Lombardi Award winner Bruce Clark wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks

Penn State Nittany Lions Defensive Tackle, Bruce Clark

AP Photo

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (WKBN) – New Castle alum Bruce Clark became the first junior to win the Lombardi Award for best collegiate linebacker or defensive lineman in 1978 as a member of Penn State.

That year, the Nittany Lions were a top-5 team throughout the season. After back-to-back wins against ACC foes (#5 Maryland and NC State), Penn State took over the top spot entering their game against #15 Pitt. After edging the Panthers (17-10), the Lions fell in the Sugar Bowl to Alabama (14-7) ending their hopes at a National Championship.

Clark missed the tail end of his senior season due to a knee injury but was still named consensus First-Team All-American.

He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 4th pick overall in the 1980 draft; however, he chose to sign with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He’d return to the states to play for the New Orleans Saints, where he was named to the Pro Bowl in 1984.

Bruce Clark, DT/Penn State
Career: 19 QB sacks

1978 Nittany Lions’ Results
Alabama 14 Nittany Lions 7 (Sugar Bowl)
Nittany Lions 17 Pitt 10
Nittany Lions 19 NC State 10
Nittany Lions 27 Maryland 3
Nittany Lions 49 West Virginia 21
Nittany Lions 45 Syracuse 15
Nittany Lions 30 Kentucky 0
Nittany Lions 58 TCU 0
Nittany Lions 26 SMU 21
Nittany Lions 19 Ohio State 0
Nittany Lions 26 Rutgers 10
Nittany Lions 10 Temple 7

Countdown to College Football
August 14 – Top sports star in 1942 wins Heisman
August 15 – Before politics, Traficant started at QB for Pitt
August 16 – Roger Staubach meets Youngstown State
August 17 – “Best linebacker I ever coached” says Woody Hayes
August 18 – Sherman “Tank” runs wild for Miami of Ohio
August 19 – Sugar Bowl MVP aids Pitt in title game
August 20 – Lombardi award winner called New Castle home
August 21 – Walk-on Karlis kicks for Cincinnati
August 22 – K-State registers 1st bowl victory; Coleman named MVP
August 23 – Burke’s 400-yard game lifts Michigan State past Brady & Michigan
August 24 – Clarett shines for Buckeyes in memorable season
August 25 – Syracuse’s workhorse from Struthers
August 26 – Missouri’s dual-threat quarterback boosts Tigers to top Nebraska
August 27 – Penn State QB guides Nittany Lion faithful to Rose Bowl

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