ORLANDO, Fla. -- There were a lot of drops, slips and field goals for Penn State and even "a lot of hooey" for Joe Paterno.
Four field goals from Collin Wagner, including the last one with 57 seconds left, helped No. 13 Penn State to a 19-17 win against No. 12 LSU in the Capital One Bowl in sloppy conditions Friday on the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium field.
In a game that saw dropped passes and dropped interceptions, players sliding in the mud and overall ball-control issues, Penn State closed out its first win against a ranked opponent since beating Michigan State, 49-18, on Nov. 22, 2008. Still, Paterno brushed off all the attention his team got regarding no prior top-25 victories this season.
"I felt I didn't do a very good job for them in the second half in the two games we lost this year," Paterno said. "I thought we could have done a much better job coaching, I personally in some play selection, substitutions and things like that. So I tried to tell that, you know, you guys, you're all right, you're fine, don't worry about it."
Entering the contest, a lot of talk was about the matchup against the SEC foe and LSU's speed matching up against Penn State. Indeed, Trindon Holliday did lead the No. 1 punt return unit in the nation and had a 37-yard kick and punt return, but his game-breaking speed did not break the game open.
Instead, what was more of the story was the field. Since Dec. 11, the stadium has hosted eight high school football games and two bowl games, including the Champs Sports Bowl on Tuesday night between Wisconsin and Miami (Fla.). By the time Nick Sukay recovered a fumble on a desperation play for LSU on the final play of the game, the field had already become like a swamp for the players. Penn State's white pants turned to a muddy dark grey and chunks of grass repeatedly came up displaced as rain came down.
"The last time I played in a game like this with these conditions was when I played with the Lower Eastside Broncos when I was a little kid and my dad was the coach," quarterback Daryll Clark said.
With the senior signal caller's help, Penn State marched 65 yards in 12 plays to set up Wagner's kick. Seeing as how the Nittany Lions' offense stalled in the red zone -- including one time where miscommunication led to a playcall that Daryll Clark didn't want to run -- it probably came to no surprise that Wagner would be needed for a fourth time.
Although the sloppy field played a role as part of the six fumbles and slips, even LSU didn't make excuses regarding the conditions, as linebacker Kelvin Sheppard said both teams had to deal with it. But players were frustrated nonetheless.
"That was by far the worst football field I've ever seen in my life," LSU receiver Brandon LaFell said. "In warm-ups we would just run straight ahead and make a small cut and the whole little sheet of field would just slide up and there was just nothing but mud underneath, it was so hard."
Despite the conditions, Penn State's defense still shined, as it held the Tigers to only nine first downs and just 243 total yards in the game, including just 67 yards in the first half.
"I'm probably the one guy, when it was raining today, I was happy, I wasn't saying, 'Rain, rain, go away.' I was OK with the rain. That field was an interesting ... it was unbelievable," Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. "We've been told in those situations that a lot of times, a wet field is a little bit better because you do get some give. That field was a totally different. A couple of those divots looked like some of my wedges at Oakmont."