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OTE Films: 1982, Nebraska at Penn State

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The nation’s #2 team hosted #8, and what ensued was a game—and a play—talked about for decades.

Nebraska Cornhuskers v Penn State Nittany Lions Photo by Penn State/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

September 25, 1982.

It was a bad day for the Big Ten: Conference front-runners #20 Michigan and #13 Ohio State lost home non-conference games to UCLA and Stanford, respectively. Dan Marino and the #3 Pittsburgh Panthers marched into Memorial Stadium and cruised past #19 Illinois, 20-3. Purdue couldn’t hang onto the Shillelagh against #10 Notre Dame, and Michigan State dropped its third of seven consecutive losses to open the season, a tight 25-22 loss at Miami Fluoride.

Even two of the five wins in the Big Ten—then actually ten teams—underwhelmed. The Wisconsin Badgers scuffled through a homecoming victory over Toledo, while Indiana eked past an abysmal Syracuse club.

There were some bright spots. The Iowa Hawkeyes, fresh off a 42-7 shellacking at the hands of Nebraska and a 19-7 home loss to moribund Iowa St. Cyclones, marched down to Tucson and, in 90-degree heat, held off the Arizona, 17-14. Minnesota, behind QB Mike Hohensee—who threw his 26th TD pass in just his 14th game, breaking a Tony Dungy school record—ran up their third straight win with a 41-11 shellacking of the Washington State Cougars in the newly-christened Metrodome.

Oh, and the Northwestern Wildcats did something historic that day:

With a 31-6 victory over Northern Illinois, Northwestern moved to 1-3 on the season but, more importantly, snapped its still-standing Division I record of 34 consecutive losses.

Here’s how they celebrated:

The greatest .gif I’ve ever made.
Video from Northwestern University Archives (GIF by MNW)

Across the country, though, before a sold-out crowd, the #8 Penn State —having swept Eastern independent rivals Temple and Rutgers along with ACC foes Maryland—hosted the reigning Big Eight champions and #2-ranked Nebraska, led by QB Turner Gill and RB Mike Rozier.

What ensued—featuring an iconic and controversial moment with QB Todd Blackledge and TE Mike McCloskey—was an absolute thriller of a game between two teams which would end the season #1 and #3 in the country and who would argue over the game’s seminal moment for decades.


Presenting: OTE Films

The conceit behind this, if you didn’t read the explainer Monday, is simple: Live-thread a classic Big Ten (or Big Ten-adjacent) football game just like we would a regular one.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. When the clock below hits 8:00pm CT (or I suppose before then), go to this link where we will have a synchronized stream for you all to watch.
  2. Talk about the game—or whatever else!—in the gamethread. Some of our writers will be around, sharing their thoughts and memories from the contest, and others will be threading whatever the hell they feel like.

That’s it. Pretty simple, huh?

So stop in! Crack a beer! Hang out! We might be socially distanced, but it’s always Big Ten football season at Off Tackle Empire. Enjoy!

Remember: Go to this link of the replay of the game when the clock hits 8:00:00pm CT.

Dead Read will be along to tell you what the Game Thread rules are. I assume “no illegal streams” and “don’t be a jackass” are on there. Keep porn and politics out of it, too.

Enjoy!