1987 Fiesta Bowl

Penn State 14, Miami 10

1987 fiesta bowl
January 2, 1987

Attendance: 73,098

Offensive Player of the Game: D.J. Dozier, Penn State

Defensive Player of the Game: Shane Conlan, Penn State

Sportsmanship Award: Paul O’Connor, Miami

Head Coaches: Joe Paterno, Penn State - Jimmy Johnson, Miami

Weather: Clear

Television: NBC

Payout Per Team: $2,400,000

Head coach Jimmy Johnson brought his powerful Miami Hurri-canes to Tempe to oppose legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno and the Nit-tany Lions on Jan. 2, a day set aside by NBC to spotlight the top college football game
of the year.

Dubbed the “Battle for Number 1,” the 1987 Fiesta Bowl featured top-ranked Miami and second-ranked Penn State, who dueled to the final nine seconds of the game when Penn State’s Pete Giftopoulos intercepted a Vinny Testaverde pass to preserve the Nittany Lions’ victory and the national championship.

With the victory, Penn State claimed its second national title in five years. The Nittany Lions intercepted Heisman Trophy winner Testaverde five times, but none was bigger than the fourth and goal play with just nine ticks on the clock.

The Hurricanes began the potential go-ahead drive at their own 23-yard line with 3:09 left on the clock. Testaverde threw two incomplete passes before hitting Brian Blades with a crucial 31-yard pickup on a fourth-down play.

With the completion to Blades, Testaverde connected on six straight completions to take the ball to PSU’s six-yard line. Giftopoulos picked off the pass three plays later at the one and returned it to the 11, where players and fans ran onto the field.

Miami scored first in the second quarter on Melvin Bratton’s one-yard dive. After the kickoff, Penn State quarterback John Shaffer drove his team 74 yards, capping the drive with a four-yard touchdown run to even the score at halftime.

The stalemate continued into the second half until Miami took an early lead on Mark Seelig’s 38-yard field goal. An interception by PSU’s Shane Conlan, the defensive player of the game, set up a six-yard touchdown run by D.J. Dozier, the offensive most valuable player, to put the Lions ahead, 14-10, which would end up being the final margin of victory

Quarter Scores

Scoring
1
2
3
4
F
Penn State
0
7
0
7
14
Miami
0
7
0
3
10

Yardstick

MIA
PSU
22
First Downs
8
43-160
Rushes-Yards
43-109
285
Passing Yards
53
26-50-5
Passes
5-16-1
50
Return Yards
106
4-46.0
Punts
9-43.4
4-2
Fumbles-Lost
5-2
9-62
Penalties-Yards
4-39

How They Scored

MIA
PSU
7
0
Melvin Bratton 1 yard run (Greg Cox kick)
7
7
John Shaffer 4 yard run (Massimo Manca kick)
10
7
Mark Seelig 38 yard field goal
10
14
D.J. Dozier 6 yard run (Manca kick)

Individual Statistics

Rushing
MIA
Alonzo Highsmith 18-119, Bratton 11-31, Warren Williams 5-20, Vinny Testaverde 9-(-10).
PSU
D.J. Dozier 20-99, Tim Manoa 8-36, Steve Smith 4-13, Ray Roundtree 1-3, Blair Thomas 1-(-3), Shaffer 9-(-39).
Passing
MIA
Vinny Testaverde 26-50-5-285.
PSU
John Shaffer 5-16-1-53.
Receiving
MIA
Brian Blades 5-81, Mike Irvin 5-55, Brett Perriman 4-37, Highsmith 3-33, Bratton 3-32, Charles Henry 3-24, Williams 2-20, Alfredo Roberts 1-3.
PSU
D.J. Dozier 2-12, Eric Hamilton 1-23, Tim Manoa 1-12, Brian Siverling 1-6.