1997 Fiesta Bowl
Offensive Player of the Game: Curtis Enis, Penn State
Defensive Player of the Game: Brandon Noble, Penn State
Sportsmanship Award: Ryan Fiebiger, Texas
Head Coaches: Joe Paterno, Penn State - John Mackovic, Texas
Weather: Clear, warm
Payout Per Team: $8,600,000
About every five years, Penn State head coach Joe Paterno takes his Nittany Lions to Tempe for the Fiesta Bowl.
All he’s done in those games is record a perfect 5-0 record and claim the 1987 national championship.
The 1997 Fiesta Bowl just added to his legendary status. Penn State shut down a high-powered Texas offense in the second half and rushed for 330 yards to record its record sixth Fiesta Bowl victory in as many appearances.
The Nittany Lions trailed 12-7 at halftime but exploded in the third quarter, outscoring Texas 21-3, en route to a 38-15 victory.
Curtis Enis did the majority of the damage for the Penn State ground attack, rushing for 95 yards and two touchdowns and adding a touchdown reception and a two-point conversion.
On defense, the Nittany Lions allowed only a second half field goal, while containing the Longhorns big play trio of quarterback James Brown, running back Ricky Williams and wide receiver Mike Adams. Williams tied a Fiesta Bowl record with nine receptions, but averaged just over two yards a catch.
It was two big plays after intermission that got the Penn State offense rolling. Kenny Watson returned the second half kick off 81 yards to set up an Aaron Harris touchdown run, and Chafie Fields recorded the longest run in Fiesta Bowl history, an 84-yard dazzler on a double reverse that ended with a one-yard touchdown dive by full-back Anthony Cleary.