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Keystone Books: How Penn State Came to Stop a Hurricane and Win a National Football Championship

The Perfect Season: How Penn State Came to Stop a Hurricane and Win a National Football Championship (Keystone Books)

Current price: $21.95
Publication Date: October 15th, 2009
Penn State University Press
Usually Ships in 1 to 5 Days


The 1987 NCAA championship game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the University of Miami Hurricanes is often considered the most memorable championship game in all of college football history. Both teams were undefeated going into the game, but the Hurricanes were heavily favored, as they had demolished each of their opponents during the regular season. On January 2, 1987, Penn State pulled off one of the most surprising upsets in college football by handing the University of Miami team its only loss of the season. In The Perfect Season, with help from the Penn State players involved, M. G. Missanelli retells the story not just of this championship game but also of Penn State's entire season.

Beginning with its Orange Bowl loss in 1985 (Penn State's only loss that year), Missanelli recounts the glorious 1986 season through the eyes of those Penn State athletes. The book also focuses on the media's buildup of the national championship, explaining why the University of Miami team was considered the villain in this battle. Numerous anecdotes stories are included, such as the incident where the University of Miami team arrived at the Fiesta Bowl wearing combat fatigues in an attempt to wage psychological war on its opponents. But such tactics appeared to have little effect the Penn State Nittany Lions, whose tenacity resulted in victory in the final minutes of the game.

Drawing on interviews as well as his own recollections, the author relates the vivid story of one of the most triumphant seasons in the history of Penn State football. Anyone interested in college football, the Nittany Lions, or Joe Paterno's legacy will find this book impossible to put down.

About the Author

M. G. Missanelli, Penn State Class of 1977, is a well-known media personality in Philadelphia who has worked for more than twenty-five years in the area of sports journalism. He is also a 1986 graduate of the Delaware Law School of Widener University and is a licensed attorney. Currently, he teaches a class on sports and entertainment law at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.