Penn State

Dave Robinson
(Authentic Reproduction)





Playing the opposite flank from Bob Mitinger, an All American, could have kept David Robinson in the shadows but the talent of this 6'3", 220 pound defensive terror was too great for any circumstances to hide. The Mooresville, N.J. player teamed with Mitinger to provide Penn State with perhaps the best end tandem in the country in '61 and after Mitinger went on to the Chargers for his pro career, Robinson excelled in 1962, catching 17 passes for 178 yards and leading the team to an overall 9-2 record. Robinson was the first African-American to play in the Gator Bowl when the Lions lost to Florida in the 1962 contest but his ferocious play caused Vince Lombardi to select him as the Packers first choice Robinson was named All Pro three times, finished his career with the Redskins and was voted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall Of Fame in 1997.    

Viewed as a rebuilding year, the 7-3 record of 1963 was better than Engle expected. QB was still well-manned by Liske but the remainder of the backfield was pedestrian by past standards. Bill Bowes and future Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky held down the end positions with the other future Penn State assistant Dick Anderson a reliable receiver. Sandusky as a defensive standout as a sophomore. The star was Glenn Ressler, future Baltimore Colt who had a career day in the 10-7 victory over Ohio State with fourteen unassisted tackles, most of them in the second half when they were most needed. Ralph Baker played terrifically at linebacker as a prelude to his eleven-year career with the Jets. Unfortunately losses to Syracuse, Army, and Pitt negated another Lambert Trophy year, emblematic of Eastern supremacy. Without a lettering QB returning, oft-injured Gary Wydman directed the slow-starting Lions whose passes were primarily directed at senior receivers Bill Bowes and Jerry Sandusky whose forte was defense. Future Colt Glenn Ressler again did it all, playing center on offense and shutting down everything that ran up the middle on the defensive line. The season began 1-4 and closed at 5-0 including a shutout win over Ohio State and the overall 6-4 record was good enough to win the coveted Lambert Trophy a the best in the East despite the consternation of "doing it the hard way." The heart and unwillingness to throw in the towel made the '64 squad one of Engle's favorites. Despite the 5-5 record that marked Rip Engle's final year as head coach, this was the beginning of the Penn State dynasty. The talent level was high and deep in the underclass ranks although the hint of dominance was not yet apparent in the team's play. Jack White, backed up by sophomore Tom Sherman led the squad from the QB position with vets Don Kunit (a future Westchester Bull of the ACFL) and Dave McNaughton in the backfield. The injured Roger Grimes would have added much to the attack. Jerry Sandusky finished his career seeing action on both sides of the ball while soph Bill Lenkaitis stepped in at tackle. Dave Rowe, 6'7" DT who later played in the NFL for thirteen years and spent time as a Wide World Of Sports broadcaster filled in for the departed Ressler. Future NY Giant Rich Buzin was another of the youngsters who played like a long time vet at guard. 


It was understood that assistant Joe Paterno, the mastermind of the offense and developer of quarterbacks would step into the head coaching position upon Engle's retirement. It had become easier to recruit talented players to the isolated mountain campus and the program was now recognized as the class of the East having stepped out in front of Syracuse and Pitt. In the New York Metropolitan area and Long Island, Paterno's ascension to the head coaching position marked the point where the Penn State assistants could come to local high schools and get a long list of the best players "because we're Penn State" and had but Notre Dame and Ohio State only as contenders at the national level. Unfortunately, Paterno's first squad had few good and experienced offensive linemen and it was reflected in a 5-5 record. Junior tackle Bill Lenlaitis who later had a fourteen year NFL career was the main man but promise was shown by soph end Ted Kwalick. Paterno had two decent QB's in Jack White and young Tom Sherman who threw primarily to wide receiver Jack Curry and run-catch threat back Bob Campbell. Defense was beginning to become a trademark with Dave Rowe at noseguard, future Bills two-way tackle Mike McBath, and Rich Buzin and Lenkaitis, also playing both offense and defense. Paterno was glad to now hold the reins and excited about a very promising freshmen class, enough to take the sting out of his first year's record.

If interested in any of these Penn State helmets please click on the photos below.