Did Penn State Run Up the Score to Beat the Spread in 1995?

A new report on Mike McQueary's gambling in college has people asking if a late TD pass in 1995 was because he had money on the game.

A few years back Rev at The 700 Level wrote a tremendously entertaining piece about a 1995 Penn State-Rutgers game. I know, I know: That’s not the type of article that sounds interesting, but it was good! Rev, a Penn State sophomore at the time, traveled to East Rutherford, N.J., for a PSU-Rutgers game. The Nittany Lions were 20-point favorites, and he and his buddies had placed some money on the game.

Penn State was up 18 with just over a minute left. The backups, including quarterback Mike McQueary, were in. They were supposed to run out the clock. And McQueary randomly threw a touchdown pass to beat the spread. Previously, the game was famous for the post-game handshake, where Joe Paterno cursed out Rutgers coach Doug Graber.

Why am I writing about this insignificant 1995 Penn State game? Earlier this week, ESPN reporter Don Van Natta Jr. wrote a piece about McQueary, a whistleblower in the Penn State rape scandal. In the article — which, uncomfortably, may have outed McQueary as a child abuse victim — Van Natta notes that it was common knowledge McQueary used to gamble on games. He used to gamble on Penn State games, even.


A post at Betting Talk discusses the contest:

Replays show Paterno shaking his head after the score, and play-by-play man Ron Franklin described two Rutgers assistants looking at the Penn State bench with their arms out, “as if to say ‘why?’”

“I was looking for Pitts or someone else to run the clock down,” Franklin says after the play on the broadcast. “But they did not let that happen, and that’ll be discussed this coming week a little bit, maybe a lot.”

At the time, people thought Penn State was trying to run up the score to impress voters in the college football polls. But this new revelation has everyone — well, every degenerate gambler like myself — wondering if McQueary had money on the game.