry the Nittany Lions past Pitt (5-5-1).
Paterno became only the second coach in modern college football history--the NCAA starts that period in 1937--to produce six regular-season unbeaten, untied teams. The late Paul (Bear) Bryant is the all-time leader with seven.
A meeting of the Nittany Lions and the Hurricanes would mark the third time in five years and fourth time in nine years that Penn State has played for the national title. Penn State beat Georgia in the 1982 Sugar Bowl.
Pitt Coach Mike Gottfried said the turning point of Saturday's game was Thomas' 91-yard touchdown return--just 14 seconds after the Panthers had taken a 7-3 lead.
"We got beat by a good football team who played very well," he said.
Gottfried, whose team also lost to Miami, 37-10, refused to compare the two top-ranked teams.
"I don't get into that stuff," he said.
Penn State has 22 straight regular-season victories. The Nittany Lions will be making their 24th bowl appearance in the school's 100th year of football.
Penn State conditionally accepted a bid to the Fiesta Bowl to meet Miami. If Miami loses to East Carolina, Penn State would almost certainly ascend to No. 1 and have the right to go elsewhere, probably the Orange Bowl against Big Eight champion Oklahoma.
"I think we're looking at a very slim chance of Miami not being our opponent," Paterno said.