Game Summary - January 1, 1999
Penn State 26, Kentucky 14
Playing in the new state-of-the-art Raymond James Stadium, a sold-out crowd of 66,005 was on hand to see Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions square-off against the Kentucky Wildcats who were playing in their first New Year's Day bowl in 48 years.
QB Tim Couch, a Heisman finalist, directed the Cats "Air Raid" offense skillfully in the first quarter, taking a 14-3 lead over the favored Lions. But Penn State quickly regained the momentum, clawing their way back into the game with each possession, adding two field goals and a 56 yard TD strike to Joe Nastasi to go ahead 16-14.
The Penn State defense, led by Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington, applied relentless pressure on Couch and even blocked a field goal to preserve their lead. With Couch and company battling the entire way, the Lions still managed to extend their lead to 12 points in the fourth period with a Chafie Fields 19 yard TD run.
The Cats weren't through yet, however, as they mounted a 17 play drive which gave them a first and goal from the Penn State 7 yard line, and a chance to pull within 5 points. But consecutive sacks by Brown pushed the Wildcats out of range and denied them any points, thus securing the win.
Couch set a bowl record with 336 yards passing, but the Nittany Lions sacked him a total of five times and snatched two interceptions on the day. Couch would become the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL draft while game MVP Courtney Brown would be the top selection in the 2000 draft followed by teammate LaVar Arrington.