Orange Bowl



Penn State 10

Missouri 3



Penn State Fight Song


MIAMI (AP)- Second-ranked Penn State, making its last drive for a national championship, shackled explosive Missouri with a killer defense that forced seven pass interceptions Thursday night to give the Nittany Lions a 10-3 victory in the Orange Bowl.


The Lions, who ran their unbeaten string to 30 games, got their points within a 21-second span of the first period when Mike Reitz drilled a 29-yard field goal and Chuck Burkhart hurled a 28-yard touchdown pass to Lydell Mitchell.


Penn State, which voiced objections when President Nixon declared Texas the national champion, had flickering hopes of surpassing top-ranked Texas in the final Associated Press poll. However, the Steers scored a 21-17 victory over Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl earlier in the day.


The immovable Penn State defense, led all year by All American tackle Mike Reid and linebacker Dennis Onkotz, got a super effort from the entire unit as the sixth-ranked Tigers, a three-point favorite in the betting odds faced one frustration after another.


Onkotz, safety. Neal Smith and George Landis intercepted two passes apiece and Gay Hull added one to break the Orange Bowl record of six set by Georgia against Texas Christian in the 1942 game.


The Lions thus concluded their second straight 11-0 season, with the 22 straight triumphs ranking as the most in the nation.


Burkhart, not rated in a league with Missouri's Terry McMillan (video) in pregame assessments, stole the offensive thunder. The touchdown pass was only his second of the season. John Eversole, a 238-pound defensive end, applied the pressure on McMillan all night, making the Missouri passing game virtually inefficient until the final minutes.


The Tigers got one last chance with 1:55 remaining, taking over on their own 38 following a Lion punt. Chuck Roger completed two straight passes, one a 37-yarder to John Henley to the Penn State 15. But two plays later, Landis sealed the victory with his second interception at the 2, returning it to the Missouri 42.


The crowd surged on to the field thinking the game was over but 15 seconds remained. After several minutes Penn State went about running out the clock, while their fans in the Orange Bowl record crowd of 78,282 set up a chant of "We're No. 1."


The stage of the game was set on Missouri's first possession of the ball when the Tigers moved 67 yards to the Penn State 26 only to run into trouble and see Henry Brown's 47 yard field goal fall short. Burkhart then completed three passes for 46 yards in a 68-yard drive that set up Reitz' 29-yard field goal with 3:44 left in the first quarter.


On the first play following the kickoff, Reid smashed into Missouri's Joe Moore, forcing one of two fumbles snared by the Lions. Mike Smith pounced on it at the 28-yard line.


Burkhart immediately dropped back and connected with Mitchell at the 15. The elusive back pulled away from one defender and then faked out Butch Davis at the 10 to go for the touchdown. Reitz made it 10-0 with 3:23 left, and it proved to be all the powerful Lion defense needed.


Penn State forced five turnovers of the ball in the first half as the Tigers saw drives end at the Penn State 22, 38, 7, and 18. The Tigers even failed to cash in a pair of dazzling punt returns by Jon Staggers, one for 7 yards and the other for 48.


Missouri, the Big Eight co-champion with a 9-1 regular season record, finally scored in the waning minutes of the opening half when a McMillan-to-Moore screen pass ate up 40 yards in an 84-yard drive to the 8 that set up Brown's 33-yard field goal.


Lydell Mitchell scores games' only touchdown.


Missou's Terry McMillan was pressured all night.

Staggers had two sensational punt returns.


Burkhart is brought down with Franco Harris (#34) trying to assist.


Tiger defense closes in on Charlie Pittman.


Burkhart passes under heavy rush.


Attendance- 78,282


Scoring Summary


First Quarter

PSU- FG Reitz 29

PSU- Mitchell 28 yard pass from Burkhart (Reitz kick)


Second Quarter

MU- FG Brown 33


Individual Statistics



MU- Staggers 9-69, Moore 19-62, McMillan 5-33, McBride 7-24, Harrison 2-16

PSU- Pittman 21-83, Harris 17-46



MU- McMillan 4-17-57, Roper 2-9-44

PSU- Burkhart 11-26-187



MU- Henley 2-44, Moore 1-40, Shryock 3-33

PSU- Mitchell 5-81, Johnson 1-56, Edmonds 2-34, Pittman 2-10