1993 Blockbuster Bowl

The 1993 Blockbuster Bowl game was a post-season college football bowl game between the Stanford Cardinal and the Penn State Nittany Lions played on January 1, 1993, at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. It was the third edition of the bowl game.

The legendary status of both head coaches was the pregame focus—Penn State's Joe Paterno was attempting to get his 15th bowl game win, and Stanford's Bill Walsh had won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers—but the game itself was dominated by Stanford, which scored on its first possession and led the entire game, winning 24–3.[1][2]

1993 Blockbuster Bowl
Stanford Cardinal Penn State Nittany Lions
(9–3) (7–4)
Pac-10 Independent
24 3
Head coach: 
Bill Walsh
Head coach: 
Joe Paterno
1234 Total
Stanford 77100 24
Penn State 3000 3
DateJanuary 1, 1993
StadiumJoe Robbie Stadium
LocationMiami Gardens, Florida
MVPDarrien Gordon (CB), Stanford
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersJim Nantz (Play-by-Play)
Randy Cross (Analyst)


Stanford Cardinal

Stanford was led by head coach Bill Walsh, who was in the first year of his second stint as Stanford's coach. He had coached Stanford from 1977 to 1978, leading the team to bowl games in each season; then departed to coach the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, where he turned the team into a dynasty, winning three Super Bowls in the 1980s. After a career as a television football analyst, Walsh chose to come back as Stanford's head coach, stating, "This is my bliss."[3]

On the field, Stanford was led by quarterback Steve Stenstrom, who had thrown for 2,399 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year, and tailback Glyn Milburn, who led the team with 851 yards rushing and eight touchdowns and had returned three punts for touchdowns.[1]

Penn State Nittany Lions

Head coach Joe Paterno was making his 23rd bowl game appearance in his 27th year at Penn State. Offensively, the team relied upon wide receiver O. J. McDuffie, who had 63 pass receptions for 977 yards and nine touchdowns during the season; and running back Richie Anderson, who ran for 900 yards and 18 touchdowns.[1]

Game summary

On its first possession, Stanford drove 71 yards on eight plays and scored on a two-yard pass from Steve Stenstrom to Ryan Wetnight. Penn State answered with a drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal from V. J. Muscillo.[4] Stanford added another touchdown before the half on a five-yard run from J. J. Lasley to extend the Cardinal lead to 14–3.

In the second half, after an Eric Abrams field goal, Stenstrom added another touchdown completion with a short pass to Milburn, who ran 40 yards for the score, to end the day with 210 passing yards and two touchdowns.[4] On defense, the Cardinal held the Nittany Lions scoreless after the first quarter, and limited them to just 82 offensive yards in the second half. Cornerback Darrien Gordon was named the game's MVP after breaking up six passes, making seven tackles, and holding receiver McDuffie in check.[4]


First quarter

Second quarter

  • Stanford – J. J. Lasley 5-yard run (Abrams kick)

Third quarter

  • Stanford – Abrams 28-yard field goal
  • Stanford – Glyn Milburn 40-yard pass from Stenstrom (Abrams kick)

Fourth quarter

No scoring.


Walsh coached two more seasons at Stanford, both with losing records. He retired from coaching for good in 1995 and died of leukemia in 2007. Cornerback Gordon played nine seasons in the NFL and played in four Super Bowls. Tailback Milburn played eight NFL seasons and made the Pro Bowl twice. Quarterback Stenstrom played five NFL seasons. John Lynch, who anchored Stanford's defense at strong safety, was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection.

Paterno would remain as Penn State's coach until 2011, winning many more bowl games. He was fired with three games left in the 2011 season due to his involvement in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, having previously announced his intent to retire at the end of the season; he died shortly afterward from complications of lung cancer. Receiver McDuffie went on to a successful eight-year career with the Miami Dolphins and Richie Anderson was a Pro Bowler for the New York Jets.

The Blockbuster Bowl would go through several name changes and currently exists as the Russell Athletic Bowl.


  1. ^ a b c Cherwa, John (January 1, 1993). "Blockbuster Bowl: Walsh-Paterno Gets Top Pregame Billing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  2. ^ Parillo, Ray (January 3, 1993). "Walsh Leads Stanford To Blockbuster Win". Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  3. ^ Wojciechowski, Gene (June 28, 1992). "The Cardinal Ruler : With a Tiny Office and Great Expectations, Bill Walsh Is Excited About Being Back at Stanford". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "1993 Blockbuster Bowl" (PDF). Stanford Football Media Guide. Stanford Athletics. p. 163. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
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Ki-Jana Carter

Kenneth Leonard "Ki-Jana" Carter (; born September 12, 1973) is a former American football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons. He played college football for Penn State University, and earned All-American honors. He was the No. 1 draft pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, and he played professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints, but his career was cut short by an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Stanford Cardinal football

The Stanford Cardinal football program represents Stanford University in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level and is a member of the Pac-12 Conference's North Division. Stanford has a highly successful football tradition. The team is currently known as the Cardinal, adopted prior to the 1982 season. Stanford was known as the "Indians" from 1930 to January 1972, and the "Cardinals" from 1972 through 1981. A student vote in December 1975 to change the nickname to "Robber Barons" was not approved by administrators.Stanford has fielded football teams every year since 1892 with a few exceptions. Like a number of other teams from the era concerned with violence in the sport, the school dropped football in favor of rugby from 1906 to 1917. The school also did not field a team in 1918 (due to World War I) or in 1943, 1944, and 1945 (due to World War II).

The school participated in the first-ever Rose Bowl against Michigan in 1902, in which they were routed 49-0. Its annual Big Game against California is the oldest and most storied rivalry in the Pac-12 and western United States. The Cardinal also compete for the Legends Trophy against independent rival Notre Dame.

The program has an all-time record of 628–448–49 for a winning percentage of .582 and has winning series records against all of its Pac-12 North rivals, except for the Washington Huskies, against whom they are tied 42–42–4. Stanford claimed national championships in 1926 and 1940. In 1926, led by legendary coach Glenn "Pop" Warner, the team was undefeated in the regular season and tied Alabama in the 1927 Rose Bowl. The 1940 team went unbeaten and untied after defeating Nebraska 21–13 in the 1941 Rose Bowl, but the team ranked #2 in the final AP poll released before the game was played.

Pop Warner's era predated the AP poll, but Stanford has finished at least one season in the Top 10 in six different decades under seven different coaches: Claude E. Thornhill in 1934, Clark Shaughnessy in 1940, Chuck Taylor in 1951, John Ralston in 1970 and 1971, Bill Walsh in 1992, Jim Harbaugh in 2010, and David Shaw in 2011, 2012, and 2015. Coach Shaw, as of the 2017 season, has the most wins of any Stanford coach in history. Stanford's most recent season finish in the top 5 was in 2015 after the #5 Cardinal dismantled Big Ten West Division Champion #6 Iowa Hawkeyes 45–16 in the 2016 Rose Bowl to finish with a record of 12–2 (Stanford's third 12-win season ever, after 2010 and 2012) and a final ranking of #3 in the final AP Poll and the final Coaches Poll (Stanford's highest AP Poll ranking since 1940 and its highest Coaches Poll ranking ever).

The Cardinal have played in 29 bowl games in their history, including 17 appearances in bowls now comprising the College Football Playoff, specifically 15 Rose Bowls (the third-most appearances of any team, behind only USC's 33 appearances and Michigan's 22), the 2011 Orange Bowl, and the 2012 Fiesta Bowl.

Quarterback Jim Plunkett is the only Stanford player to win the Heisman Trophy, doing so in 1970. Stanford players have finished second in Heisman voting six times: quarterback John Elway was second to Herschel Walker in 1982; running back Toby Gerhart was second to Mark Ingram in 2009; quarterback Andrew Luck finished second to Cam Newton in 2010 and to Robert Griffin III in 2011; running back Christian McCaffrey finished second to Derrick Henry in 2015; and running back Bryce Love finished second to Baker Mayfield in 2017.

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