Now trailing 16-12, the Eagles must have felt as if their feet were stuck to the floor, too. Every time they tried to get unpacked, a different Penn State defender smacked them down. First, end Bob White put a strong rush on Halloran, forcing him into a key intentional grounding call. On BC's next possession safety Ray Isom stretched his 5'9" frame to the limit to deflect a pass away from Kelvin Martin in the end zone. Finally, linebacker Rogers Alexander and hero back Michael Zordich high-lowed wide-out Darren Flutie at midfield to force a fumble, which linebacker Trey Bauer recovered with 2:46 remaining.
Another linebacker, Shane Conlan, made the big play in the early going with a hard tackle that forced BC fullback Ken Bell to fumble at the Lion one-yard line in the second quarter. "The idea on that play is to get your head on the ball," said Conlan. "Of course, I was lucky that he happened to fumble, but it wasn't luck that I planned the hit."
This is a team that always uses its head. And its heart. Penn State gets by on guile and guts. It does just enough. And in a year when no college football team is doing everything, just enough might be just enough.