Blue White Illustrated

June-July 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 59 of 67

6 0 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M ONE SHINING MOMENT Gary Brown did whatever was asked of him at Penn State, but he's best remembered for making the play that sealed a Holiday Bowl win over BYU C lasses had just let out, and the cen- ter of campus was teeming with students when Joe Paterno's car pulled up at the intersection of Pollock and Shortlidge roads. There was noth- ing to do but sit patiently at the stop sign and wait for the crowd of pedestri- ans to thin out, so that's what Paterno did … until he spied one of his players in the opposite crosswalk. It wasn't hard to spot Gary Brown back in those days. The young tailback from Williamsport, Pa., was a stylish dresser, and his hair was a mop of Mi- chael Jackson-style Jehri curls. He had arrived at Penn State with a bit of fan- fare in 1987; some observers had touted him and fellow freshman Leroy Thomp- son as the next in a long line of elite PSU runners. It was unclear at first what had gotten Paterno's attention, but after sitting at the intersection for a moment or two, he frantically rolled down the window and began yelling. "Hey, Brown! Hey, Brown! HEY, BROWN!" I was in the backseat, and another young writer was up front alongside the coach. Paterno had seen us walking from Beaver Stadium back to campus after his weekly presser and had offered a ride. From inside the car, we could see the faces in the crowd light up with rec- ognition as they realized it wasn't just some disgruntled rando yelling his head off while stuck in gridlocked traffic. It was Joe Paterno. The one face among the hundreds that seemed entirely oblivious was, oddly enough, Brown's. As he made his way across the intersection, he didn't M AT T H E R B | M AT T @ B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M Brown started and ended his college career as a running back, but he was playing safety when Penn State faced BYU and future Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Ty Detmer in the 1989 Holiday Bowl. PHOTO COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETICS

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