In an otherwise stress-free game for Penn State on Oct. 2, 1993 — a 70-7 thrashing over Maryland — there were two bizarre instances that grabbed a few headlines post-game.
During the first quarter, fullback Brian O’Neal was clobbered in the head by a glass bottle thrown from a Maryland fan in the stands.
O’Neal was hit in the helmet by the bottle while diving in the end zone for Penn State’s second score of the game and the bottle completely shattered.
“I got some glass in my eye,” O’Neal told reporters afterward, “but luckily the doctor got it out pretty quickly.”
That followed another bizarre play, when sophomore tailback Ki-Jana Carter was racing his way to the end zone with no defenders in sight.
Suddenly, to the confusion of everyone, he halted in his tracks about five yards out.
He had heard a whistle.
The only problem was the whistle was never blown by a referee on the field, instead it came from someone in the Terrapin student section.
The head referee ruled that the play would be nullified and the Nittany Lions had to settle for a do-over.
O’Neal and Carter ultimately got the last laugh when the scoreboard read zeros at the end of the night, and Penn State eased to its 63-point margin of victory.
Penn State, in its inaugural season as a member of the Big Ten conference, blew past a hapless Terrapins squad.
As editor John Black ’62 noted in the Football Letter , “Running at will and passing when they felt like it, the Nittany Lions amassed a season-high 526 yards rushing and 659 total net yards.”
Four Nittany Lion backs set career rushing marks, including Carter, who galloped for more than 12.2 yards per carry and finished with 159 yards and three touchdowns.
Carter, O’Neal, Mike Archie, and Brian Milne each reached the end zone on the ground at least once.
“Two more touchdowns came on passes from quarterback Kerry Collins to split end Bobby Engram, who set a Penn State record of seven TD catches by a sophomore,” Black noted in The Football Letter.
Senior Craig Fayak and freshman Brett Conway rounded out the offensive explosion with field goals and a number of extra points.
The 1993 Penn State football season will always be a bit overshadowed by the historic campaign a season later.
The 1994 Nittany Lions team is, of course, one of the greatest college football teams ever to step foot on a field.
But even the high-powered offense of the ‘94 squad couldn’t replicate the incredible output the ‘93 team achieved against Maryland.