Going into Penn State's game against 14th-ranked Southern Cal, Nittany Lion fans had some questions. Could the defensive line, which had only one starter back from last season, stand up to top competition? Was the team deep enough to survive a tough game? Even though three players were listed in the program as starters at tailback, could anyone doubt who was really No. 1?
By the end of the first quarter Penn State led 21-0, and all three questions had been answered. The defense was dominating the line of scrimmage; the Lions were substituting freely and still taking it to the Trojans; and tailback Ki-Jana Carter had started and already rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Although last season he ran for 1,026 yards—the most ever by a Penn State sophomore—Carter has been listed as a costarter with classmates Mike Archie and Stephen Pitts. And while he finished with 119 yards against USC, after having rushed for 210 yards against Minnesota in the season opener, Carter's name will still be followed by that pesky "or" on the most indecisive depth chart in college football when the Lions go against Iowa this weekend.
Just as Penn State's 38-14 demolition of the Trojans was answering those questions of Nittany Lion fans, another one came up: What does OG ETATS TAEB CSU mean? Answer: It was the failed effort of the flip-card section at Beaver Stadium.
Could it possibly be that the Prairie View (Texas) A&M Panthers, who had a 36-game losing streak entering Saturday's game at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, had become overconfident? In their season debut, at Texas Southern a week earlier, the Panthers had come within two yards of a game-tying touchdown as time ran out. Afterward, Prairie View senior linebacker Alphonse Provo was heard to say, "There are a lot of good 10-1 teams out there."
What's more, Prairie View had revenge as motivation. The Panthers, a Division I-AA team, were still a tad indignant that Pine Blulf, an NAIA school, had spoiled their homecoming last season by beating them 12-8. "We want some payback for that," said wide receiver Kerwin Owens.
Meanwhile, a Houston television station was all set to report on the Panthers' triumphant return. Alas, they lost 51-0.
Although they did not return as victors, they did not hang their heads. Says coach Ron Beard, "These guys aren't losers. Losers are people who quit. These guys will be at practice on Monday."